December 31st, a few years ago, I’m about to fly back to Zürich where I was living at the time. Had booked it long in advance and was thus able to enjoy both a family Christmas in Bucharest – and a New Year’s Eve with friends there – and go skiing the morning after!
So I’m at the airport and check in 3 hours prior to the flight! Small luggage – checked. I’m sitting in the duty free area, reading and listening to the announces. The little Omega watch that once belonged to great grandma is slowly ticking the passing time away. 2,5 hours to go, 2 hours, one and a half, one hour: Nothing about Zürich or a Swiss flight. Half an hour to go, I go to the boarding area to inquire about the whereabouts of my flight.
Aaaand there it says, “GATE CLOSED”. One person is still at the counter, I rush towards them, “Hey, where is everybody?
“You are Miss Hasnas.” – Yes.
“We have just unloaded your luggage.” – What?! Please, don’t, I have to be there tonight! There’s still 30′ till flight time, how could you?!”
“We-ell, miss, there was hardly anyone on this flight, so we closed a bit early. But we announced it on the speakers several times.”
And then I see it. My watch is 8 minutes slow! The speakers in my duty free area were probably broken. The… “Please, the plane did not take off yet, I can see it from here, the door’s open – you have to get me on that plane, sir!”
“Nothing I can do now. It’s the last day of the year, ma’am.”
“But I have to be there tonight…”
I burst into tears. The ground staff kindly invites me to book another plane!! No refund for the early take off!
The flight takes off without me. Desperate to get on a plane, I call dad.
Dad walks with me from one counter to the next. Any combination we can use to get me to Zürich tonight?
In the end, it’s Air France, 850€, through Munich. I get there with a tremendous headache, but on time, after 14 hours on the road. Could almost have flown to Mexico in the meantime and for that amount of money. The headache makes me skip the New Year’s Eve party. The mere thought of champagne…The next morning we leave for the mountains.
It was the only time I flew on a plane with more crew than people on board. And I still feel ashamed when I think of it to this day.