Running out of time

Posted by | September 28, 2013 | Alieu Fofanah, Personal | No Comments
2013-09-19 18.45.02

London town, see you in 6 months.

21:00 – As the plane took off I had flashes of saying good-bye to all my friends and family, wishing me good luck. 1hr earlier I nearly missed the plane…

2013-09-13 23.03.24

19:00 – The family and I arrived at the airport at 19:00 for my 21:00 flight to Johannesburg. As we entered the main car park, all we saw was a sea of cars and in the far corner near the lifts we notice a crowd of people, some of them looked liked medics. Once we found parking we walked past the crowd and realized that a man was unconscious on the floor. A woman, who we found out later was his wife, was at a distance crying, shouting and speaking to the medics. My parents went to find out what had happened, whilst my friend and I made our way to check in.

19:10 – The information board said 21:00 Johannesburg section A. I made my way there and saw Virgin Atlantic. I thought this couldn’t be right; I had booked with Ethiopian airways.

19:13 – I asked the Virgin desk to check if I was on the flight, they said no! I felt a slight panic, but I looked at my ticket again and remembered the 1st stop was Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

19:15 – I receive a call from my mum telling me that they are looking after the woman and are helping her with locating her mother, who was meant to be departing soon.

19:20 – Finally we had located the right check in desk… There was a cue, but it was only 19:20 so we had plenty time… Well that’s what I thought!

19:40 – I got to the check in and gave my passport to the airhostess with a smile. She noticed that I had a one-way ticket to South Africa. I explained to her that I will be traveling across sub-Saharan Africa and that I had not booked my ticket to Kenya, but planned to do so once I finalised my plans in Johannesburg. Her words cut through me like a hot knife in butter “You will not be able to fly today” I asked her why. She told me that I needed an outbound flight back to the UK or another country. She points me in the direction of the issues desk. So I joined a new line.

19:52 – I was using two mobiles to log into STA travel in an attempt to book a flight to Kenya. I found a flight for £241 and was happy to book it. In the process of inputting my details I got to the issues desk. I explained the situation to the flight attendant and that I was in the process of booking a ticket.

19:54 – He explained to me that they would need a paper copy of the flight booking. I ask whether or not I can email him the confirmation to print out for me. His says NO! At this point I started to panic and felt my temper rising. He suggested that the only way I could make the flight was to book a flight via Ethiopian airways. I knew the price was going to be ridiculous! I felt a dreadful feeling in the bottom of my stomach as I waited to find out the damage.

19:54 – The price of the ticket was £201! I started singing in my head GOD IS GOOD! I wanted to do a dance lol. I saved £40 buying this ticket. I hand him my card to make the purchase. Then he tells me I cannot use a card, it has to be cash and that I only have 6mins before check-in closes. Ahhhhhhhh, I ask my friend to look after my stuff and I turn into Husain Bolt… I was off… running like a mad man.

19:55 – I run towards a cleaner and ask her where the nearest cash point was. She tells me I have to make my way upstairs.

19:56 – I run up the escalator and find a security guard, who points me in the direction of a cash point. I quickly withdraw the cash.

19:57 I start running towards the escalator, but each one was going in the wrong direction. I started to panic. I saw another security guard, “Excusive me excusive me, please can you show me the quickest way to get down stairs”. He says my best option is to take the lift and points.

19:58 I see a lift about to open, I jump inside, I wait impatiently as other people enter. I made sure I stayed at the front of the door.

19:59 I ran out of the lift and made my way towards the counter. With one minute to spare, I had made it! I bought the ticket. As I turned around I saw my parents walking towards me. I tell them what happened.

I was the last person to check in!

I am now writing this blog on my flight to Johannesburg. Today was a close shave, but I thank God I made it!

running out of time

Alieu Fofanah

About Alieu Fofanah

An Associate Chartered Accountant who in 2010 was invited to the House of Lords by Lord Adebowale, to feature as a Future Leader in the Magazine published by Powerful Media. Previously worked as a debt restructuring and business recovery specialist at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Alieu’s vision for GoGetters to act as a channel for entrepreneurs to build creative solutions, which transform the world.

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