Well, I almost missed my flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
I was returning from Dublin, Ireland to New Delhi, India and had to change flights at Abu Dhabi, UAE. It’s a long journey of around 15 hours, approx 8 hours from Dublin to Abu Dhabi and a further 4 hours from Abu Dhabi to Delhi with around two hours to change flights (and terminals). I hadn’t slept from past 2 days as my flight was to depart from Dublin at 8 am on 27th September, so the agony of missing my flight kept me awake. Moreover, I was travelling non- stop across the parts of Wild Atlantic Way with my housemates for three days just before I left Ireland, so my whole body was aching badly (travel + hangover + jet- lag) and I can’t sleep on the flight.
I have travelled extensively from the same route over 2 years and know the shortest path to reach the gates at Abu Dhabi. After I landed, I quickly passed the security gates, made my move from terminal 3 to terminal 1, reached the gate where my New Delhi flight had to take off, all without looking at my boarding pass. My flight had to take off at 22:20 and it was 21:00, so decided to take a power nap on the seats near the gate.
I woke up shortly after and saw the boarding started. Since I was in no hurry, I thought of boarding in the end and dozed off further. And shit happened! After 90% of flight checked- in, I went to the counter and the staff denied my entry, I reached the wrong gate! It was then I realised there were two flights to the same destination at the same time. I don’t remember exactly but I was at gate 5 and had to reach gate 40, with 30+ gates in middle to cross!
It was already 21:40, I was at wrong gate, with a thick Zara coat (I planned to save luggage space and it was cold in Dublin, whereas I was roasting in Abu Dhabi) and approx 7 kilos of hand luggage, a laptop and duty- free alcohol (Jameson’s from Dublin) and I feared that my flight will leave without me!
If you’ve been to Abu Dhabi airport, you must be aware of the lack of space due to a lot of crowds and duty-free shops spreading across the airport.
So, I was in a situation of fight-or-flight (really!). On my way, I asked an airport staff about my gate number, and he replied there is no benefit to run as my flight had finished boarding. I ran like I never before, along with the stuff mentioned above, as I didn’t want to leave anything behind. It was the first time I saw a similar situation as in movies. My name was flashing on screens across the gate, “LAST CALL! SARANSH AGARWAL!”. All I saw was an empty gate, pitch dark outside (I saw no plane) with an airline staff shouting where was I? I was not in a condition to respond and was sweating profusely. I gave him my boarding pass and passport and almost crashed on the door when he asked me to jump on the empty bus standing outside the gate.
Source: Comedy Central
I jumped on the bus, panting and sweating profusely. I took off my coat, wiped off sweat with a handkerchief (my mom always insist me to keep one, thanks Mom). The driver took me to the flight, on which they’ve already started disconnecting the stairs. I shouted to stop them, jumped on it, saw someone else sitting on my window seat, which I reclaimed forcefully!
Apparently, my seat was just before the emergency exit, so I can’t recline my seat (see picture below). Moreover, the guy sitting in front reclined his seat fully and I had almost zero leg space to myself. I remember that I had trouble walking the next day.
Now, it seems funny, but it was a hell of an experience I had at the airport. Now, I always check my boarding pass multiple times.
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
This story was originally published on Quora as an answer to What crazy experience have you had at an airport or on a flight?