As you read this I'm kickin' it back home in Nairobi, Kenya after the longest absence but getting here wasn't without its struggles (this is after all me we're talking about)- namely a delayed departure from Cape Town on Sunday afternoon and subsequently missing my connecting flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Monday morning. Yum.
It wasn't all bad though, I got to actually enter Ethiopia for the first time (even though it was dark and probably 4 hours long) and made some pretty funny character observations aka my new friends and travel/struggle companions. Enjoy ;)
light at the end of the tunnel - our make-up flight as we waited to board it... 7 hours after our original one >>>
1. The Mouse
Look out for tear-stained/exhaustion-sunken faces and well-established positions taken on the airport floor.
This is the person/people who either do as they’re instructed first time around or don’t even seek information as to where their flight is, what to do next, when the next flight to their destination leaves and if they can be booked onto it….don’t be this person, yo. Speak to airline transfer staff and ask general advice.
2. The Grievance Ambassador
Look out for lines like “We are XYZ citizens and we have our rights!”
It’ll often be a group of people who have been delayed on a flight and consequently missed their next connection. There will also often be at least one member of this group who ends up representing the rest to try and get them to their destination as quickly and comfortably as possible, maybe with some freebies along the way too.
3. The Drama Queen/ Life-Story-Sharer
People will be tired and cranky at the airport, sometimes having travelled for 24+ hours and nowhere near their destination. Everyone has somewhere to be. It’s an airport. But rest assured you’ll leave knowing about a family’s interrupted vacation plans to India, how that old aunty bought her tickets 5 months ago and doesn’t want to sleep in this city, she wants to get to Guangzhou…all from the customary yelling at (probably powerless and subordinate) airport staff.
4. The Airport Immigrant
This person has fast become a semi-permanent fixture at the airport they’ve missed a flight or been delayed at. Listen up for stories like “I missed my flight because of a delay on the first flight, the airline gave me a ticket for another flight but it was a fake seat and I’ve been in these clothes for 2 days now.”*
*- true story!!
5. The Calm, Spontaneous Traveller/Negotiator
“These things happen, guys”, “The airline has their procedures for all this and if they say they’re getting us a hotel and new tickets, they’re getting us a hotel and new tickets”- nooo worries, bro.
I don’t mean to gloat or anything, but this was me this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. To be fair, I had the luxury of being on the last leg of my trip and had no further plans, no other flights to catch and no person/work to report to when I arrived home in the end. But I did find that yelling or long lamentations of disappointment got other people nowhere and being polite and chill actually made me friends among the airport staff. So you know. Be cool.
Have you ever missed a flight or connection? How did it go? What other characters have you observed while travelling?
Keep in touch >>