February 28th 2018
Today I missed my flight home to the UK. I’ve been in Germany for a few days, and my flight home was at 09:50am. Between me leaving the hotel and me arriving at the airport was a taxi, and a train. They both went poorly, but only the train contributed to me missing the flight.
We’d prebooked the taxi, so it was there, outside the hotel and ready to pick us up at 6:30am. I’d been up since 5:30. I was ready for it. Five minutes after we left, I realised I’d left my train ticket on the desk in my hotel room. So the taxi driver stopped so I could jump out and run through traffic back to the hotel to grab my train ticket.
It was at that point that I should have realised it was going to be a rough day. Fortunately, the detour — which had taken us back the the start of the journey — didn’t affect us catching our train. We were still at the station 15 minutes early.
As I said, though, the train journey was what screwed us. Despite our later than intended arrival, the train left Karlsruhe station on time and headed towards Frankfurt airport, via Mannheim.
Mannheim, it would turn out, was the issue. Shortly after leaving Mannheim station, the train came to a complete stop – a position in which it would stay for almost an hour and a half, thus effectively – and almost completely – ending our chances of catching our plane.
It was weird. Sat on the train, watching the time count down (or up, depending on your perspective) I wasn’t in the slightest bit nervous. I mean, sure, I was fairly sure we were going to miss our flight, and checking the other flights arriving at Bristol, I found out that some of them had been cancelled due to bad weather, so in that moment I had no idea what was going to happen. But I wasn’t really worried.
The thing is, a train being delayed is completely out of my control. There’s nothing I could do to fix it, so – in my eyes at least – it’s not worth worrying about. The bits where I got to worry about making up time would come later, on foot, as we ran as fast as we could from the Bahnhof side to the Flughafen part of Frankfurt station. That’s when there was something I could do to make time up, but sat somewhere near Mannheim station, there was nothing I could do, so nothing I had to worry about.
We moved, eventually, and, eventually, with 45 minutes until the flight was due to depart, the train rolled in to Frankurt. And we ran. We ran like hell up and down stairs and escalators and through tunnels. And we made it to airport security at 9:20, thirty minutes before our flight was due to depart. Security felt like it took ages, but we got through and ran to our gate.
We made it to the gate 18 minutes before the flight was due to depart. But, crucially, two minutes after the gate closed. The German lady on the desk at the gate told us, with an annoying amount of glee on her face, “gate closes 20 minutes before”, and we were two minutes late.
Part of me wanted to kick up a fuss, but I’m sane enough of a person to understand that rules are rules, that she just enforces them, and shouting in her face probably wouldn’t’ve got be anywhere other than in trouble.
In all my time running through that airport I was only worried about making it to the plane. I hadn’t considered that the important thing was making it to the gate.
Three hours later, we were on a flight to Birmingham: A little further away from home than our original destination of Bristol, but considerably closer to home than a guarded security cell in Frankfurt airport.
Until tomorrow, fly a(ny)way home.