Very often, as I wait for my flight at the gate, I hear last calls for some passengers. Their gate is empty, everyone is in the plane. The passenger’s name is repeated a couple more times. No-one is coming and they close the gate.
I feel so bad for that passenger. How can you not get to your plane? What will they do now? I start worrying for them. When the worry gets to high, I cowardly get my thoughts back to my cozy reality, where I’m already checked in for the flight, passed all controls, have my boarding pass ready and wait for the boarding to begin.
Last Tuesday, I was waiting for the express train that would bring me to Milan in 2 h 55 min. Then, we needed max 60 min to get to the airport. To my surprise, the train came punctually and I happily started estimating whether I’ll have some time to walk through the streets of Milan before boarding to the shuttle bus/train to the airport.
Just outside of Milan, the train stopped. It was announced that we will continue our journey in 10 minutes. Some 20 minutes after that, the same announcement was made again. I thought to myself that it’s OK. There will just be no walking in the streets of Milan.
After about an hour of waiting, I again said to myself that it’s fine, because I planned to arrive 2 h before boarding and I didn’t really have to. We had just backpacks and we could simply go directly to the gate, which should definitely take very little time.
After more than 2 h of waiting and no estimates from the personnel, I started panicking. I thought that I can have control over the situation. I was wondering if there are any buses nearby. I started querying Google maps how much time will a taxi need to take us to the airport and asking locals to estimate how much could it cost. I wondered if I in general could find a taxi there. I was listening to locals trying to explain in English what could the options be.
Then I looked at my watch and the realisation finally got to me: we missed the flight. My biggest nightmare as a traveler. Something that I thought could never happen to me.
Quickly scanning through available flights to Hamburg, I saw that the only option I can afford is the next day. So I now had to buy airplane tickets and find hotel using only a smartphone, which might not sound that bad to you, Dear Reader, but, so you understand, when I need to book a flight or a hotel, I schedule the time in calendar to do this. Only on my laptop, only at my desk, full concentration and a lot of research. Boy, was I stressed!
Sitting on the floor of the Milano Centrale train station, I bought surprisingly cheap tickets to Hamburg, immediately checked in for the flight, searched some hotels nearby and out of the station we went. Based on Google Maps reviews and the friendliness of the reception, we chose the hotel for the night, entered in the room and the relief came. I was so happy to see a shower and a bed!
Having all tasks completed and being finally relaxed, I realised that it wasn’t that bad at all. Everything was rather easy, straightforward and quickly solved.
Why did I worry so much? That I needed to go to work the next day? I quickly received a reply from work: “have fun in Milan”. That I had to buy tickets on a smaller screen that I was used to? EasyJet has a mobile app very well optimised for smaller screens. That I would spend unplanned money? This was actually a smaller amount than I would pay when planing a trip to Milan, which I wanted to do anyway. This unplanned spending appeared to be a very good investment and the next day was one of the best city trips that we ever made!
PS: Milan has the best cappuccino!