the trauma of a missed flight

Whoever was reading along on a few months ago might remember that my last trip to New York did not have a happy ending. It’s all here and you have to read this in order to understand my trauma. In short; I had missed my flight from JFK to Schiphol by messing up the dates. The result: an extra 750 euro ticket, a very sour one I can tell you.

The crazy thing is that in spite of my frequent traveling, I suffer from travel anxiety. As in; terrified of missing my flight but allergic to haste therefore I’m at the airport three hours before takeoff because “you never know”. Besides I love airports so I like to enjoy the moments that I’m there. This is a major irritation for my co-travellers who call me a “nitwit” or “dipshit”, you know they’re the type of people who casually show up 40 minutes before takeoff on European flights.

The crazy thing is that in spite of my frequent traveling, I suffer from travel anxiety.

A few years ago I missed the boat as well. I was driving from our vacation house in Italy to the airport in Pisa with my best friend. It was the first time I was driving on my own, without my father, and he gave me instructions on how to get there. The most important thing, and he repeated this elaborately a number of times, is that we should not go to Grosseto. “Whatever you do Liesbeth, do not follow Grosseto. If you stick to that it can’t go wrong.”

Okay, you guessed it, my friend and I were having deep discussions so I forgot to look where I was going and we ended up right in the center of Grosseto. Surprised we looked at each other, wondering what had happened to the highway. Two bimbo’s in a car. All clichés are true. And the flight, yep, we missed it. For some reason it wasn’t as bad in retrospect, a new ticket wasn’t that expensive and we’d just missed it not really goofing up like I did in New York.

A month or two ago I was assigned to book tickets to New York for the past trip. You would wonder why on earth they asked me, not a spotless reputation when it comes to tickets and stuff. Well I checked the dates 10 times and again before confirming. It took a thousand checks on airports, flight times and such, frenzying about making a stupid mistake and ruining it for the others. But on the whole it was a smooth flight to New York.

Panic struck, feeling sick I threw everything into my suitcase in under three minutes…

The return flight. We were flying back on the 16th and would arrive on the 17th. That Wednesday morning I packed my suitcase in a blind panic because my appointment was waiting and my clothes were literally everywhere. I ask Jet if she can arrange the check-in. Once in the lobby with her laptop flipped open an image pops up on the KLM screen: “unfortunately it is not possible anymore to check in for this flight.”

THIS WAS EXACTLY THE SAME MESSAGE I GOT LAST TIME. Panic struck, feeling sick I threw everything into my suitcase in under three minutes and ran down the stairs. Once outside it was time for a cigarette. While smoking I grab my phone, checking if it really was Wednesday the 16th for the millionth time as that’s what it said on our ticket. I couldn’t be wrong. It just COULDN’T.

Pale as a ghost with eyes the size of saucers, basically looking like I just took a kilo of drugs, I marched into the lobby. May was calmly having breakfast and Jet was on the phone. With the KLM. “Don’t worry Liesbeth. Everything will be fine.” HOW CAN YOU STAY SO CALM!? I was already picturing us buying three new tickets, something I really couldn’t afford right now. When Jet finished her call the verdict follows. There was a glitch in the system and we can check in at JFK. Everything was just fine and we fly back to Amsterdam that same evening, as scheduled.

The moral of this story? You can easily obtain a trauma unnoticed. And my travel anxiety will never cease, it will probably only get worse. So, be warned.