I almost missed two flights, but with quick thinking I managed to board at the nick of time. Once it was a flight from Durban to Lanseria. We were late after taking the wrong road to the airport. In the car, we panicked, hoping that there was some delay on the plane to get on board. After running all the way to the boarding gates, we finally made it. The other mishap happened in OR Tambo in May. I was late, again, and in my rush I forgot to hand in my courtesy car keys. I only had 5 minutes to the boarding gate, but thankfully there was a delay on the flight that allowed latecomers to be seated.
While I was fortunate, not many people are that lucky. Missing a flight can be disastrous, especially if you have engagements planned at your travel destination. But while it's easy to stress about missing your flight, and the additional charges that may occur, sometimes accepting that you have missed your flight is the first step to quickly find a plan b and make that work.
I have seen many people at airports cussing when they were told by airport staff that they missed their flight. Although this is a natural reaction, you can manage to find light at the end of this dark time.
Here are some tips that I have created to help me prevent missing my flight or if I do, what ways could help me get on the next earliest flight:
Check in online
Checking online reduces your chances of losing your flight as you do not have to spend unnecessary time checking in.
If you are late, call the airport
Alerting the airport service that you will be a few minutes late may help you to rush to the boarding gate just before they close the gates. Often, the airline will wait for you, but if you are later than scheduled you may just miss that flight.
Communicate with staff
I told a staff member during a flight from Johannesburg that I was going to be late and explained my problem. They alerted the airline staff who waited for me. While it may not work all the time, if you ask nicely, staff will be able to help.
If you miss a flight, find alternative flights
No use cussing about missing a flight as it already happened. All you can do is make sure that you book in a new flight as soon as you can. Note that there may be additional costs.
The wait can be overwhelming, but I recommend you stay at the airport especially if it's a few hour wait. The airport has some cool shops that you can browse through or you can calm your nerves with a glass of wine at one of the restaurants.
Use it as a lesson
Always use bad experiences as a lesson for it to not happen again. Arrive earlier than expected on your next flight, even if it means that you are the first to board.