“YES we made it” I shrieked as we ran towards the crew who were still gathering tickets and letting the last passengers head down the steps towards the plane. I was sweaty, out of breath and felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest with the panic of potentially missing my flight.
But how had I got here? I’m the girl who likes to be early for everything, especially flights. I even become irrationally flustered if I know I’m going to end up 5 minutes late for a lunch date with a friend.
We’d left our cosy apartment in the 1st arrondissement of Paris in plenty of time and went to get the train to Charles de Gaulle. Our journey from Châtelet Les Halles to the airport should have taken no more than 30 minutes and we’d given ourselves at least 50 for the journey with plenty to traverse through the airport too.
We waited on the platform for the train which was due to arrive in 3 minutes. 10 minutes later it still hadn’t arrived and the board hadn’t refreshed. Eventually that train disappeared from the board and it said another would be arriving in 2 minutes. Perfect.
That train never came. By this time I was getting a little nervous but 30 minutes later a train eventually showed up and we prepared to try and get on it. Because the trains hadn’t been arriving there were waaaaay too many people on the platform and there was no way we’d all fit. There was no way we weren’t getting on that train so we forced our way on with our luggage just as the doors were closing.
I checked my watch and was relieved to see we would still have plenty time to make it through the airport and catch our flight so I started to relax.
I hadn’t realised the train planned to stop during the journey for no apparent reason, start again and then terminate at a random station. Some friendly French people seeing our luggage and gathering that we were bound for the airport told us we’d have to get off here with everyone else, change platforms and hope another train showed up. Great.
There was a lack of signage at this station and all the announcements were in French and my high school French was a little rusty to say the least. I had no idea what was going on.
We followed the other people who had luggage, deducing that they would be heading to the airport too, and found what we assumed was the correct platform.
We waited. And waited. And waited some more.
By this time my dad was looking at his watch and shaking his head at me. We’re not going to make it.
Suddenly I heard a train rumbling towards us and again we forced our way on board when the doors opened on the already full carriage.
The 15 minute ride from there was the longest 15 minutes ever. As we approached the station my dad and I looked at each other and nodded. Run for it.
Bolting out of the station (I say bolting, it was probably more like a quick jog but I felt fast!) mumbling excuse me and pardonne moi as I bundled past people. Get out of my way!
There were other people running too, all bound for our flight, all in the same predicament. We tried to keep each other going, come on we can make it!
We all rushed through security and the staff were urging us on, telling us to hurry. I was certain we wouldn’t make it as they seemed skeptical at best.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is HUGE and of course our gate was literally the furthest away one.
But make it we did. We were sweaty, tired and just wanted to get on the plane and get home. I’ve never been more relieved.
Have you ever almost missed a flight? Tell me your story in the comments below!