|It’s been 3 years since I traveled to Thailand (end of Dec 2016 – Jan 2017). It was my first ever solo, non-work-related, interantional travel! I’d dreamed of planning my own itinerary and traveling to some dream-like places for years, but had not been able to muster the courage to go ahead and actually do it. During a casual conversation in office about the plans for the year-end break, my friend suggested I do scuba-diving course in Thailand. Not quite sure how serious he was, but I took the advice seriously and planned my itinerary accordingly. Thailand seemed like an easy choice of destination since there’s ample information available about places. Commute within the country seemed easy too. After planning every single detail (since it was my first solo travel outside India), I eagerly waited for the day of the travel. Being a paranoid traveler, I booked a cab several hours before the departure time of the flight… Or so I thought. Here’s what happened early morning on the day of the flight!|
What do you do when you realize that you’ve messed up terribly while checking flight timings and so, are still at home a little over an hour before the flight?
It’s 4:10 a.m. I’m ready with my backpack. I still have 20 minutes before the cab arrives for pickup. I start with some usual last-minute checks to just be sure (the nth time) whether I’ve taken all the essentials. Passport? Check. Debit, credit, and forex cards? Check. Thai Bahts to pay for the visa? Yep! Flight tickets? Those are there too. I’ve taken a printout of the flight ticket. I unfold the printout and check the ticket details. Wait what…?!?! How could’ve I made a mistake while checking the flight timings?? Oh God, no! The flight isn’t at 7:30 a.m. as I believed to have read earlier. It’s at 5:30 a.m.! How could’ve I gotten it wrong? What do I DO!? Well… Stay as calm as possible… Make a few calls… try to check options…
First call… to the cab driver asking him how early he can reach.. “Main abhi Pimpri mein hoon. Bass nikal hi raha hoon. 10 minute mein pahunchta hoon.” (I’m in Pimpri. I’m just leaving from here. Will be there for the pickup in 10 minutes.) Shucks!! He arrives at his scheduled time – 4:30 a.m. – in Baner. The flight from Pune to Delhi is at 5:30 and the airport isn’t exactly nearby from my home, you know. Thankfully 4:30 a.m. isn’t the favorite time for people to be on roads in their vehicles!
Next call.. the airlines… in the hopes that even if I miss my domestic flight from Pune to Delhi, there’s enough time to take another flight to Delhi and still keep my time for the Delhi-Bangkok flight. All the hopes are crashed as I speak to the representative from the airlines. “You have no option. It’ll be considered as no-show and since yours was a joint (or whatever) flight, your flight from Delhi onwards too will be canceled. You will need to make a fresh booking, ma’am”.
NO! I’m freaking out now… What next? What next?? Stay calm.. stay calm.. think… THINK…
Next call.. via.com (I’d booked flights through them). They tell me pretty much the same thing. “So… shall I go ahead n cancel ma’am?”. What do I do? What do I DO?! Well… gonna lose most of the amount anyway! So why not take a chance and see if I end up getting lucky?
4:55 a.m. Finally at the airport. I pay for the cab. Neither the driver nor I check how much I’ve paid. The only thing we care about… “Aapko woh flight mil jaye bass!” (Hope you’d be able to catch your flight!)
People are kind. They allow me to jump queues. I reach the check-in counter just as the guy at the counter asks his senior “Delhi wala counter close karna hai kya?” (should I close the counter for Delhi flight check-ins?)
“NO WAIT!” I almost scream. I rush towards the counter, begging the people in the queue to make some way. I request the folks at the counter to allow me to check-in. They look at me disapprovingly. I’m warned to be on time next time. Yay! So they’ll allow me to check-in. Well, not so easily! I get a look of disgust from the senior lady when she realizes that Delhi isn’t my final destination, but I’m flying to Bangkok. “Who comes so late for an international flight?!” She asks grudgingly but takes my ticket and passport for checking anyway. Thankfully, a heartfelt apology calms her down and I finally get my boarding passes. PHEW!!
I run for security check, jump the queue again, and keep apologizing to whoever cares to accept my apology and ignore some remarks. Finally, just about 15 minutes prior to the departure time, I join the last few fellow passengers in the queue for boarding the flight. I’m still shaking, trying to calm the nerves, but just so relieved too!
On the flight, I start wondering. Agar agaaz yeh hai toh i wonder anjaam kya hoga? (If this is the beginning, what’s the end going to be like?). I console myself. Hmmm… jo bhi hoga, achchha hi hoga (Whatever it’ll be, it’ll be good)… Because as Juhi Chawla says in the Bollywood movie Yes Boss! – “Achchhe logon ke saath hamesha achchha hi hota hai”… (Only good things happens to good people.)