After uploading a picture of myself on Facebook with a huge smile and windswept hair at Heathrow airport, I checked-in, dropped my baggage and swiftly went through security. Well actually, not so swiftly as my hand luggage was absolutely rammed with stuff that couldn’t fit in my suitcase after being home for nearly three weeks but anyway, the point is that all was well. I had arrived exactly 2 hours early (which I usually don’t think is necessary, but better safe than sorry) and I even had an extra 20 minutes as my plane was delayed due to bad weather – nothing new.
After wandering around the airport, I checked the departure screen and guess what!? My flight was now delayed by 2 hours. Great! I thought I may as well do something useful so I got out my diary to do some planning and write a few words to myself about what had been going on over the last couple of days. The two hours was going pretty quickly and before I knew it my gate was being called.
On approaching my gate I realised that the displayed flight number was incorrect. I looked down at my ticket and up at the display board, and I just knew it straight away. There was no second-guessing. I had missed my flight. I did a quick Google search to see when it had actually left and I can tell you that the plane was definitely only delayed by 20 minutes, not two hours. It seemed that I had accidentally began to watch the wrong flight. F***!!!
I headed straight to the enquiries desk and all sorts started going through my head:
1) I hadn’t booked with a budget airline so at least I had that on my side- no extra fees for a genuine mistake.
2) I was secretly hoping that everyone else in the queue had also missed the exact same flight as I had because the airport had put the wrong information on the departures screen.
I couldn’t have been further off.
I was the only idiot who had began to watch the wrong flight and the airline wanted to charge me THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS to be put on the next flight. THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS!? I died of shock, well in fact, I cried. A lot. £375 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but do you know how expensive a 3 week holiday in London is!? I had already nearly had a heart attack when I checked my bank balance that morning, let alone having to chuck an extra £375 down the drain.
I stepped away from the enquiries desk so I could decide what to do. I was determined to get back to Frankfurt that night, but did I really want to pay all that money? I could have also gone back home and flown the next day for £100 less but Heathrow airport is definitely not round the corner from my home in London and I had already been in the airport for four hours. What an absolute waste of time and money. What would have done?
I headed back to the enquiries desk, teary eyed, tired and pretty annoyed about the price I was about to pay to get on the next flight. I had work the next day and the time and effort it would have taken to go back home and come back again was just not seeming most attractive at the time.
On returning to the enquiries desk I was now being dealt with by someone else, who seemed to empathise with me when I explained it was a genuine mistake and very politely asked if the price could be reduced. She looked at me and told me she’d be back in a minute. It was possibly the longest 60 seconds of my life, but when she came back, I was told that I could board the next flight, free of charge, and I was not to miss it. I have never watched the departures board so closely in all my life. I swear, I didn’t take my eyes of it for the next hour and was the first person in the queue as soon as we could board the plane.
Talking of which, on boarding I noticed one thing. The plane was EMPTY. No joke, there were about 15 people on that flight and the staff were even offering people to sit on their own row, rather than their assigned seat. I would have been furious if I had to pay that fee. It’s not like they would have had to cram me in!
To be honest, I was just happy to be landing back in Frankfurt and getting my luggage before catching the train. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, my luggage wasn’t even in Frankfurt! It was still in London and I had got the last flight of the day which meant it wouldn’t be turning up any time soon! Whey!
Part of me wasn’t even surprised although the lady at the enquiries desk as Frankfurt Airport was pretty casual about things. Was this to keep me calm or because she genuinely didn’t think it was a big deal that three weeks worth of luggage including cosmetics and my beloved hair straighteners were in London and I was not? Who knows, she was friendly though. My luggage was delivered to my apartment the next day and although the journey was pure hassle, to my guardian angel, good karma, or whatever it was that allowed me to be dealt with by such a lovely woman and get off from paying that £375. THANK YOU.