I like flying, but like most travelers, the checking in process at the airport is one of the aspects that I find less appealing.
I just want it to be over and done with as fast and as soon as possible.
I was heading to George Town, Exuma Island in the Bahamas from Nassau with a travel buddy some months back, and I underestimated our time allowance.
Lynden Pindling International Airport is small but it is quite busy, especially early in the morning with flights taking off from the domestic airport to neighboring islands like every 20 minutes or so.
With just an hour to spare before our scheduled departure, we returned our car rental then hurried to our check-in counter.
We fell in line and when it was my turn, I handed the ticket agent my passport and a small sheet of paper where I scribbled my confirmation number. The agent typed on his keyboard, looked at the monitor and told me there was no booking in my name. I insisted there was, and gave him the booking confirmation I printed days before.
The line was getting longer behind us and passengers were getting impatient. There was only one staff serving that airline.
The ticket agent looked at my booking, punched more keys and squinted at his monitor again and said,
“Sorry Ma’am, but you are not booked anywhere in today’s flights.”
I asked if he can check one more time because I booked the flight myself. He looked at my printed booking again, closer this time then looked up at me in irritation and said.
“You booked with BahamasAir, not Western Air Bahamas,” he said and pointed me to the BahamasAir check-in counter a few meters away.
Red with mortification, I discovered I just looked at the big letters “Bahamas” and did not pay attention to the full name of the airline counter. We rushed to the correct counter, fell in line all over again and barely had time to go through the TSA check-in when we heard the loudspeaker announcing boarding for our flight is about to start. Twenty full minutes before schedule.
Gone was my plan to grab a cup of hot coffee and a croissant from one of the fast food outlets inside airport. Boarding was finished quickly as there were only a few passengers, and the flight was short about 30 minutes. We landed in George Town ahead of schedule.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, that was not my first mix up with checking in.
I had a morning flight one time with Southwest Airlines and I panicked when I reached the check-in counters because it was already empty. I didn’t get an advisory or text message that my flight was rescheduled one hour earlier. I started running and the ticket agent got out of the counter to meet me halfway. She asked for my ticket and passport and told me I can still make it if I run really fast as the cabin door was about to close.
She looked at my ticket and then said, “Oh, this is Southwest Airlines. Check-in counter is down the hall.” Only then did I look back and saw the Delta Airlines logo. All I saw earlier was the similar blue and red colors.
I sure hope that was my last checking in mix up, but good luck to that! Take note to allow plenty of time for checking in, no matter how big or small the airport is.
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