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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ian Misses Flight By Negative Seconds

Its a well known fact that my dad is an aggressive driver.

This particular trait saved the day.

It all started on the afternoon of June 2nd. After an unfortunate dental appointment, I decided to take a long nap--a good plan, by anyone's standards. I woke up from the rewarding slumber, and casually texted Patience about details regarding our flight (turns out we were randomly on the same flight from Atlanta to Santiago!). I thought that I was planning for our adventure luxuriously far in advance.  She then texted me, "Boarding now!". I froze, and realized with horror that my flight was actually in one hour, not in 25 hours, as I had thought all along.

I hadn't packed for a summer in Chile, it was rush-hour, and I live 25 minutes from the airport in light traffic. My mom was cooking dinner, and I shouted to her across the house in agony that my flight was actually today. I jumped down most of a flight of stairs and rapidly heaped all of my visible possessions into bags, leaving all the items in my closet behind -- warm weather clothing, business attire, to name a few.  

Meanwhile, my dad pulled into the driveway.  After a good ten minutes of packing and after my mom crisis-prepping my dad, I threw what I had packed into his car and we all left, leaving the front door of the house ajar.  My dad weaved in and out of rush hour traffic while my mom lamented my ensuing missed flight and ensuing debts.  We tried to call Delta to work out a possible rescheduling but got put on hold by a call center in India. Clearly the situation was hopeless. There was nothing to be done, except speed.

Speed my dad did. Somehow he got me to the airport in Houston rush hour  in 30 minutes. I bolted out of the car, grabbed my bags, and said unintelligible goodbyes to my parents. A zipper broke, and I forfeited all the possessions in that pocket. It didn't matter, I could still make my flight -- I could still go through bag check, security, and the gates in 30 minutes...?

Bag check was good. The guy seemed to want to help me out. Security was a nightmare. I begged them to let me through the priority line to catch my flight in 15 minutes, but they told me that the exception didn't apply to me, to get to the back of the line, and that I was going to miss my flight. I then turned to the public ear, pleading with the people in a long line to let me skip to the front. Several gracious souls complied, and I went through security.

Unfortunately, the TSA is suspicious of anyone who seems crazed or rushed going through security, and decided to fully search me and all of my bags. Slowly and agonizingly, the officer took my possessions out of my bags. 10 minutes. 5 minutes.  He asked me where I was going. I muttered "Santiago, Chile" and something about working at a start up. He said that he liked seeing locals succeeding abroad, and released me with about 4 minutes to catch my flight, which was conveniently at the furthest possible point from security.

I sprinted full speed through the airport into the lonely terminal that was my flight. And by a true miracle, the gate was still open. I staggered onto the plane, on my way to Atlanta to Chile.

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