Why check-in for flights early

I missed it. Missed my morning flight from Newark to Seattle. I missed Day 1 of the Multi-site Exposed conference. I’m such a novice road warrior wannabe.

This day would have been entirely different had I done 1 thing: Check-in early for my flight the night before.

Here’s what coulda been: I’d have had boarding pass in hand, lined up to security at 757am, and right up to the gate at 815am for just-in-time 825am on-time departure.

Instead, here’s what happened- I did not check-in early, so no boarding pass in hand. I ate breakfast (egg + sausage on Engl muffin) at the hotel nearby the airport, packed ready to go, hopped into my rental car at 720am. I drive thru the crazy interchange outside of Newark Liberty airport, swirl around the circuitous route to Rental car return. I get on the AirTrain taking its sweet time slowly going from P2 to P1 to A then B then terminal C at 754am.

I get to the self-serve check-in, the slow terminal tells me I have to check-in at gate. I run over to security with the e-itinerary in hand, they wouldn’t let me thru, and said I have to check-in at ticket counter. I run over to ticket counter, tell people I have to catch a flight in less than 30 mins, they let me cut. I hand over my itinerary and driver’s license at 803am. No deal. They said gate’s closed. What? I thought they close the gate at 10 minutes. Nope. Agent says it’s 30 minutes, and that’s why say to arrive at airport 1 to 2 hours before departure.

I’m handed a standby boarding pass for 215pm, the next flight. I wait at terminal C for 5+ hours. My AT+T Edge network is down for the 3rd day in a row- no email, no browsing internet. I drink a smoothie. Catch a nap- tired from early wakeup and life in The City. Clean up my inbox. Prep for the Seattle conference. Watch planes take off and land. Read 3 chapters from Vince Antonucci’s book about a life of adventure with Jesus.

115pm. I wait at gate 88. Watch all the people board this overbooked flight. They ask for a volunteer to take a later flight for $300 voucher + meals. They up the ante to $400 + meals. Don’t know if anyone bit.

205pm. They call me up to the counter, and 1 other guy. 1 guy runs down the escalator with a boarding pass + confirmed seat, so he gets on. They say there’s 1 seat left. For a standby! They hand it over to the other guy. Good grief.

209pm. I twitter the bad news over SMS (edge ntwk still down): Didn’t make it. I was #2 on standby list. #1 guy made it. 1 guy ran on just in time. I’m getting rolled over to nxt flt @ 605p.

210pm. The flight attendants find an open seat 25B. I walk thru the aisle with everybody seated, every seat full. My seat’s 4th row from back. Sit + buckle. I twitter @ 211pm the good news: Correction, they rush me on last. 25B. See you in Seattle

Aside: the other standby guy sits directly behind my middle seat.

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  1. imei says:

    Poor puppy. Travel life is hard. I know, my husband travels a lot for biz, and I attach myself to his schedule from time to time, just to keep it all exciting. I can tell you about being held by security because of two hairpins in my head, being asked to empty the contents of my bag because I forgot that i had my brass zils with me… and countless other stupid stories that delayed me from getting to my gate. But the worst had to be in Chicago, where I experienced a very similar experience as you did, only with a much unhappier ending — I had to stay overnight, all the hotels nearby were booked, and I shuttled out to that kind of suburb motel that looks like serial killers might happily lurk. My taxi driver is a crazed man who was probably on something, and gave me problems, including his desire to dump me off on the side of the freeway in a fog!

    Early check in, good. Missed flight and crazy people, bad.

    Hope you enjoy Seattle. It’s still one of my favorite places to live.

  2. That’s the craziest story I’ve heard so far from the NYC crew…several Q folks were bumped around last weekend with American Airlines problems….you should be able to get some sweet vouchers from your airline if you tell them you were ‘greatly inconvenienced’….a guy on our flight got one for $100 just because our 2 hour late flight forced him to miss his connection (for $100 for 4 hours of delay). btw, thanks for the great bloggin job at Q…i was the front door bouncer guy and my wife was an usher, so what you’ve written has been helping me fill in some blanks. keep us on the up with multi-sites exposed…. i’ll probably think of going in september over here near us. -Big John

  3. djchuang says:

    well, the other way to avert this problem of mine is to arrive earlier to the airport 🙂 but I sorta got an “even steven” on the other leg of the trip — was able to fly standby on an earlier return flight back home on Wednesday, so I was in time for dinner, rather than in time for bedtime 🙂