There we were—slumped on the metallic seats at pre-departure, wondering what time we would be boarding our flight to Davao City. Or if we ever would. The boarding time printed on our boarding passes was “1850,” for an ETD of “1920”. Both times had long passed and my boss and I still hadn’t heard an advisory about our flight over the PA system.
We had already used up our time-killing tactics which included, in the following order: animated chitchat (mostly about work), listening to music (I, with my Shuffle and he, with his Motorola phone), reading (I, my new novel pick and he, photocopies from some marketing book), using our laptops (I, catching up on 24’s fourth season and he, playing Bookworm). Two hours since our original ETD, the other delayed flights—to Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod—were airborne after their passengers had been pacified by a free meal in Styrofoam and a bottle of C2.
At about 11PM—six hours after we checked in!—the speakers chimed and a lady’s voice announced, “To all Davao-bound passengers, we are sorry to inform you that your flight will be delayed…” Really?! A wholesale groan filled the air, the irritated kind that said, Would you pleeease tell us something we don’t know yet!
“Your new ETD is 12.30AM.” Colorful language popped up here and there. One irate passenger kicked a trashcan. Boss and I just sighed in frustration. At least we now knew the new ETD. Good thing the two of us had earlier found a way to amuse ourselves with a good laugh. How? Well, each of the flights that took off before us, all delayed by at least two hours, didn’t leave right away because of one or two passengers who probably got bored and left the pre-departure area. These “last remaining passengers” had to be paged several times. When they finally walked to the gate after what seemed like eternity, some rushed while others strolled as though by the beach! Now imagine how the passengers already onboard would react to these Johnny-come-latelies. Think flying footwear and Goldilocks cakes (melted), deadly stares, sarcastic reprimands… Clucking our tongues, boss and I mischievously snickered, “Gudlaaaak!” to these poor souls. It’s one thing to be on a delayed flight; it’s another to be causing the further delay of an already delayed flight.
I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the airline’s ground crew. Enraged passengers were approaching them with all sorts of complaints. You can’t blame the passengers, of course. These are people—“guests” (as Cebu Pacific people have started calling their passengers of late)—with schedules to keep, anxious loved ones waiting for them miles away, even emergencies they need to attend to. But the fact remained: we weren’t flying until 12.30AM. And no amount of stressing or harassing the crew could change that. From where I was seating, I’d rather chitchat with boss, read my novel, listen to music, tinker with my laptop—yes, go through the whole cycle again—than invite a stroke or usher a weary airport employee to hell on earth.
But then again, who knows, maybe if they hadn’t served dinner in the nick of time, this Jekyll might have transformed into a Hyde. It’s very likely that my sanity and even-temperedness are largely dependent on the state of my stomach.
Delayed flight and all, it was nice to be back home in Davao, even just for the weekend.