Will I Catch My Flight to Rome? On My Way to Los Angeles

T he elderly woman sitting next to me was searching all over the place for her glasses as the gate agents were trying in vain to get the computers working again.

“They were just pharmacy glasses”, the elderly woman said when I offered to help search for the glasses. “It was not the glasses that were any value; it was the case.”

“What did it look like?”

“Shades of blue.”

I saw no evidence of any glass case in the immediate area. “Are you sure you did not put it in your bag?”

She assured me that she was sure; but she did not seem frantic about it at all — at least, not as frantic as the gate agents were with the computers.

“Why are those people in line?” she asked in a voice so sweet that you would want to adopt her as a relative. “Do my husband and I have to go in that line?”

“Do you have a boarding pass?” She showed me her boarding pass.

“You are good to go”, I said. She admitted — almost apologetically — that she and her husband rarely travel.

“So I could put my boarding pass away?”

“No — you will need it to board the airplane”, I replied — hoping that we will get to board at all today.

“Will they let us know when it is time to pre-board?”

I assured her that I would let her know, eyeing the growing crowd in the gate area.

She asked me if I lived in Los Angeles. I do not. She then asked me about where I was going.

If you know me and my crazy itineraries by now, that is not a question you want to ask unless you have time and are truly interested.

“I am going to Budapest.” It did not strike her as odd that I was traveling from Atlanta to Los Angeles to travel to Budapest.

“So how long is your journey? 17 hours?”

“Um…Okay.” I did not feel like calculating the time — but with one flight which was slightly greater than four hours in duration; another that was almost 12 hours in duration; and a third flight which was probably about an hour and 30 minutes, wouldn’t you know it that she practically hit the flight time almost exactly?

Of course, that does not count the two stopovers.

Still no one was boarding as it was closing in on departure time; however — after many attempts to boot the system back up — the gate agents started to board passengers the old-fashioned way:


I alerted the elderly woman that pre-boarding began as the gate agent was checking every boarding pass for the name, zone number and seat assignment while another gate agent was looking it up on the computer.

This was going to take forever — or so I thought.

As they boarded the other zones, they started picking up speed. As I boarded, I mentioned to the gate agents that we did not have to board passengers this way when we were gate agents for the day. They laughed.

The airplane wound up departing from the gate approximately 30 minutes late. “I knew I should have booked an earlier flight”, I thought to myself.

The flight to Los Angeles was uneventful — although I had a nice view of the wing and its engine — but the announcements for food for sale were never ending to the point where passengers were starting to get irritated. If I want to buy food, I promise that I will let you know — but for now, please hand out the complimentary miniature pretzels and orange juice.

Wow. I remember the days when passengers complained about the complimentary meals served during a flight in the economy class cabin. Now we are subject to long advertisements as to what we can purchase — along with a description of every item. I really do not need to know the nutritional content of what I am not going to eat.

…and what was Seth Miller of The Wandering Aramean doing as a flight attendant serving me? At least, if the voice of the flight attendant was not so high-pitched, I could have sworn it was Seth. He even had a similar smile as Seth. I was almost expecting him to strike a pose in an overhead bin.

However, the main thought on my mind is: would I catch my flight to Rome?

Stay tuned…

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