Missed flight, June 2022

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I can’t explain what happened to me in this case.

I’d told a new French friend what my schedule was, and in conversations close to my departure, he kept referring to my leaving Monday … and I would repeat, impatiently, “Mardi! Je pars mardi!,” sure that Tuesday was my day to leave … why, how, when I got confused, I cannot figure out. Obviously, this fellow’s memory is far superior to mine. So, I kept insisting my departure was Tuesday … and then, Monday morning, sleeping late as usual, the first thing I knew was a text from my AirBnB host asking when I would be out of the apartment.

Completely freaked out.

Went online and found, sure enough, I was scheduled to fly out of Montpellier that afternoon.

Narbonne and Montpellier are not THAT close. The intended departure would involve getting to the Narbonne train station, going to Montpellier St. Roch, making my way to the station southeast of town where there’s a shuttle bus to the airport.

You don’t do all that in a half an hour. Nor in two and a half hours. Or, barely.

i was not packed. My laundry was hanging around drying.

In my panicked state, I did my best to think. COULD I get out of the apartment in time to make the flight? I hadn’t added a suitcase to my booking. Tried to do that. Too late. High extra charge. COULD I even get to the airport in time? Checked trains. Frequent enough between Narbonne and Montpellier but have to get to another station to get the airport shuttle. No way. Called taxis: how much to go from Narbonne directly to Montpellier airport? Hundred euros minimum. And taxis wouldn’t get to the apartment where I was staying, in a district of small streets, not pedestrian streets but not really open, either, so I would have to get to a plaza …

I realized that there was too great a chance that, having paid a taxi to get me to the airport, any traffic jam or problem along the way would all too easily mean I’d miss the flight anyway. And Norwegian’s next flight to my destination (Copenhagen) wasn’t till Friday. I’m not aware of any interesting lodging options around the station with the airport shuttle, so I’d have another transfer to make. Making my flight seemed to have poor odds.

So then? OK, cancel the flight. Try for some credit. Mostly, try to get out of the apartment, fast. Then? I like Narbonne but it is NOT an easy airport transfer, so why risk again. If I had to wait till Friday, and could not stay on where I was, seemed to me the best move would be to go on into Montpellier so at least on Friday the airport journey would be easier.

The one blessing so far this day was my AirBnB host. He didn’t freak out at all. I had called him so we could speak directly. I was shaking and utterly distraught; he was calm and kind. He had someone arriving that day, yet didn’t get anxious about it. He was understanding and reassuring. What a prince!

And so, I got out of the apartment as fast as I could, and texted the owner that I was out. I forgot to get a few small kitchen items from upstairs; not the end of the world. I wheeled my suitcases to a plaza where the free shuttle stops. Took the navette and was going to change to the navette to the station, but the driver insisted that wouldn’t be worth the wait, it was such a short walk. Yes, sure; he didn’t have two suitcases and a backpack. I was exhausted by the time I got to the station, but since time was no longer important, I stopped and had a coffee on the way. While sitting with coffee, I booked an apartment in Montpellier for Monday through Thursday nights. Or so I believed ….

Read about what happened upon arrival in Montpellier!

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