I’m walking away from the ticket check when something suddenly feels wrong. I shouldn’t be carrying this big orange plastic bag in my hand. A bag filled mainly with child clothes, nappies, snacks and cookies. I run back. Aleika and Akirno have already disappeared from sight.
The man at the counter tells me to give the bag to the airline so that they can get it on the plane. Off to the check-in desk. The check-in lady makes a phone call while I catch my breath, and we wait as a tall young man with bleached hair strolls across the hall to come and pick up the bag.
I watch him walk off a bit anxiously. He doesn’t seem in a hurry. I feel that the check-in lady hasn’t insisted enough that this was urgent and important. The plane is taking off in twenty-five minutes.
He has stopped not far off and is talking with an old lady. He had brought a wheelchair with him, and is obviously going to help her get into it. I almost walk up to him to make sure he is aware that time is running short—but I don’t.
Ten minutes later, I am back at the desk to ask if Aleika has received her bag. After putting down the phone, the lady tells me that everything is OK. What a relief!
I have almost reached the ticket machine in the parking when I hear somebody call. One minute later, I am back at the check-in desk. There has been a misunderstanding. When the bag reached the plane, the doors had already been shut.
I will skip swiftly through the next forty minutes of disappointment, frustration, and unapologetic staff, at the end of which I found myself where it had all started: walking out of the airport, holding in my hand a big orange plastic bag which should have been on the plane.