Flight Left, Drive Right: A Race Against Time


I woke up on Friday morning in the wee hours to get ready for my trip to the ancient city of Benin. I was to deliver a parcel to a firm before the close of business. Delivering a parcel should be less than 5 minutes so a 7:30am flight was booked to the Capital of Edo state. Another was booked to bring me back by 5:00pm same day.

The rising sun was still far away when I walked through the departures entrance of the Murtala Mohammed Domestic Airport. It was 6:15am and I went through the protocols of checking in. I met some friends and colleagues heading to Port Harcourt but I was a lone ranger to Benin.

Departure for Arik Air Flight W3 743 to Benin has been postponed by 30 minutes due to bad weather. Arik Air regrets the inconveniences the change may have caused. Please bear with us

My ear pricked as I heard “Benin” in the announcement. I quickly picked up my parcel and headed for an attendant. I enquired and was told that the flight had been postponed by 30 minutes.

30 minutes? That is ok” I thought, “after all I am only delivering a parcel which won’t take the whole day” I took a sit beside a damsel close to the exit door so as to be amongst the first to get into the shuttle bus from the waiting room to flight. I was thinking in the Molue way as a Lagosian, where you need to be amongst the first to get in to get a better sit. I wanted to get in early so as to secure my parcel in a good place.

arik

I looked at my LED Watch that my cousin bought for me, the time was 8:10am. Nigeria!! For a 7:30am flight? I shrugged as I started to watch a movie on my phone. I had downloaded Accepted recently because it is one of my best movies of all time. You need to get it. With my ear phone plugged to my ears, I gazed at the movie lapping with smiles some scenes in the movie that were exceptional.

Departure for Arik Air Flight W3 743 to Benin has been postponed by 30 minutes due to bad weather. Arik Air regrets the inconveniences the change may have caused. Please bear with us

Again?!! I unplugged my earphones from my ear to hear murmurs around the hall. “Are you also going to Benin?” I asked the damsel sitting next to me. She nodded in affirmation and we started exchanging pleasantries. She told me how her first and only trip to Benin by road was. She complained of headache and body ache. I smiled and told her that people even travel farther to the east and south-south. She had vowed not to travel by road to Benin again.

Passengers for Arik Air Flight W3 743 to Benin should start boarding now

Benin-bound passengers sprang to their feet after so many delays and headed to the exit door for final confirmation and entrance to the shuttle bus to the plane.

Sorry, there is still bad weather in Benin. Have your seats

With immense unhappiness, I took my seat looking at my wrist watch and wondering when the flight would take off. It was 10:00am and I was still in Lagos when I should have delivered the parcel and have a personnel excursion in Benin. I was beginning to be worried. The parcel must get to Benin before 4:30pm and I must be in Lagos same day for some personnel business. This was a race against time.

Departure for Arik Air Flight W3 743 to Benin has been postponed till 15:30 hours due to bad weather. Arik Air regrets the inconveniences the change may have caused. Please bear with us. The flight has been postponed to 3:30pm

The sound of the last announcement was like a dagger to my chest. 3:30pm? Would I get to Benin before 4:30pm? Even if I do, can I navigate to the address before 4:30? Can I be able to come back same day by the 5:00pm flight? How sure are we that the 3:30pm flight would fly by 3:30pm with all this changes in time and seemingly bad weather in Benin.

This was becoming too much for my RAM and I had to make some vital calls. This was a race against time and the submission of that parcel was paramount. A group of people depended on my delivery of the parcel and we had to take another means: road.

With an exorbitant fee to be paid and a goal to get to Benin before the close of business, I set out in a cream coloured Toyota Camry. The traffic lights and jams in Ikeja hindered our sweet passage to the outskirts of Lagos.

We met traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway before we diverted to the Sagamu-Ore-Benin road. We met various traffic but we maneuvered and came out unscathed. In as much as we were in a hurry, the speedometer of the Camry never read above 80kmph. I wanted to see 100kmph or even 110kmph but kept that want to myself, preferring a safe trip to Benin to an early trip to Hades.

In the Camry: Benin-Ore Expressway

In the Camry: Benin-Ore Expressway

At intervals of 30minutes, I received calls from my colleagues confirming my exact location on the express road. The hope was dwindling as the 4:00pm approached. I was yet in Benin, just on the outskirts of Ondo approaching Edo state.

Calls were made at frantic speed but that couldn’t make the Camry go at lightning speed to bypass the numerous vehicles on the road. I made calls to the damsel I met at the airport and the unavailability of her phone gave me the impression that she might have boarded the 3:30pm flight. I was beginning to wonder if it wasn’t better that I waited for the 3:30pm flight.

4:30pm. Close of Business. I was stuck in traffic approaching Ring Road which is about 1km away. I was told the office I was to get to was close to ring road. My worries increased knowing full well the countenance would be down if the parcel wasn’t delivered.

4:40pm. We have navigated the Ring Road and was on the road on which the office is located. We enquired from passer-bys and we needed to move on and down the road. Behold a grid-lock traffic.

I took the parcel from the car, told the driver to locate the office and pack anywhere. I ran consistently looking at my watch as if the time would rewind for my sake, our sake. I ran through the traffic dodging bicycles and pedestrians. I walked briskly through the security post without any inquiry into a building.

Where is the legal office?” I asked. “By this time?” came the reply. “Check the next building. Upstairs”. The time was 4:48pm.

Out and away, I vamoosed to the appointed building and was fortunate to meet the lady in charge as she was about leaving the building. I begged and begged explaining the flight troubles and stressing where I was coming from. She had sympathy on me and directed to the office where the parcel was received. 5:00pm Received.

Deadline day delivery? Not the best. Now I began to question: why deliver a parcel on a deadline day? Why not a day before or weeks before? I could only start this type of reason because I have delivered the parcel.

We make plans daily to achieve different goals. Too many times we assume the world would be perfect just for us. We think the system is 100% efficient. Even in seemingly efficient societies, the act of God as it is termed in Law can usurp plans. We need to make various plans for a project: plan A, B, C and Z. Do a full feasibility study of every project and be ready for changes.

Recently in LA, over 400 flights were cancelled due to a mere shooting. In Nigeria, flight delay and cancellation have been for many reasons which include weather and security. One of such reasons for flight delay is “High Dignitaries boarding”. Imagine delaying a flight that would convey over 150 people because of 10 so called High Dignitaries. Story for another day.

I tuned the television late that evening to see stories of the LA shootings and the corresponding flight delays. In my tiredness I called the damsel to see if she had arrived Benin.

I am in Lagos oh. The flight didn’t go. I am just tired. This Arik People eh. I wish I had gone with you

She went on to explain to me how it panned out in Lagos. The 3:30pm flight had been postponed again to 5:00pm which was boarded by 5:30pm. They left Lagos and on getting to Benin, the pilot complained of bad weather and poor visibility. Thus, they took a U-turn and headed back to Lagos. There was chaos in Murtala Mohammed Airport. So many people had their money refunded. The air was full of abuses and disappointment.

I looked up to the heavens through the white painted ceilings of my room and said “Thank You Lord”. I broke my unprepared fast. I had not taken anything since the sun rose that morning except a bunch of banana. Fried Rice and Chicken was dissected at an alarming rate. I fed my eyes with Transit, a movie on Mnet before saying “Thank You” again.

I closed my eyes in thanksgiving to the Creator. What the Flight couldn’t do, the car did. We had no accident nor any security or police issues. In all give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

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4 thoughts on “Flight Left, Drive Right: A Race Against Time

  1. Pingback: No Aviation Fuel, No Arik Flight | Amoscp's Blog

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