I get to my gate. ‘Are you Iain Cameron?’, with a weary look of annoyance. ‘Take a seat’. I sit alone, my fellow travellers having already departed in the airport bus to our plane.
It had begun with a series of delays on my journey from my flat to Copenhagen Airport. Followed by a series of delays in the airport from queuing for, well it’s Copenhagen Airport, so everything then.
Queue for the check in machine, queue to drop off suitcase. Queue to get into the security area, queue for security. Queue for a cup of coffee, queue to pay for cup of coffee. Queue to get through passport control.
The sign saying ‘No Photography’ below the queue in the security area, is as close to an admission of shame as Scandinavian bureaucracy will get.
I’m tired, I’m irritable, I’m going to drink my coffee. But in retrospect, probably should have taken a look at my watch at this point.
I begin making my way to my gate. It’s so far away, it feels like it might be in Sweden. Then over the tannoy ‘Would Iain Cameron please make his way to Gate D17 IMMEDIATELY’. I’m not that person. I’m never late for flights. I’ve been in airports before. I’ve heard people getting their names announced half a dozen times to get to a gate, but here I am, the first ever time I’m late in an airport, getting a tone of voice I have not heard since I was at school.
So I am sitting alone waiting for the bus, and a bus appears. Copenhagen Airport has a number of bays in a row, so it’s not entirely obvious which bus is for which gate. I look up towards the check in desk for a reassuring nod of approval… they’ve gone, and I hadn’t even noticed.
So I get on the bus, it’ll be mine. Off we drive at quite a tempo. Should I have checked with the bus driver this was my bus? Well too late now. We reach our destination. Doors open, out I go, doors close, off goes the bus.
I am standing almost exactly at the midpoint between two aeroplanes ready for boarding. I am possibly two metres closer to one of them. If I’d left the bus by a different door, two metres closer to the other one.
I approach the one slightly closer. It’ll be fine, I can check with the flight attendant on boarding.
There is no flight attendant. They are at the back helping others with their hand luggage. So do I ask the passengers at the front of the plane?
‘Is this the flight to Aberdeen?’
Of course not! They are ALL going to laugh at the guy who arrived late and didn’t know if it was the correct flight. And someone will go ‘No, this flight is to Sydney Australia’, and another will go ‘No, this is to Bejing’. Then I will have to sit on a plane with a group of people who think I’m an idiot.
So to not appear an idiot, I don’t ask. With my brain working at a far faster rate than normal, I work out if my seat is vacant, I’m on the correct plane.
My seat is indeed vacant. As are half a dozen others in close proximity.
So I sit down, and for the first time that morning am completely relaxed, resigned to the possibilities and that they are out with my control. I think, how exciting, I wonder where I am going, with no luggage. I’m on an adventure. I’m Marco Polo, I’m Ernest Hemingway. I might be on the news tonight.
Then a voice over the intercom goes ‘Welcome to flight XYZ for Aberdeen…’.