Ever feel like a holiday is doomed? Or just purposely creating circumstances to tell a harrowing but funny story to your friends and family? After the fleeting drama of our ferry-to-Naxos-cancellation, and our unplanned-day-in-Athens, things seemed to have calmed down. The holiday was going to plan. And then there was That Time My Mobile Phone and I Were Parted in Athens Airport.
We had made our way from Piraeus to Athens Airport by bus, with an hour to spare until check-in. Time for a coffee. And to charge my mobile phone. Anything under 40% battery life sends me in to a tailspin. And we were on 30%. Finally check-in is open, so I unplug the charger – still only on 37% but we’ll find somewhere in departures. I shove charger, adaptor plug, handbag and phone into the top section of my fancy new Travel Hack suitcase. Or so I think.
It takes 45 mins to get through check-in. Whether it is the inefficiency of the staff, or the idiocy of the travellers, I wouldn’t like to presume. The window for charging my phone air-side is diminishing. We go through boarding card check, then about three miles worth of moving walkways before another boarding card check. Finally, it’s security time. There’s a gentleman in the queue behind us, trying to attract our attention. I recognise him from the pre check-in coffee shop.
I scrabble around in my handbag, which is now in my suitcase. My phone isn’t in it’s usual pocket. Then again, it’s not unusual for me to just chuck it in when in a rush. I’ll check thoroughly once we’re through security. Sunglasses, purse, headphones. All present. Charger and travel adaptor. All present. Mobile phone. Definitely absent.
I hurtle past the slow-moving travellers in Duty Free. No time for perfume sprays or samples of ouzo and raki. I spot the airport information desk. This is a woman who can help me. In a very efficient and professional manner, we nail down exactly which of the dozen or so coffee shops we were drinking in. She initially looks like this is a very trivial matter but kindly phones through.
It’s been handed in to a lady called Dimitria at the cafe. I can go back and get it, my Athens airport angel tells me. What time does your boarding gate close she asks? 19:30 I tell her. She looks at my boarding card, taps furiously away on her keyboard and tells me it’s impossible. It’s 19:00, the gate is open, and passengers will be boarding shortly. I’ll never make it out and back in time. Is there any way they can get it to me, I ask?
Airport angel looks perplexed. She makes a number of calls, speaking rapidly in Greek. My name is mentioned occasionally, as are the words “iPhone” and “ananas”. I’m thankful for my fruity case for being distinctive. Plan A – whatever Plan A was – is no good. Let’s try Plan B. More rapid Greek. More “ananas”. She comes off the phone and exhales. My phone is on it’s way to me. Security have been made aware that I’m delayed. Airport Angel sends Mr Fletche off to the gate with a tale to tell the boarding staff about his wife waiting for some “important medication”. She is now embroiled in a web of deceit. This is beyond efficiency and professionalism. This has become her life’s mission. Except she has to go and deal with a medical emergency in Arrivals. We both agree this is more important than my mislaid mobile.
And so I wait. It’s 19:10. There’s plenty of time. I need a wee but that can wait. 19:15. No sign of “Nicole” with my phone. Mr Fletche has taken my cabin case with him, leaving me with his camera bag and my handbag. I now worry that I have two pieces of hand luggage and Easyjet will refuse to let me on the plane. It’s 19:20. Ten minutes until the gate closes. At what point do I leave my mobile phone to live a life of sunshine in Greece and make a run for the gate? Alternatively, what happens if I wait and miss my flight? If I had my phone, I’d Google what to do in this situation. But I don’t. So I wait. And at 19:24, Nicole appears. Phone in pineapple case in hand. I’d hug her, my second Airport Angel, but I don’t have time.
Airport floors are not great for sprinting, but I give it a go. Gate A32 is ahead. And here’s passport control. With a huge queue. I’m not sure of the correct etiquette but I’m English so I queue. A family join the queue behind me – I soon ascertain that they are also on my flight. They didn’t have a mobile phone mishap, but were instead browsing duty free and missed the final call. I’m totally going to blame them if the flight is delayed. The boarding gate staff instructs Bristol passengers to skip the queue. Finally Mr Fletche and I are reunited. No-one has even glanced at my second bag (which is a sneaky tip if you want to get more than one piece of hand luggage onto an Easyjet flight). No-one thankfully asks to see my aforementioned “medication”.
Have you ever lost something on your travels? Or ever just made a flight by the skin of your teeth? Let me know in the comments!