***Disclaimer: I have not flown since 2017 and before then had only flown as a young child/adolescent. I don’t typically fly, but rather drive or ride a train when we travel. In this case I don’t know much about the whole electronic boarding pass (or boarding passes in general other than how important they are) or how that goes.***
Whenever she had previously flown she had always been taught: “Don’t get separated from your boarding pass”, “Always have your boarding pass nearby”. It had been so ingrained in her for a few years that when it came to flying, the boarding pass was the only thing she would think about and remember. From the moment it was printed (whether at home or at the ticket desk), she would cling to her boarding pass, never letting it leave her hands, unless she absolutely had to (such as restroom or eating).
They had made it through the first flight, made it through checking in for the second flight, had a little break, and just sat down for dinner in the airport. Everything seemed to be going really easy, much easier than she had anticipated. The kids did really well during their first flight, they had played together nicely in the play area, and (shockingly) they were both eating their dinners with no problem.
“We got this” she thought, “So much easier than I thought”.
This she thought, but even the best travel days come with SOME blip in the road. It can be all sunshine and daisies.
She had managed a couple bites of her food, and a sudden thought hit her. She jumped up from the table and started frantically rooting through her bag.
“What is it”, her husband asked.
She didn’t really hear him, just continued her frantic search. She looked everywhere in her purse that she thought it could be. Opened her book, her wallet, the random papers in her handbag. Nowhere.
She could feel the panic start to rise. Her breathe started becoming shallow.
Nowhere. How could it be nowhere?! Sudden realization had dawned on her. Did she collect the boarding pass from the container that held her laptop and kindle? Was is still in the TSA bin somewhere?
“What is wrong?”, her husband asked again.
“My boarding pass is gone.”
He told her to check his bag where his and the kids boarding passes were. Not there. He suggested completely emptying her bag out just to make sure. Not there.
He told her to stay calm, this wasn’t an issue. That only increased her panicking.
This was a military organized flight- they had chartered the plane (is that the term?) to fly a whole bunch of people over to Germany. It wasn’t just a commercial flight. Would they be able to just re print a boarding pass? Did she need to go all the way back out to the ticket office? If she had to go all the way back out to the ticket counter, did her husband have to come with her (as he had to provide documentation for the original check in that she couldn’t provide).
Her husband continued to look at her and tell her that it was no big deal. This could be fixed.
She couldn’t hear that. She couldn’t sit still. She couldn’t eat. She couldn’t be calm. She needed to get this fixed and get it fixed now. She didn’t know what had to be done or how long they had to do it and with only an hour and a half before take-off she felt an even greater sense of urgency.
She took off with her bag and headed down to TSA. It had to be there, someone had to see it enfolded in the stacks of bins and turn it in. This could be a simple fix.
No such luck. The officer at the information desk for TSA told her that the gate could reprint the ticket though. She messaged down to her husband and said she was going to go to the gate and see if she could get them to re print it.
The panic was still present, but now she was doing something about. She had a first step to take.
Where they were eating dinner and where the gate was, were on opposite ends of the terminal (just about). As she walked over to the gate, she tried to calm down. She didn’t want to show up in full blown panic, but it was hard. She worried that they would have to go all the back out to the ticketing office. That no one would be at the ticketing office. That it would get closer and closer to boarding time and they would still be searching for the boarding pass. The thought of not being able to board the plane with her family had crossed her mind too many times.
She turned up at the gate they were originally given and there was no one there. She looked at the screen above the desk and there wasn’t even any information included. The panic started to rise again. All the calm that she had worked to achieve on the walk over was gone.
She started to walk back, she noticed another gate that had their flight information listed on it. Gate change, but still no attendants to talk to. She turned around and look around her. It seemed the only people that were around were passengers for various flights.
While she was looking around she happened to catch the attention of another gentleman. He passed her and something in her gut said to ask him for help.
***Ok, I don’t mean for this to get weird right then, but honestly I don’t remember what caused me to ask this guy for help. I don’t remember if he said something, I don’t remember if he was talking to someone else, I don’t know. In the midst of all the panic I forgot***
She somehow got the words out that she had lost her boarding pass. He was a little confused at first, as she had made it through security and was near the gate, but somehow they understood each other. At first he didn’t really know what they could do about it, whether she would have to go all the way back out to the ticket counter or if they could do it at the gate, but he was able to flag someone else down.
Together they were able to make a phone call to the ticketing office, put an order in for new boarding passes, and later on (about 15 minutes before boarding time) she was able to get a new boarding pass. Once she had the new boarding pass in hand, she was able to calm herself and start to enjoy her travel again.
**Authors Note: Alright, another installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life. This one may not have been so fun and comical as my others, as this was a serious problem, but looking back on it- it was memorable. Deep down, realistically I knew that I would still be able to board. That they had me marked down on the passenger list and that all would work out, but in that very moment, in the midst of panicking you are not thinking entirely rationally. I don’t know that I really care to admit the amount of times I thought I would be left behind. Ironically enough, when I think about it I have a chuckle. Obviously it wasn’t a total catastrophe and it was fairly straightforward to get it fixed correctly.