So then…we come barreling down the hall just as the gate agent is about to close the gangway door.
“Wait! Wait! Can we get on this flight?!” I shout.
My co-worker Teresa pleads, “Pleeeeeeeease?”
Our other 2 co-workers, Mike and Matt, are huffing and puffing so much they can’t even speak.
The gate agent looks us over – 4 young corporate kids, all in our late 20’s, with our briefcases and carry-ons hanging off our crumpled suits, as we wheeze and gasp after running through the airport.
Her face wavers between impatience to get the flight on its way – and a tiny bit of pity.
I pounce on that shred of emotion. “Oh please, we BEG of you! We RACED here after the convention, only to find out our flight was delayed cuz of snow and ice — so we booked a different flight back home, ran to THAT gate, only to find out THAT one was delayed too! So they booked us on THIS flight – but it took us FOREVER to run here from the LAST gate!”
Matt clutches his chest and leans against the wall, loosening his tie. (Not sure if he’s doing this for dramatic effect or if he’s really in distress, but it works!)
The gate agent says, “OK, OK, give me your boarding passes and get on the plane quickly.”
We hoot and holler and wave our boarding passes in the air. We scramble quickly down the gangway onto the airplane. A few people are still in the aisle, storing their bags and finding their seats.
“Thank God we made it!” says Teresa.
Mike and Matt high five each other. We’re all beaming.
Matt says, “We’re so lucky we didn’t get stranded at the airport.”
“Yeah,” I say. “But I really hope they serve dinner on this flight. Cuz it’s 5 hours long and we didn’t have time to buy anything in the airport.”
Mike looks stricken. “Dammit. None of us has food?”
We all shake our heads forlornly. We haven’t eaten since the lunch of sandwiches at the convention hall — and now it’s late night.
Teresa says, “Oh, I’m sure they’re gonna serve dinner on this flight!”
She smiles optimistically. I frown skeptically.
We find our seats, stow our bags, and buckle in.
Teresa’s next to me. The guys are in the row behind us.
Later, the flight attendant comes down the aisle, dispensing drinks and dropping a little bag of pretzels on each tray table.
“Will you be serving dinner soon?” I ask.
The attendant says, “There’s no dinner.”
Teresa nearly spits out her Coke. Matt and Mike behind us say loudly, “WHAT?”
“We have pretzels,” she says. “We had peanuts earlier today, but we’re all out now.”
“Omigod, seriously?” I ask. “THIS is it? This is ALL the food?”
Teresa fumbles with the cards in the seat pocket and asks, “Can we BUY food? Do you have a snack menu or something? We’ll pay! We have MONEY!”
The attendant shakes her head.
Matt calls out, “Is she saying there’s no food?”
I answer loudly, “There are pretzels!” I turn back to the attendant and ask, “Could we please have extra pretzels? We’re starving!”
“No, I’m sorry,” she says. “We’re running low. What with the flight delays and cancellations, the airport’s been a mess today — we weren’t able to restock before we left.” She moves on to the rows behind us, distributing the meager fare.
I stand up, lean over my seat back, and hold the packet in front of Matt and Mike.
“Did you guys hear that? THIS is it! THIS is our ENTIRE nutrition on this FIVE HOUR flight!!”
They start laughing and Teresa joins in.
“It’s NOT funny!” I say loudly, still waving my packet around. “I.am.starving! I could eat a horse! And all they give us is this puny packet of pretzels!? I tell you what! You better hope we don’t go down over the Andes, because I will not HESITATE to eat you sorry mofos!”
I plop down into my seat, in a huff, famished and frustrated.
Just then a hand quietly reaches over the aisle and slides a packet of pretzels onto my tray.
My head snaps to the left to see who the donor is – it’s a businessman, with an expression of trepidation.
I say, “Are you sure?”
He nods vigorously.
I nod respectfully, with hooded eyes, and whisper, “Thanks, bro. If we go down, I’ll remember this.”
— Darcy Perdu
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(Ever been so hungry on a flight that cannibalism was an actual consideration? How do you feel about so many airlines abandoning the free meals of yesteryear, but offering snacks and meals for MORE MONEY? Any funny flight delay/cancellation stories? Do tell!)