On a wing and a prayer…

21 08 2014

My alarm went off at 4.40am yesterday.


I was going to Lausanne via Geneva with my boss for a meeting.

It was going to be a stressful day.

Not because of the meeting, but because of my return flight.

My post-meeting train was scheduled to get into Geneva Airport at 1707hrs.

My flight was scheduled to take off at 1740hrs

The gate would therefore close at 1725hrs.

18 minutes to get from train to plane.

My boss who was travelling with me was flying separately and didn’t have the same worry.

So I found myself after a long day on the return train starting to panic.

The train pulled up in Geneva Airport Station.

A little prayer was offered up to the Airport Gods and the dash began.

18 minutes…

We jumped off the carriage and to be confronted with a long run along the platform towards the airport exit.

I bounded up the some stairs with my boss in hot pursuit.

Slowly the gap between us widened.

I turned, running backwards, to see him walking.

Never leave a man behind jumped into my head.

But a telling off for missing my flight and costing the company money was a louder thought so I carried on.

I was already starting to suffer.

14 minutes…

My face was turning puce and sweat was obscuring my vision.

Suitcases, small children and bollards were doing everything in their power to get in my way.

I ran into the departures area to see the python-like queue.

12 minutes…

I asked the security guard if I could jump the queue.

She asked to see my boarding pass, only to say you’ll have to ask everyone if they don’t mind wasting precious seconds.

Like a Kabbadi champion sporting the most English of expressions, I incessantly muttered “sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry,” without taking a breath.

Everyone was kind enough to let me through.

Laptop was ceremoniously dumped into a tray, jacket, coat and belt soon followed.

I got through, no tell-tale beep-beep from the metal detector.

Putting all my bits and pieces under my arm, I sprinted for Gate B.

9 minutes…

I could sense victory as I leapt onto a travelator like a man possessed.

Suddenly the Gate B sign vanished to be replaced with Gate A and I realised I’d taken a wrong turn and had to sprint all the way back.

At this point I remembered why I wore a belt.

My trousers fell down.

6 minutes…

I ran back the way I came, swapping grotesque smiles with a fellow distressed traveller sprinting in the opposite direction.

3 minutes…

I found the stairs to Gate B that had a walking man sign and “10 minutes” next to it.

My gate was number 33.

I paused.

I’d failed.

My heart was about to jump out of my mouth like an angry convict seeking freedom.

But a little voice and a second wind picked me up – that or my lunchtime chicken sandwich passed an appropriate stage in my digestive tract.

2 minutes…

Another sprint.

Gate in sight.

0 minutes.

“What is your name Sir?” asked the British Airways attendant.


“Welcome aboard Paul,” and the gate closed behind me.

Sitting back in my seat with my heart still beating ten to the dozen (half way through the flight), I looked out of the window to see this:

38 lovely thousand feet up on the way home

38 lovely thousand feet up on the way home

The Airport Gods had answered my prayers with a wing.




2 responses

22 08 2014
The Guat

Glad they were looking out for you. What a journey just getting to your journey. Have a good one.

26 08 2014

Thanks! I’ll certainly be offering up these prayers for future travel 🙂

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