By Maria Duffy. First published on Saturday 14th January 2012. 18 Comments so far.

It could only happen to me!

I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own! Honestly, when I told people my story about yesterday morning (which I’ll elaborate on in a moment) they all said the very same thing: “It could only happen to you!”

It would be fair to say I’ve been fairly frazzled this week. As most of us are, I’ve been trying to juggle work and family, but with the added pressure of my thirteen year old having a minor surgical procedure. She was fine afterwards but it just added to my guilt of heading over to London on Thursday. This was a trip I’ve been planning for a while and had a number of things lined up for both Thursday and Friday.

So back to yesterday morning. Despite just three hours sleep, I woke in a positive frame of mind. I wasn’t going to be frazzled – I had an exciting couple of days to look forward to and I was going to make the most of them. The flight was due to leave at7.40 and although I’m usually the one running like the clappers at the sound of my name being called for final boarding, I was at the airport bright and early.

I had a plan in mind. I’d go through security straight away and relax for an hour over breakfast. I need to mention here that I’m scared of flying! I’d read a book (a rare treat!) and I’d board that plane in a calm and orderly fashion.

Before I even got as far as security, I had to scan my boarding card to go through to the departure gates. I watched as people either side of me got the green light and sailed through, whereas my boarding card was somehow causing the red light to flash.

“Flatten it out,” shouted a security guard, taking a piece of paper and demonstrating the ‘flattening out’ technique.

After applying this technique to said boarding card, I still got the red light.

“Give us a look at it,” sighed the security guard, rolling his eyes at yet another inept passenger.

He took the card and looked at it, then handed it back to me, shaking his head. “Sure that flight is tomorrow. No wonder you couldn’t get through!”

“No, no,” I cried frantically, it’s today. I’m going today. Tomorrow, I’m coming back.”

“That’s not what it says on here,” he replied.

I snatched the boarding card out of his hands and stared at it – departing Friday 13th! I couldn’t believe it. I’d checked – and double checked. Then I’d checked in online and even tutted as the computer asked me to check again before confirming the check in! Every frazzled feeling I’d had all week came rushing back with a vengeance and I began to cry. Yep! I started blubbing like a five year old saying: “What am I going to do?”

There were now two security guards who were lovely and sympathetic but I suspect felt uncomfortable with the scene before them.

“Take yourself over to the Ryan Air desk and see what they can do for you,” said guard number one.

“And if they can’t help you, try Aer Lingus,” added guard number two.

Incapable of making my own decision, I followed their advice and headed to the Ryan Air desk. Despite having only paid sixty euro for return flights, I was told that it would cost me three hundred euro to change the ticket or to just book the flight I wanted. There was no reasoning with them – not even my increased state of hysterics could soften their hearts. I then headed over to Aer Lingus where I managed to negotiate a slightly later flight at a significantly lower price.

So all was well that ended well and I arrived in Gatwick just an hour later than originally planned. I was going to tell you about leaving my case in a shop in Gatwick just after I arrived but I wouldn’t want you to think I’m completely incapable of travelling alone…!

Maria x

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