Missing the plane

First of the experiences!!

I was supposed to travel to Goa for office related work on early Wednesday morning. The traveldesk @office helped with all the arrangements. It turned out that I needed to take a 5 AM flight to Goa from Mumbai and not from Pune. The only option was to travel to Mumbai via road and the traveldesk happily facilitated the same.

The driver called me up at 8/8:30 in the evening and confirmed that he would be reaching to pick me up by 12:30 AM. Given 3-3.5 hours of travel, the timing looked good. Also, it was pouring heavily in Pune, so the 30 mins of additional time was my buffer. Setting up the alarm for 12 midnight, I quitely went into the dreamland.

No, I didn't miss the alarm. I woke up quite on time, and was ready to hop on to my cab at 12:15. The time started ticking past 12:30. I called the driver up, he said he would be reaching in 10 mins. Okay, I can wait for another 10 mins, although I would have loved to sleep for another 10 mins in the bed. After every 5 mins, I was getting restless, and calling up the fellow. Everytime I got some answer sounding similar to - I am almost there Sir. Finally at 1 AM, the driver said, I have touched the highway and you could come down and wait, I'll be there. Wow.. finally... the distance was just a 1.5 Km, given the night time, the cab would have reached in practically 2 mins. I stepped down. It was still raining, thankfully not pouring. Decided to wait near the security gate. The guard was having his peace of mind - chaddar oDhake - I was least bothered right now. I wanted to get onto the cab and head towards the airport.

Another 5 mins gone, driver didn't pick up the phone, Mandar going frantic. Calling him again and again. Finally he picked up and asked - "Sir how far is it from the chandani chowk?"
I: "Where are you right now? it is just 1.5 km"
Driver: "I am near Toyota showroom"
[That was at least 3-4 km on the other side of Chandani Chowk. I thought he took the wrong direction. So patiently asked him]
I: "Are you going towards Katraj or Mumbai"
Driver: "Katraj, Sir"
I: "You mean you are yet to reach chandani chowk..." (wondering why did he ask me to come down and wait!!)
Driver: "Yes sir, I thought it is on the other side, so I came from Pashan road [HEMRL]"
I: .....
I: ... Okay, come straight, cross the chandani chowk, and blah blah...
Driver: "Okay sir, I'll reach there in 2 mins"

Finally, he reached at 1:17, 45 mins past the scheduled time. It still looked okay. Driver would cover it up, I thought. Started the journey. He had nice collection of marathi songs. I tried to catch some sleep, while listening to good music, but for some reason couldn't really. After reaching expressway, my hope of catching sleep sprang again. But alas, a few kilometers on the expresseway and the vehicle made some noise and stopped. Driver comforted asking me not to worry. He opened the bonnet, did something and declared, it's fuel leakage, but we could reach the next gas station and then would be good for journey. Ok!!. no other choice, I said. Continued on the way and reached the petrol pump. He had to cross the road walking and get the fuel. I was getting impatient. Finally he came back and said all is good, after refuelling the vehicle. "Thank you!!" I said.

The vehicle was on its way now I went asleep fast, never realized when we crossed Lonavala, khopoli etc. Directly woke up at 4 and looked out... we had just left the expressway. I lost my heartbeats..
"How much more time?"
"Sir, another 40 mins. We' reach their before 5"
"Hello - 4 was my check-in time. 5 is my flight..."
"Is it? I thought it was 5 check-in.. okay sir, I'll move faster and reach there quickly"
Next 20 mins I was sitting the car holding the front seat firmly, closing my eyes many times to avoid seeing how he was moving across the lanes (All rules, descipline and all.. I wasn't thinking about it at all.. I needed to reach the airport before the check-in closes)
4:20 AM: we were at airport, thankfully he knew KF terminal. By the time, I reached the KF counter it was 4:23 AM.

One of the agents rushed me to the counter when I told him about Goa flight. The agent behind the counter calmly said - Sir check-in is closed..
"Can't you do something... there's still 40 mins for the flight"..
"No sir.. 45 mins and check in is close"

Another senior fellow came forward and I hoped he is going to help me getting in, may be my giving some advice to be on time etc. I was prepared for all that, I just wanted to get onto the flight.

He took my ticket in hand and started scribbling something, I was about to get happy and he spoke - Sir you are 8 mins late, please go to the counter outside and get yourself rebooked on another flight.. WHAT??? and I thought he'd help me. My heart sank. But realized there's nothing much that can happen. It was close to 4:27 and I was losing time fast.

The lady on the KF counter checked the ticket, asked me what is to be done. I said, please rebook me next flight to Goa.
"Sir next flight is at 12:30 afternoon"
Ooops.. what was I supposed to do for 8 hours on the airport? and what happens to my work in Goa?
"No flight before that?"
"No Sir"
"Any other carrier?"
"That you'll have to find out yourself sir"
"Okay, cancel my booking please"
Completed the remaining procedure. Sat in a chair to calm down.
I was feeling so stupid. Missing the flight was a big thing for me. No it wasn't exactly about the work in Goa. It was about "how could "I" miss the flight". I tried telling myself, that it was because of the driver coming late, however, it was very difficult to digest that I missed the flight!!

Recovering from this mental shock, I realized that traveldesk had mentioned there are two-three flights in the morning. But how to find that out? My traveldesk man wouldn't be at work at that unearthly hour. And the laptop+data card came to my rescue. Quickly opened up the browser, went to ixigo (Thanks to my niece, Sneha, for introducing me to this site :) and to my rescue, there was a flight from Jet at 5:50, so I had about an hour before the flight. I had to change the terminal, walk around almost half a kilometer, anxious, but reached the counter in time. The staff was helpful, and I could purchase the ticket and get inside for checkin before running out of time!! After passing through the long queue of security check and all, finally boarded the plane and I was relieved once and for all!!

Comments

Aloke said…
Glad to know iXIGO was useful for you :)

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