Wrong Connection

Author’s note: Inspired by real life events!

To quote Gob, I had made a terrible mistake.

This realization slowly dawned on me as I sat in my rather cramped seat, staring out the tiny window and trying to ignore the wailing baby ahead of me in 17E. The ground had long since disappeared below us, and clouds obscured my view. Probably too late to turn around, I thought.

The realization hadn’t started to set in until after I had frantically dashed through the loading bridge at the last minute, after I had settled down into the first available seat (thank you Southwest Airlines for your lazy different methods of arranging seating), and managed to regain some semblance of my breath.  Only once I started looking around did I notice a distinct lack of heavy coats and other insulating clothing.  For a flight into the Minnesota winter, that was very odd.

Instead, everyone seemed to be in shorts and sandals.  In fact, several people seemed to have garlands of fake flowers strewn around their necks.  That really should have tipped me off earlier, shouldn’t it?

I was on the wrong flight.  I, of course, took the most logical course of action.  I waited for the drink cart, currently three rows ahead, to roll up to my aisle.  “All the alcohol, please,” I said politely to the waitress, a blonde in her late forties.  

She stared back at me, looking confused.  “Um, we have rum, vodka, and tequila, for five dollars a bottle,” she began hesitantly.

“Yes,” I cut in.  The woman still looked confused, so I decided to clarify.  “I would like six of each, please,” I said.  I fished in my wallet and pulled out my credit card, waving it enticingly.  The woman didn’t seem happy about the purchase, but she rang me up.

“Anything else?” she asked.

“Yes.  One coke, please.  Diet, if you have it.”  She scowled and passed me a Pepsi.

And I had thought myself so lucky!  After having my bags pulled aside at security, I had heard a final boarding call for my gate, and sprinted across the airport.  I was the last one down the jetway, and even though my electronic ticket had stubbornly refused to scan, the flight attendant had been gracious enough to wave me through.  Now, of course, I realized why it hadn’t functioned properly, and wished that he would have been a bit more of a jerk to me.

I reached up and pushed the call button for a flight attendant, hoping to not get the angry drink lady.  Fortunately, a young and plump female stewardess tottered over.  “Can I help you, sir?” she asked, not unkindly.

“Yes, hi,” I said.  “I’m not quite sure how to explain this, but I think I’m on the wrong flight.”  

The young lady stared back at me.  “Here, look,” I continued, pulling out my phone to access the boarding pass.

She stared at the phone.  “You know, all your personal electronics are supposed to be turned off right now.”

“Oh, give me a break,” I shot back.  “Everybody just puts theirs on airplane mode, if they do anything at all.  We’ve all seen the Mythbusters episode and know that they don’t interfere.  But look,” I pressed on, holding up my e-ticket.  “I’m supposed to be traveling to Minnesota right now!”

The stewardess examined the ticket with caution.  “Sir, this plane is traveling to Honolulu.”

“Yes, I have realized that,” I said, gritting my teeth to hold back any sharp comments.  “That is why I am asking you what to do.”

The stewardess headed off to confer with some other people on the airline.  I sipped on my tiny bottles of booze while I waited for her to return.  

Eventually, she came back to my seat, looking uncomfortable.  “I’m afraid we can’t turn the plane around,” she said, looking genuinely sorry.  Whether she was sorry for me, or simply that she had to be the bearer of bad news, I couldn’t say.  “However, I’ve spoken to an airline representative, and they agree that they should have caught this mistake.  So we’ll put you up in a hotel in Honolulu until the next flight out with connections to Minnesota.”

“How long will that be?” I asked.

She shrugged.  “Probably about three days.”  

As she tottered away, I sat back and took a long pull of alcohol.  Three days!  Three days stuck in Honolulu before I could fly back.  Three days, stuck in Honolulu, on the airline’s dime, in the warmth and sun… a smile slowly grew across my face.  

Maybe my day wasn’t going so badly after all.

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