Whether you are departing for a much needed and well planned holiday or an important business trip, pretty much the worst thing that can happen is that you miss your flight. That eventuality can turn a dream into a nightmare, cost you a fortune and blow a big deal and the chances are that if you have missed the flight, it wasn’t your fault at all.
Getting to the airport is a breeze if you live somewhere where traffic on the roads in minimal and the airport is small but in the UK it is a very different story. You have to travel at an ungodly hour of the morning to guarantee a traffic free journey and no matter what time you leave disaster can strike at any moment. One accident and you could be stuck on the motorway for the rest of the day and there is nothing you can do about it.
You may breathe a sigh of relief once the airport is in sight but you really shouldn’t. You could have a total nightmare just trying to access the airport and parking may not be straightforward even if you have booked in advance. The cheapest parking options are liable to be so far from the terminal that they are in another county and meet and greet services don’t always show up on time.
Once you are in the terminal you could face the mother of all check in queues, particularly if you are travelling on a morning flight with EasyJet from Stansted. If this is the case it is entirely possible that you will spend the rest of the day in that queue whilst your plane taking off can be clearly heard in the distance. If you do check in on time for your flight you still have to negotiate security which could take a while and by the time you are past that it is unlikely that you will have any time to enjoy all those shops that the airport have thoughtfully provided for you. After you have made your unseemly dash across the airport you need a holiday just to recover from the stress!
I have never actually missed a flight mainly because I am so paranoid that I leave enough time for my journey to the airport to make walking to my destination a viable option should I miss the flight. I have had a few close shaves though. The first came when I tried to deliver a rental car back to Basel airport. That airport serves both France and Switzerland and has separate terminals for each country. The French section was clearly signposted but the Swiss section was not resulting in a very stressful drive around the area desperately trying to find a way in! My sat nav was also convinced that only the French part existed. I made it but I wasn’t happy!
On another occasion I was dropping a friend at Stansted for his flight to Italy. Horrendous traffic in London resulted in me having to forego parking and having to drop him at the terminal entrance hoping that he would make it. He didn’t come out again and so I had to presume he did but we arrived only 40 minutes before the flight and check in should have been closed. On another occasion an accident on the M25 meant a nasty diversion via the North Circular which made me very late and I nearly missed another flight at Heathrow when the wrong gate number was published and the right gate was on the other side of the airport!
If you don’t want to miss your flight all you can do is leave in plenty of time and hope that nothing catastrophic happens en route. On most occasions the extra time you have given yourself will suffice and if you are lucky you will even have time to enjoy a coffee and shop for gifts in the stores but not if you are flying with EasyJet from Stansted! I always think I have achieved a minor miracle when I am safely in my seat and I wonder what visitors to our country must think of it all.
Article by Sally Stacey