Early morning flights

There seems to be Two Types of People (A wild Tumblr post appears!) when it comes to travelling in the wee small hours of the morning: those that like to go to bed early, trying to sleep until the last minute; and those that decide to stay up all night and try to sleep on the plane. I belong to the latter category.

I’ve never fallen asleep at bedtime that easily, and I tend to be a little on-edge before a flight anyway, constantly trying to think if there’s anything I’ve forgotten. Wandering around the house at 3AM does sometimes lead to remembering vital things like ‘the phone charger’ or ‘power converter that I left on the kitchen table earlier to pack away’. I do also really appreciate virtually cutting a few hours from a trip via plane-sleep, and the additional tiredness at the end of the day helps me go to sleep at the appropriate time at the destination regardless of time zones.

There are some downsides however. Overdoing it and leaving yourself a zombie isn’t great, you don’t want to be leaving your hand luggage and passport in the security area or attempting to lurch your way on to the wrong flight.

The worst thing that ever happened to me in this regard happened while travelling to San Diego. I was to fly from Glasgow, to London, to San Diego. Simple enough, and I did have a few hours for my layover. I even went through check-in and security with a couple of hours to spare at Glasgow!

I was *really* tired this time though, due to an activity-filled day prior. So while I attempted to stay awake playing my DS, I still had an hour and a half to go, so I prepared for the inevitable. I sat literally less than a meter away from the ticket-checking desk. I had my passport in my hand with my boarding pass clearly visible inside it, displaying my name and flight. Surely, nothing can go wrong.

Does it count as foreshadowing if you go back on it in the next paragraph?

I woke up to see my plane slowly rolling away from the terminal. Panicking, I try to find out if there’s anything I can do to get on it. No such luck. I ask why on earth I wasn’t just, you know, nudged a little bit, or a “Hey, Mister, your flight!” didn’t happen. Apparently, it was against the rules for any staff to wake me up, even though they knew fine well I was going to miss my flight.

The rule, apparently was a health and safety issue. It was “too dangerous” to wake me up, because seemingly if you wake up someone they turn into a rabid wolverine and go for anyone within range. This seemed… well I *understood* why the rule was there, but I wasn’t happy about it. I am not physically imposing, and it felt crazy that the 6ft5 staff guy that was built like a house was too afraid to call out to the 5ft5 nerdy-looking guy that had a Pokémon game in his hand.


So hardcore though.

In the end I did manage to persuade them to put me on the next flight to London. Other than those particular gate staff, all the other staff expressed disbelief that they’d just leave me there, and were sympathetic. I arrived in London *just* too late to make my original connection, and had to be changed to another flight which arrived 10 hours later than my original plan.

So ever since then I’ve resolved to never fall asleep in an airport, just in case. If you’re alone with no one to wake you, it’s just not worth the risk! When I have been feeling particularly tired, I just decide to stand up and pace around.

Clearly, it *was* my fault for falling asleep, but at least I learned my lesson.

Wait, why I was talking about early morning flights? Oh, I know, I just had one. But this seems like an entry by itself. Tchau for now.

-S.M.

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