Do you suffer from “Frequent Flyer Syndrome”? – A Side Effect They Don’t Warn You About


Let me just describe my current situation: I’m on a plane flying with British Airways from Terminal 5 to Gran Canaria. For the last 20 minutes I’ve been trying not to throw up due to a very present coughing fit!

Everything about this trip up to this point has been a leisurely “I’ll get to it in a bit” kind of process. This trip wasn’t your typical last minute trip; I knew I was going, business came up and I had my letter of invitation in hand almost 3 weeks ago. The frequent flyer in me said “prices won’t go up too much, so, no rush, girl”… I looked at ticket prices and since they were circa £150, I was good! Even if they did go up by 1/3, I was still way under budget. When it came to my hotel, the same attitude was adopted. I booked this about 6 days ago… I planned on doing it earlier, again, monitoring prices, but “later” always prevailed. A brilliant fellow I know took me to the airport; his advice was “let me get you for 1:30pm, latest”. Only glancing at my ticket, I retorted with “I don’t need to be there that early, sitting on my jack jones (alone) at the departure gate, come get me for 2:30pm”. Last night, I revisited my flight information, only to realize I had the entirely wrong time in my head and if left to the “I got this!” attitude I’ve acquired with how frequently I travel, I would have missed my flight. Period. I humbly messaged him in the dead of night asking that we move in line with his initial recommendation.


Needless to say, the brilliant fellow arrives at my home EARLY(!) – I’m not ready. I rush. He is met by my family (it’s a Sunday and everyone minus Angel, my older sister, are at my parents’ house) it’s a little awkward as according to my mother “I am long overdue for marriage”… so the spark in her eye lets me know she awaits a full extensive synopsis of who this guy is, his family background, credit score, church home and blood type when we next speak, but I digress… We are en route – he takes my bags for me to security, we have a bit of a chin wag, (conversation) and I leave. I then decide I have time to eat as my boarding pass says my gate opens at 4:45pm for a 5:05pm take off. I go and have a leisurely veggie meal at a restaurant called Giraffe, then proceed to the gate at about 4:40pm… I see the MAC counter and decide to take a gander; I’m all good because I have 5 minutes before boarding even starts. As I’ve seen the direction of the gates I just know I’m on time and, as I said, I’m a frequent flyer, I got this! I turn the corner from MAC and see that I need to take a MOTHER LOVING TRAIN to the C gate and I’m at the A gate! *Insert Mr. Krabs confused meme*

At this point my heart begins to race, but the “thug life” in me takes over and I force myself to calm down, I’m a frequent flyer!… I get to the C gate at 4:55 and reality sets in. How the EF can boarding start at 4:45pm for a 5:05pm take off?! I must have seen it wrong and misread that the gate actually CLOSES at 4:45pm… in a haze I push full force up the escalators apologizing as I bump and push past people. With my bags in hand I hobble through the departure gates, trying to get to gate C62. I run to the extreme end of the departure gates and I see it goes from C53 to C66… at this point I can taste my anguish and anxiety! I turn the corner only to see a girl I ran past going through gate C62 in the hazy distance, back at the OPPOSITE end of the gates I just blazed past! I see the flight attendants walking away and an illuminated sign “gate closed” shone all too brightly. I see the departure boards and my flight is no longer recorded… at this point, it’s over. Do I call brilliant fellow and make myself look a real unorganized numpty or do I look for a later flight and suffer the financial consequences of the ‘F.F. syndrome’. As these thoughts flash through my mind, the attendant turned around. At this point, I was a mustard seed distance away from thugless tears. As the apple in my throat grew bigger, it’s as if Sweet Baby Jesus himself shouted out “ay yo! YUSUFF, turn around fam!” because how and why he turned around with such force is beyond me! Yusuff grabs the phone and I hear him say “wait, she’s coming now!” (Yusuff may or may not be his name; my sight was blurred with sweat and disorientation at this point.) Sweet Baby Jesus flexes his infinite muscles again and I gain Wakanadan strength and fly down two more flights of stairs then run along THE LONGEST WALKWAY OF LIFE to the aircraft.

I apologize to all the attendants in sheer embarrassment, as I hobble past. I finally get on the plane, looking like I just had a shower, no towel. All eyes were on me. At this point, I am moving like a new born baby calf: my knees are about to give way, my hands are trembling, my mouth, throat and lips are Sahara Desert dry and passing out seems like the natural next step. ‘Thug Life’ took over and I made it to my seat. However, ‘Thug Life’ dissipated as soon as my rear cheeks and the seat met, and the coughing fit begun. I am now just shy of 1 hour into my flight and all the while I’ve been contemplating my entire life and calculating my errors to equal how the EF I got here.


Complacency is the death of efficiency, I tell ya!!! I remember my life pre-F.F. syndrome; I was punctual, prompt and perfect every step of the way. Now, I have suffered at the hands of a notoriously negative side effect of my condition, sitting at the very back of the plane, feeling every speed bump in the sky known to man. I’m sitting next to an older gentleman who possibly believes I have tuberculosis.

The moral of my experience is this: friends, don’t be like me. Don’t get weary in well doing! Stay humble! Fight the good fight of efficiency, no matter if flying is your most common mode of transport. Falling victim to this side effect isn’t worth it. My lungs can testify to this. Believe me. I’m currently patiently waiting for water, which will be what plantain is to rice and stew – #perfection. #Selah

Have you ever almost missed a flight due to ‘frequent flyer syndrome’? Share your story with me in the comments below, or email me for banter at: [email protected]



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