We all know that person. This is the friend (or partner) who you've decided to go overseas with, who, for no explicable reason, likes to arrive at the airport as late as possible.
Perhaps it's similar to the thrill of seeing how long you can drive with the petrol light on, or maybe it's a subconsciously arrogant piece of bravado. As in, "look at me, I'm such an experienced traveller I know exactly how late I can leave checking in!"
I've always had a rip-roaring time with friends on holiday, but one buddy had such an insistence on tardy airport arrivals that I felt I'd aged a decade and developed a hernia before we'd even taken off. I remember the plan well: meet at their house, they would've pre-booked the shuttle and we'd make it to the airport with plenty of time to kick back or shop. Only when I turned up at their house it soon became apparent no such arrangements had been made.
"Don't worry, we're only flying to Australia, you can arrive an hour before take-off, no issues at all," they told me. I then pretended to have a relaxing time chatting and sipping on tea at a house in the suburbs when we could've had a genuinely relaxing time chatting and sipping on tea at the airport.
Our taxi finally arrived and, again, I was too anxious to make small talk. "What are you so stressed about? We'll be fine!" Then came a brag about how we weren't even running that late. Finally we reached the airport and after successfully checking in an hour and 10 minutes before take-off, I was chastised for being such a worrier.
But here's the point: was their house (or my house or really even anyone's house) more interesting than Auckland International Airport? It's a very pleasant airport! Maybe if it was 1971 it could've been a possibility, but even then I'm sure there was a rough and ready charm to the place and more than a few things to look at. Besides, if doing an impersonation of a laid-back traveller is the aim, I find I'm a whole lot more convincing with a boarding pass in hand.
Boarding time v departure time fiascos
The ol' boarding time versus departure time fiasco eh? Catching up with friends for dinner the other night, we got to swapping travel-gone-wrong yarns I might be able to use for this very column. Turns out my friends had just returned from Hawaii, the key word being "just".
Safely checked in for their return flight to New Zealand, they decided to go for a wander to get some food. Looking at their tickets, an incredibly easy, all-too common error was made: they saw their departure time and mistook it for the boarding time.
"Gosh darn it, we've got heaps of time! Let's get a full-blown sit-down meal at the other end of the terminal!" they thought and possibly said. So that's what they did. Strolling back, they realised the PA announcements they'd been ignoring had been for them.
Back at the departure lounge, everyone had already boarded. Getting a telling off from staff in the process of shutting the doors, they ran down the jet-bridge in a mad panic and on to the plane. With dirty looks from an entire aircraft of seated passengers, they took their seats, trying to avoid any eye contact.
Which was their second mistake. Own it! If this ever happens to you, walk on that plane and greet your grumpy fellow passengers with a buoyant "G'day!" Maybe even attempt a high five or a wink combined with a point of the finger and a clicking noise from your mouth. Do it.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and writes theRoxboroghReport.com.