Thursday morning I arrived at the airport for my weekend trip to New York... 28 minutes before my flight departed. A responsible move? Probably not, but something I've pulled off no less than forty times. The sad part is, it always works. One time I arrived at Chicago Midway a mere nine minutes before my flight was supposed to leave, and I still made it. Maybe because I was flying Sun Country, and Sun Country needs every passenger it can get. But the problem is that airlines keep encouraging my bad habit. If just one time I missed my flight, I'd learn my lesson and stop doing it.
Well, Thursday I finally learned that lesson. Part of the reason was that I was flying Delta, which is I guess only airline I've flown in a while that actually sticks to its half-hour lateness policy. Obviously, if you show up 3 minutes before your flight takes off, you're going to miss it; but at 28 minutes, most other airlines will at least let you give it a shot. If you don't have any bags to check, they'll let you make a run for it. If you make the gate before they close it, great; otherwise, too bad. I really like that approach; it's so sporting.
But unfortunately for my Thursday morning travel plans, it seems Delta has a "Give Up Hope Now" policy. Arriving 28 minutes ahead of time, the automatic e-ticket credit card machine wouldn't take my reservation, and the lady behind the carpet insisted that there was no way I could make my flight at this point.
"Why?" I asked. "Is the flight really full?"
"Is there a long line for security?"
"Is the gate really far away?"
"So couldn't you just check me in right now, I could run real quick to the gate, and still get there 20 minutes before the flight takes off?"
Turns out Delta also has a strict policy of only hiring check-in people with advanced abilities in debate.
So I missed my flight, and had to pay a fee to switch it and get into New York late, slightly smudging my evenings' plans. All because of Delta's "No Lateness Policy", which, since I do practically everything by the skin of my teeth, should really be named its "No Paul Policy". Or, as I prefer to call it, its "No Paulicy".
Obviously, this whole thing was 100% my fault. I suppose I should learn something from it, start getting to the airport earlier, and perhaps even apply this valuable lesson to my life in general.
But I'll probably just stop flying Delta.