To Ensure an On-Time Departure …

1 06 2009


By Stewart Mandel
Copyright 2009

One afternoon last fall, I was sitting at an airport gate waiting for yet-another delayed flight to somewhere when a portly, out-of-breath woman came running up to the Continental counter and handed her boarding pass to a surprised-looking female agent.

“I’m sorry,” the agent said in her most comforting voice possible. “That flight just left. Let me see if I can get you on the next one.”

The woman looked at the agent like she’d just had her purse stolen.

“No!” she shouted. “It’s not my fault our flight in was delayed. You’re going to put me on this one!”

“Ma’am, there’s nothing I can do,” said the agent. “The flight’s already left the gate.”

“But I can see the plane right there!” the woman retorted, pointing out the window at a 747 heading in the opposite direction of the terminal. By now her loud, shrill voice was eliciting turned heads from three gates away. I sunk further into my chair and gnashed my teeth.

As a frequent traveler myself, I know too well the frustration and agony of cancellations, missed flights and re-bookings. Air travel is becoming more insufferable by the year.

But still … this woman seriously believed that the plane was going to turn back around and pick her up? Sadly, our nation’s airports are teeming with dimwits like this every day.

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