For the Rookie Jet-Setter: 10 Tips to NOT Being Late for an Early Morning Work Flight

April 27th, 2010 by Amanda Barth

(… and some things to know if this does happen to you)

Imagine you are a new hire for a company.  Your boss schedules your first work day-trip for an important meeting with a client – and even better – it is to New York City (oh…and you have never been there before!)  You are so excited and ready to show your boss why he/she hired you!

The night before your 7:00 a.m. flight, you create the meeting agenda for the next day.  You get your briefcase packed.  You iron and lay out your outfit.  You take your shower.  You set your cell phone alarm clock for 4:00 a.m.  You are set and ready to go, so you head to bed.

6:08 a.m. your spouse wakes you up from a deep sleep frantically saying, “Do you know what time it is?!”  Your first thoughts:  “WHAT HAPPENED?!  Why am I not sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to board?!”

This is a true story.  This exact situation {unfortunately} happened to me.

“What did I do next?” you might be asking yourself…

The very first thing I did was call my boss and let him know right away what happened and what was going on.  He seemed pretty optimistic that I would make it to the airport on time (even thought I live a half hour away from the airport on a good day.)  I brushed my teeth, tossed my makeup bag into my briefcase, threw on my clothes and ran out the door to my car.  I sped all the way to the airport (I am not promoting speeding.  I am only giving you a play-by-play report of exactly what happened.)

After parking my car and running all the way into the airport, I arrived to the airline’s check-in counter at exactly 6:50 a.m. (panting and sweating profusely, of course.)  The not-so-friendly man at the counter pretty much told me that there was no way in hell I would be getting on that 7:00 a.m. direct flight to NYC.  The last text I got from my boss before the flight (that I was supposed to be on) took off read something like “Do whatever you have to do to get there.”

Ok.  The pressure is piling on.  Next, I begin running to every airline counter (in heels) begging to let me onto a flight that will get me to NYC in time for the client meeting.  From one wing of the airport to the next, I am having no luck.  {This is a scene straight out of a movie, if you ask me.}  There are airport employees rooting for me and trying to help me out.  Finally, the last airline left (who’s workers were not at the counter until now) agrees to get me onto a flight that has one layover.  At least I will be getting there at a decent time.  Things are looking up!

Until I realize that I have no cash, no debit card, and only one check left in my checkbook.  In the hectic rush I was in this morning, I must have left my debit card at home (and I never carry any cash on me, ever.)  Luckily, the airline agreed to take my check!  Little did they know, I did not even have enough money in my bank account to cover the check!  However, I was aware that my boss graciously planned to reimburse me for any of these unnecessary expenses that I was incurring because of these desperate circumstances.  I planned to deposit the money into my account before the airline could even cash the check.  (I later found out from my hubby that this act is considered a felony – so please do not try this at home!)

I have my new (one-way) ticket, made it through security and I am in the sitting area waiting to board my flight.  Now I am noticing that my cell phone battery is close to dead.  So, I am emailing my hubby and my mother to let them know what is going on.  My mom insists that I cannot go to NYC with zero cash.  So she took a collection of cash from her charitable coworkers and got her boss to (once again) speed her to the airport.  She jumped out of the car and went up to the security guards near the exit of the terminal.  She asked if she could give me the cash, and the security guard took it from her, inspected it and then handed it over to me.  What can I say?…My mom is the best!

Now I am really all set to make it to the client meeting!  I had never flown alone before.  And I actually really enjoyed it, once all of the running and worrying was over with.  I turned my phone off for the flight (because they make you and because my battery was dying.)  Once I landed in NYC, I turned my phone on and had a text from my boss with a phone number and confirmation number to a town car company.  The driver knew exactly where to take me.  My boss said that once I got there, to call or text him and he would come down and pay for the fare.

The whole ride there, the driver was pointing out landmarks to me and explaining the 5 Burroughs of the city.  When we were nearing the client’s building, I began calling and texting my boss.  He wasn’t responding.  Thank the good Lord for my mom!  If she had not rushed me that cash, I would have had to sell my soul to get out of that town car!  I finally made it up to the meeting and all went well. What a day!

Thank goodness for:
A) My hubby for waking me up when he did.  I still have no idea what happened with my cell phone alarm and why it did not go off.  And, maybe it did, and in my sleep I turned it off…who knows?!
B) My mother and her coworkers and boss for donating and rushing me some cash.
C) My boss for being completely understanding and admitting that he has gone through similar circumstances.  He reminded me that no one is perfect and that it can happen to the best of us.
D) And, last, but certainly not least, God – for getting me through the whole fiasco!

In the end, this was a great experience because I learned a lesson.  Here are some tips so that you do not have to learn the same lesson I did…

1. First of all, if you know that you are not an early morning person and it is in your control to choose when to take your flight, do not choose an early morning flight that requires you to wake up at the break of dawn.

2. Set 2 alarms – Give yourself enough time to arrive at the airport about 2 hours in advance of your flight.  If your flight leaves at 7am and you get to the check-in desk at 6:50, they are not going to let you on the flight. Airport security can take a while to get through, especially if it is an early morning flight.  Think of rush hour on the highway.  The same concept applies to flights.

3. Ask someone to give you a wake-up call, who you know will already be awake – a parent, a friend, or even a coworker that you may be traveling with.

4. Get to bed early so that you are not tempted to hit the snooze button on your alarm.

5. Take your shower the night before.  It takes me a solid 40 minutes to blow dry my hair (I know – high maintenance.)  Can you imagine if I had not taken a shower the night before my flight?

6. Have everything laid out for you ready to go in the am: Your outfit, briefcase, etc.

7. Make sure you have enough gas in your car the day before so that you do not have to make a stop in the morning before your flight.

8. Make sure you go to the ATM the day before so that you do not have to make a stop in the morning before your flight.

9. Check-in online or on your smart phone.  According to Delta.com, “Mobile check-in saves time at the airport by letting you check in and get your eBoarding Pass right from your PDA or web-enabled phone within 24 hours of your departure. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to check in.”


10. Have all of your identification and tickets in a handy place so that you do not have to spend time searching through your things.

*If you do happen to miss your first flight of your round-trip ticket, do be aware that some airlines will cancel your entire itinerary.  This means – do not try to purchase a 1-way ticket to your destination, assuming that you can still use your original ticket back.  Check with the airline first.  You may need to purchase a whole new round-trip ticket.  (I discovered this important piece of information on my way back to New Orleans from New York City.

**Know where you are going once you get to your destination airport.  Waiting for a taxi may add to your late-ness.  Have a list of phone numbers on-hand to local town car services.  These companies sometimes cost less than cab fare.  Call and make a reservation before your flight takes off.

I hope that these tips come in handy for you.  Have you had a similar experience?  Do you have any additional tips?  Thanks for reading!

——————-

PHOTO CREDITS: