A Long Night at The Airport
We arrived at the airport at about 7 p.m. I checked in at the counter and then collected my boarding pass and passport. I bade goodbye to my family and those who had come to see me off. I slung my hand luggage over my shoulder and headed for the departure lounge.
I was on my way to Australia to visit some relatives. This was to be my first trip overseas. It was also to be my first trip on an airplane. So I was naturally excited and apprehensive.
I presented my passport and other papers to the immigration officer at the door to the departure lounge. He scrutinized them quickly and handed them back to me. I then walked into the lounge proper.
There were many duty-free shops here. I walked around and did some window-shopping. After satisfying my curiosity I sat down on a seat among other passengers. The time was 7.45 p.m. My flight was scheduled to leave at 9.0C so I had plenty of time.
Skyvviy the excitement of a new experience turned to boredom. Time seemed to crawl. The clock seemed to be stuck. I watched some kids play their improvised game.
I checked the time on the huge board that showed the times of departures and arrivals. My flight MH3 was clearly shown to depart at 2100. My watch showed 8.15. I asked myself, shouldn’t we be boarding now?
The loudspeaker in the lounge answered. Flight MH3 was delayed. We were rescheduled to leave at 2330. I sighed. lt was going to be a long wait.
I alternately walked around and sat down. It was terrible to feel so restless; but what else could I do? I boked at the other passengers. Most looked as restless as me: Only the older folks seemed relaxed. Perhaps they were experienced in this sort of waiting.
After what seemed an eternity we were summoned to board the airplane. What a great feeling it was. At last we were going to take off.
I was disappointed. We were delayed further.
The interior of the airplane was tastefully decorated. The cabin crew were polite and helpful. However they could do nothing to relieve the boredom of having to sit down in a cramped seat with two huge fellows on both sides. Someone announced that we were unavoidably delayed and we would take off as soon as we could. So I waited. We all waited. We drank whatever were offered to us by the air-hostesses.
The next three hours were the longest in my life. The seat did not offer much room for movement. The two guys next to me stank of liquor. The other passengers were restless and the atmosphere in the airplane was a bit tense.
Finally, I heard the startup of the engine. I could hear a collective sigh of relief from the passengers. I felt relieved too. Someone cheered. I cheered in reply. Then everyone cheered.
I looked at my watch. It was 3.30 a.m. It had been a horribly long wait.