London Luck, Gratitude & Diamonds

by farrah on April 14, 2014 · 19 comments

I made it home, but barely. London was incredible- but today I wanted to tell you about yesterday. It was one of my worst travel nightmares come true- and yet somehow, the stars aligned and I made it home. Disclaimer: Even with 3 kids, I am never, ever late to anything. It’s an obsession.

PicMonkey Collage

Crazy lady

To begin, I have never ever been the person running through the airport or train station panicked and running late. I have, up until this point in my life looked at those people with some scorn thinking- you should have planned better. Well, today I can say that I will no longer look at people in that situation with such contempt. I was that person.

I left my hotel very early for my 9:30am flight. After slight confusion on my part, I got the correct ticket for the tube and found my platform. As I arrived, the train I needed left, and it was another 10 minutes until the next one. Panic started to set in but I figured once I was on the train safely, I would make it to the Liverpool Street station without a hitch to catch the express train to the airport. I didn’t plan on the tube to take so long. I had a million stops before my station. Panic gave way to fear.

As I arrived at the Liverpool station, I ran to where the express train was located- jumped on board, and within three minutes the doors closed. That train ran every 15 minutes and it took 45 to get to the airport. By this time it was after 8am, my flight’s gate closed at 9:10 and I started texting my husband. I had no idea what I could do next.

At Stansted Airport, I was manic. I ran up the escalator, asked people frantically where the RyanAir queue was located and my heart fell through my boots when I saw the line to check in. I made a decision- I was going to HAVE to be that lady who begged to cut in front of the hundreds of people waiting patiently and jump in front. I did, and two wonderful ladies graciously let me go first. I asked the attendant if I’d make it. It was after 9am. She said she wasn’t sure. I knew I still had to get through security.

Ah security

At security I was a lunatic. I begged someone to let me through the express lane. A wonderful couple let me go in front of them, and I threw my bag on the belt. I started to get hassled about the size of my Ziplock bag- I was so frantic I just said I DON’T CARE- KEEP IT. TOSS IT. I HAVE TO GO! And the kindly gentleman running the screener tried to help me. The people behind me tried to help me gather my things. I didn’t notice at the time, but he put the original Ziplock back in my suitcase and with my belt in hand, coat and purse flying, I threw on my boots and started to run.

I ran and I ran and I ran. It was 9:15 am. The flight was to leave at 9:30. I didn’t even bother to check what gate- until I saw a sign that said I was at 48 and estimated walking time was 12 minutes. My heart exploding in my chest due to my absolute lack of physical fitness level I knew I had to keep going. I couldn’t even talk on the escalator up to the level I needed. My mouth was dry. Someone saw me panting and told people to get out of my way. I ran. And then I ran some more.

Delays

I passed each gate- running, sweating, panting. clutching my things. I had to make this flight. The next one home was €200 and left in 11 hours. I couldn’t do that to my husband. I saw my gate at last! A woman was talking to a lady at the front of an insane line- which I was sure was for the next flight- and as I reached them I shoved my boarding pass at her and said ‘It’s too late??? I can’t get on???!’ And she looked at me in my state while calmly saying- ‘Yes, please get in the que like everyone else’. I was confused. What? It was 9:30. Was this to Eindhoven?

It was. The flight was late. Oh my god. I made it. I went to the end of the line thrilled for the first time to have a delay. I was sweating, hot, dying of thirst and sure I was going to go into cardiac arrest. I was shaking too much to even text my husband that I had made it. I sat on the plane- and whew. It was over.

Last but not least, the diamonds

It wasn’t until I got home and was going to bed last night that I realized my diamond earrings were not in my suitcase make-up bag. The diamond earrings my husband gave to me on our wedding day. The ones I never wear because they are too precious – nothing flashy or gaudy- but perfect and special and I only wear them on rare occasions.

My mind went back to the security guard- my insistence on leaving behind my Ziplock bag and caring about nothing else. They couldn’t be in there. No way would I have put there in there. That bag that I was going to let them throw away.

But I did. There they were, at the bottom of that bag. Holy crap.

Thank you to the people who let me cut in front of you. I’m sorry to those that I bumped into- almost knocking over. I will never (hopefully) do that again.

The end.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann April 14, 2014 at 8:11 am

So even though it’s only an hour flight from Heathrow to where I live, I like to be to the airport really early. My preference is 2 hours early, but the guy at my airport told me 90 minutes should be enough. My express train was only 15 minutes, plus I decided to leave the city about 15 minutes or so earlier than I had planned and just grab a coffee at the airport. But, all that in consideration – that I wanted to be at the airport 90 minutes before my flight and left 15 minutes earlier than I planned – I also ran late. One bad connection sets off the whole ordeal. Then I thought about you and how the express train to stanstead was 45 minutes and if you also missed your tube train by just a minute you’d be cutting it really, really close. It’s a miracle you made your flight and an even bigger miracle that guy gave you back your stuff when youtold him to do anything with it! Wow. SO glad it worked out.

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2 farrah April 14, 2014 at 8:19 am

What drama we had! When I sent you that first text I was like omg. I tried to text you from the station because I couldn’t buy a ticket for the circle at the kiosk! I had to wait in line. I probably would have made the first Stansted express if I had that nailed. Sheesh. What a day. And my legs are killing me- hope you can recover today. A leaves for Germany- so I am in the same boat as you!

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3 Ann April 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

The weird thing is that I also couldn’t buy a ticket at the kiosk and stood in line. And the whole time I was seriously wondering about you.

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4 farrah April 16, 2014 at 7:57 am

It was really frustrating since I thought I knew just what to do!

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5 Ace April 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

Holy Moses – that’s more of an adventure than I can imagine. I’m glad it worked out for you in the end!

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6 farrah April 16, 2014 at 7:58 am

It did- hooray! I was so relieved. As I am sure Andy was too 🙂

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7 Jen April 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

Omg I’ve done that a few more times than I care to admit! Once I was flying to England to see friends and I overslept, I was on the phone calling for a cab as boarding was starting and I hadn’t even packed. I made the flight but when I landed in my pajamas and my bag didn’t, I ended up getting the next flight home because I couldn’t afford to go and replace everything just for one weekend.

Then there was my trip to NYC when I severely underestimated the time it took to clear security and left my passport at the X-ray machine in Heathrow, I had to sprint all the way back there from the gate and when I got back on the plane I got the dirtiest looks ever for keeping everyone waiting.

Now we usually end up spending hours at every airport because rebooking 4 tickets is way more than expensive than one, so we’re always uber-early! Also, when you’re checking in for a flight that’s already boarding you can totally just walk up to the desk and they’ll check you right in. Trust me.

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8 farrah April 16, 2014 at 7:59 am

That’s really good to know- I honestly have never been in that situation before- and truthfully, never seen such a huge line at the RyanAir counter! I am spoiled in little old Eindhoven!

I also promise to never again give the latecomers dirty looks 🙂

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9 Andrea, Passports And Pushchairs April 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I am so glad you made it, I can only imagine how stressed you were! And so glad your earrings were in your bag – sometimes there are good people in the world still 🙂

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10 farrah April 16, 2014 at 7:59 am

Oh there are! Isn’t it a nice feeling??? I’m so grateful to everyone who was kind enough to help me.

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11 Marsha/Oma April 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

WOW! So glad you made it back and safely. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

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12 farrah April 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

Yes, we did!

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13 Chamisa April 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

Hokey smokes that is a nutty story!! We have had some crazy runs through airports due to delays on the fault of the airline, but none that close. Sheesh – so glad you made it (and your diamonds too) !

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14 farrah April 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

I sincerely hope we never have that kind of drama with the kids. It’s a fact that we just would not make it.

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15 Julia April 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Oh I would have totally panicked. Once when we were in Aruba we went on a tour on our last day and it ended 2 hours later than it said it would. We were driving by the airport on a tour bus at the time we should have been arriving at the airport. We barely made it through customs in time for our flight. It’s nerve wrecking, though this was before kids so I wouldn’t have minded staying. Glad your earrings were in the bag.

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16 farrah April 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

Oh my gosh that would have given me heart palpitations! I get really really anxious with stuff like that- so I totally get it.

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17 Leighann April 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

my heart was pounding the entire time I read that… and then, oh no! your earings!
I’m so glad you made it to your flight.

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18 farrah April 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

I know it! I’m really pretty stupid- since my earrings are just small studs- WHY WASN’T I JUST WEARING THEM???? I wasn’t thinking. Silly.

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