If you’ve been following me on social media, you would know that I recently travelled to St. Marteen & St. Barts for a quick holiday getaway. It was a spur of the moment kinda trip, these trips are usually one of two things, the best trips ever or the worst trips ever.
Can you guess what the start of this trip was like? It was hell, but it was entirely my fault.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you know that you should always aim to arrive at the airport at least two to three hours before your flight departs. Somehow, I got the flight time mixed up and arrived at the airport late to find the flight closed. Thankfully, the perks of being a frequent flyer are that you know the airline agents who can work some magic. Crisis averted, for the moment.
Next, I had to finesse my way through the long, long, long security check and U.S. Customs & Immigration lines and that’s where it all came crashing down. *Makes sign of the cross.* I missed my flight out of Nassau and eventually missed my flight out of Miami which in turn made me miss my flight out of St. Maarten to St. Barths. This was the first time I had missed a flight and it was totally my fault because I was late.
The face of someone who has missed their flights.
While it all worked out in the end, it was a teachable, valuable and expensive lesson that I couldn’t help but share. Here’s what missing my flight taught/reminded me.
- ALWAYS read your ticket twice, never assume and ALWAYS show up to the airport on time. While different airlines and airports have their own recommended time, I always go with the 2-3 hour rule depending on the season and if the flight is domestic or international.
- In recent years, airlines have moved to provide swifter check in processes using machines or online checking, but, Murphy’s Law is real. What can go wrong, will go wrong. I’ve seen people leave their wallets at home, passports at home, and run into all kinds of strange travel predicaments. Like they say, lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute and emergency on mine. If you arrive at the airport late and about to miss your flight, don’t expect another traveller to let you slide in the front of them. It’s inconsiderate of you to even ask, and it’s why the entire line erupts in near violence when people do it.
- If you miss your flight, airlines DO NOT have to accommodate you if it is NOT their fault. Say it with me again….Some people think that this is a given but once you miss your flight, like the old Bahamian saying, ‘dog eat ya lunch’. I was able to be accommodated for two reasons; the flights were not full and good relationships with airline employees. If the flights I needed to catch were full, it’s quite possible I would have had to come up out of pocket or my entire itinerary would’ve been pushed back. Always be nice to people, you never know when you will need them.
- I am out of shape. I had to run from one terminal to another in Miami International Airport and I am here to say I am grossly out of shape. Not slight jog, but straight out RUN like I was in a race for my life. Not only did I miss my flight by 2 minutes, I nearly died because I was so out of breath. I need to hit a gym ASAP!
While I can look back at the moment now and smile, missing flights are never fun. It’s stressful and at most times can be avoided through proper planning. Yes, there are things that are absolutely unavoidable, like delays and traffic but let’s respect the process of travel where we can and all of its moving parts. There’s nothing wrong with arriving at the airport early, a pet peeve of many. Just use the time to be productive; get some work done or people watch.
P.S. St. Bart/St. Marteen blog coming soon!
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!
Do you have TSA Pre-clearance or Global Entry? If not apply, it’s worth it!
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