I was in Chennai for a system roll-out on Thursday and Friday along with RK. The system roll-out went well and everything was going smoothly until our time for departure from Chennai. Our flight to Mumbai was at 19:55pm and hence the cab was arranged for 17:30pm. We managed to finish our work by that time and the only thing left was taking out cash from the ATM. There are 3 ATM’s outside the office all in the proximity of 5 mins. We went to the first ATM and were informed that it was not functioning, so we went to the 2nd one and it turns out the same was also out-of-order. Finally we turned to the 3rd ATM and found ourselves waiting for 10 mins before we could finally withdraw cash. It was already around 18:00 pm when we finally started for the airport. We felt that we were running late since it took approx. 1 hr to get to Chennai airport and counters closed 45 mins before flight departure.
RK wanted to go AAVIN and get some milk products before leaving for Mumbai. We were in two minds: to go or not to go. We looked at the watch and decided let’s go for it. We still had 2 hours for the actual flight departure and decided to take our chance. So we went in the opp. direction to the airport and drive for about 10 mins until we reached the shop only to find out that they were out of stock. We gave up and decided it is best to head straight for the airport. Chennai traffic can get really bad especially with the Metro rail work going on in some parts of the city. There were a lot of intersections where we were just crawling through the traffic. At first, I was very hopeful that we will reach within time. However as time went on, my hopefulness was turning into despair. One eye was constantly on the watch observing the time very closely, counting every minute. Finally at around 19:15 we reached the airport. RK had already signed the receipt for the car driver and a few precious seconds were saved.
As soon as we got down from our cab, we started running towards the terminal. As anyone who is aware with the Chennai airport, there are two departure gates and terminal entry is right in between the two gates. So we saw were the Spice jet counters were and started running towards that direction. We entered the terminal, and headed straight for the counter. We were probably amongst the last few people to check-in. While the airline person was preparing the boarding pass, he informed me that the boarding for the flight had already started. This was probably the only time when I have been so late without actually missing the flight. After collecting our boarding passes we were extremely relieved as there was no way we were going to miss the flight.
Security checking at the Chennai airport is a very cumbersome process. The CISF personnel, who are in charge of airport security, are extremely slow. There was a very long line for security checking. While waiting for our turn to come, we heard the final boarding call for our flight to Mumbai. I nearly panicked, I was like when will this line move forward. Finally, I put my luggage in the scanning machine and went through the security check. Before that, I could see RK arguing with the security personnel and I was like “Oh no.. something has happened”. I went through the security check and found RK standing near departure gate. I asked him what had happened, and why he was arguing with the security personnel. It turns out, his baggage tag fell down somewhere in scanning machine and he was explaining to the security personnel that there was no way he was going back to get the tag and go through the security procedure again. Well the security personnel heard him out, took another tag, stamped it and asked him to proceed further. In the meanwhile our bus, which took us to the plane, arrived. We looked at each other and had a hearty laugh about the whole thing.