As my plane was landing in Houston after the 16 1/2 flight, it hit me that Qatar Airways didn't issue my boarding pass for the next leg of my journey to Austin. Looking at my watch and realizing that my one hour fifteen minute layover had just been whittled down to twenty five minutes, I was going to have to do some pretty fancy moves to make my connection. I still had to deplane, go through customs, pick up my luggage for customs screening, drop it back for reloading, find a Continental ticket counter, get my boarding pass and find my gate...virtually impossible. Let the melt down begin. The travelers ahead me at customs recognized my dilemma and gave me a pass to the front of the line. Awesome. Next stop, luggage pickup with ten minutes to go. Wait on luggage for five minutes, grab it, go to next customs check point and sail through in three minutes. I spy the Continental desk immediately to my right, drop luggage for upload to plane, run to ticket counter 25 meters away. Opt for first class line, since economy line is backed up...surely they'll sense my panic. Tears pop out, as I'm incoherently blurting out my crisis and the jerk face attendant says, "you need to get in the back of that line", without a bit of compassion. Does he not see my tears? Oh yeah, I'm not in Doha, anymore. Welcome to America, the land of EQUAL opportunity. So, I do as I'm told as the waterworks reach full steam. Flight takeoff time passes. I regain my composure and hold my head up and my place in line. I notice that everyone in front of me is being told, "sorry, last flight out tonight, we'll put you up in a hotel". My strength starts wavering, as I do not want to spend the night in Houston with no luggage and being just a thirty minute flight from home. Suddenly a woman at the ticket counter sings out, "anyone going to Austin?!". Knocking three people over to get to her, I'm screaming, "yes, yes, yes!". She tells me I don't need any paperwork and to head to gate E3 and that the plane hasn't left, yet. No paperwork needed? I'll get you back, somehow, jerk face 1st class attendant, but no time now. It's off to sprinting, again, only to be held up for a security checkpoint. For Pete's sake, I just got off a plane and am still in a secured area, seriously? Off with the belt, the shoes, unload the laptop, run everything through the scanner, grab it and now it's full throttle sprint time. Yes, Hertz rental car, OJ style. Mr. Simpson had nothing on me. After running what had to be a mile, I arrive at the gate completely out of breath and pantomiming, "has it already, left?". She says, "it hasn't even arrived, yet". Are you kidding me? All that drama for nothing? Would that little tidbit of info been too much to offer me? Oh well, I got my workout in, didn't miss my flight, and I came, I saw, and I did conquer, after all. Life is good.
Theme song from Mission Impossible