Running for the plane in Sicily!

A story of anxiety, hilarity, and near heartbreak.

Sometimes even the most seasoned traveler – the traveler who has been in too many airports to count, has flown in more airplanes than you could imagine, and could probably go through a security check line in their sleep – sometimes even that traveler can fuck it up.

On this particular morning in Sicily, we woke up with the sunrise; it was lovely. We prepared ourselves for our travel day. We would leave Letojanni, take the train to Taormina, transfer trains and head to Catania. At Catania central station, we would take the bus to the airport and get on our flight at 1:10pm. Big day! We packed up and left our beautiful Airbnb. I did my checks of the rooms, and we hadn’t left anything inside. I was messaging our host to thank him as we walked out of the apartment, and as soon as I closed the door, I realized my jacket was inside. No!!! We had just locked the keys inside, so there was no way to get it. We looked under the welcome mat, in the BBQ, and under every plant for a spare key, but to no avail. I messaged our host, and we agreed he would just send the jacket in the mail.

Defeated, we walked quickly down to the train station, only to discover, of course, that we had missed our train. Damn! The next train to take us to Taormina was in an hour, so we decided to bus there instead of waiting. I stepped off the bus at the Taormina bus station at 10:15pm, and asked the info lady how to get to the airport. She informed me we could take the bus that would arrive at the airport at 12:10pm. Our flight was at 1:10pm. It would be tight, but it was better than a €90 cab ride, right?

On the bus, driving. We drove until 12:10pm, and the bus stopped. At Catania central station (not the airport, as promised). I really started to sweat. My stomach did a backflip. The next 15 minutes was the longest 15 minutes ever. Our bus arrived to the airport at 12:29pm.

We found the check-in desk and stood in a short line that was taking WAY too long. I interrupted the four, middle-aged Italian people in front of me and asked if I could go in front of them. They looked at me and in very broken English asked, “Where are you from?” I responded, “Canada…?” The man looked shocked, “Oh no… you can’t get there,” he said and pointed at the check in gate, “wrong place.” Bless him. I don’t need to fly to Canada from here! I smiled and just walked in front of them to the desk. I pointed to my phone and showed the lady the time of our flight. Her eyes nearly fell out of her head when she saw that boarding for our flight began two minutes ago. She worked quickly and checked my bag lightning fast. We ran to security and navigated through the ridiculous, snaking line up to the security gate.

Michael and I are both the traveler who has been in too many airports to count, has flown in more airplanes than you could imagine, and could probably go through a security check line in their sleep, so we breezed through security. Belts off, change out of pockets, boots off, computers out. We went so fast, you could see the wind flutter in the hair of the security officers. We went so fast, time seemed to stop. We went so fast, we ran right past our gate. Right past gate 10, where they were calling our names over the intercom.

We figured it out after we ran down two flights of stairs and were told by some airport workers to go back upstairs. We arrived at gate 10, sweaty, breathless, and hopeful. The woman smiled and picked up the phone and made a call. The other lady took our passports and told us to breathe. We made it!

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