Ok so I wasn't going to tell anyone about this and purposely didn't text my mate Twitter about it because, frankly, I was incredibly embarrassed. But now some time has passed and I'm far enough away from Ireland that nobody can see my blushes, I'm going to admit it...
Saturday afternoon I left UnConvention tired, hungover and dehydrated. Memories from the previous night were still filtering back and I didn't want to leave. My flight was due to depart at 4pm and at 2.45pm I decided I'd left it late enough and casually swent swanning off to the airport. In the taxi there I was joking around with the driver, chatting about everything from football to the weather. I even told him about my bet and how I was going to be over £1000 richer in a couple of hours time. He laughed at this, which in hindsight makes me think he was probably a Timelord, as there was no way he would've doubted me otherwise. We pulled in at the George Best City Airport, I told him to keep the 20p change (I wasn't going to need it, was I? Four figures coming my way), picked up my bag and wandered inside, carefree and happy to see blue skies again. No flight delays for me.
"Hold on... Why's my flight not listed on the screen? That's weird, better check another one"
"Hmm, still not there. I'll go to Information and ask"
A few feet from the desk I'm looking at my flight confirmation. "It's definitely the right date, and time, and going to Gatwick, and..." I stop dead in my tracks. "OH... MY... GOD!!!"
As many of you may already be aware, Belfast has two airports. Can you see where this might be going?
I guess I could blame the hangover, or my casual nature, or the fact that I'd arrived at the City airport so just presumed I'd depart from the same one, but in all honesty it's more to do with the fact that I'm just really really stupid! I rush to the Information desk and explain my situation, get mis-directed to the cashpoints, thereby knocking a couple more precious minutes off, and upon seeing no taxi's eventually hop in a sodding mini-bus outside.
So there I am, all on my own, speeding across Belfast in the back of a mini-bus, staring pale-faced out the window, drumming my fingers repetitively only stopping to punch my forward and scream expletives. We're 30 minutes away and my gate closes in 25 minutes. The traffic mounts up and I call 118 118. "Put me through to the Belfast International Airport" I demand "Belfast City Airport, Sir?" asks the woman "NO! The f*cking IN-TER-NAT-ION-AL Airport!" is my polite response. This wasn't a time to be making friends, a view clearly shared by the lovely woman on reception who flat-out refuses to put me through to anyone in the departure lounge, or even pass on a message letting them know that I'm on my way. "Thanks for nothing, lady!"
We pull up at the airport at 3.29pm. Money is literally thrown at the driver, the door is left open and I flea for my life. I don't remember the last time I've run so fast or cared so much about a bloody plane. All that was going through my head was: "You idiot! You've cost yourself £40 in taxi fares, missed your flight, gonna have to pay through the nose for another and there probably won't be one back to Gatwick today, so you're gonna have to head back into Belfast, plead with someone to put you up and think of a damn good story as to why you're not on your plane! And all because you didn't think to look at your flight confirmation closely enough to check which airport you were leaving from!" - Punching your head isn't so easy when running but swearing isn't a problem, much to the disappointment of the group of old woman I sprint past.
I catch my first lucky break as I hit security and for the first time in the history of flight am the only person there! I rip my bag open with its contents spewing everywhere. "The plastic bag for your liquids is too big" says the fat man behind the conveyor belt. I shoot him a look which says "I will literally rip you apart if you try to stop me going through" and just to add extra aggression to the stare I take my belt off without so much as blinking. "ok, go through" he says. Damn right I'll go through.
On the other side I don't even have time to stop. I'm running through the departure lounge, out of breath, not a drop of moisture left in my mouth, laptop under one arm, open bag and coat under the other, wallet and phone in hand. I round a corner and nearly fall over, just managing to keep my balancing and then that's it... I'm there! Lounge 17, my God Damn lucky number and guess what? They haven't even started boarding the plane! I walk into the middle of the busy room, drop all of my possessions on the floor, look up at the ceiling with a deranged smile and then realise I haven't put my belt back on and my trousers and now dangerously close to getting me arrested. Goodbye Belfast!
Sitting on the plane I'm still desperately trying to force everything back into my bag. A tiny voice pipes up "Excuse me, can I sit here? What are you doing with your bag? Have you lost something? Are you having a good day?" Ah, it's none other than my inquisitive little friend-to-be. "Sit down mate, let me tell you about my day..."