I’ve been late on my flights so many times that I’ve practically perfected the art of begging and groveling just to get on a plane. The trip to Batanes last Thursday was no exception. My flight was at 5:45am; I got to the airport at around 4:20. Still plenty of time, no problem. When I was about to check in, a sign on the counter said “No credit card, no check-in.” I was screwed.
I left my wallet and credit card at home thinking I won’t be using them in Batanes anyway. I just brought cash and my ATM card. Besides, Cebu Pacific no longer requires a credit card upon checking in so I thought all the other airlines have already figured out a way to conduct secure online payments. Apparently not. SEAIR, the only airline that flies to Batanes, still wants solid proof that I didn’t steal someone else’s credit card information in order to book my flight.
The check-in counter closes at five. I only had about 30 minutes to go from Pasay to Quezon City and back. Unless I had an F1 car and EDSA was completely deserted, it was impossible. But that didn’t stop me from trying anyway. I hailed a cab and told the driver to make it happen. He gamely answered, “I will try.” I loved that he shared my delusional optimism.
To make things worse, it was raining and the road was so slippery that we almost hit a concrete barrier. Good thing the driver was able to avoid it at the last second. He was so shaken with our near-death experience though that he was screaming “Putang ina muntik na tayo dun! [Son of a bitch that was close!]” over and over until I told him to calm down and pointed out that we were still very much alive.
I spent the rest of the drive staring at the digital clock on the dashboard while he was most likely contemplating how fragile life can be. Since the taxi was definitely not F1 material and EDSA is never empty, I did not make it back to the airport by five. I still have to give credit to the driver though for trying his very best, busted nerves and all.
Anyway, I missed my flight but the airline staff was able to squeeze me in on the next one, after much desperate pleading. Shortly after boarding, we were asked to get off the plane because there was apparently something wrong with the propeller and weird-smelling smoke was seeping inside the cabin. I’ve heard stories about small planes, most of them not so good, so this incident wasn’t a great confidence-building factor. But I’ve already had my near-death scare for the day on that crazy cab ride anyway so what’s another one.
After about an hour of delay, we finally left for Batanes. The flight was surprisingly smooth and uneventful although I did manage to scare my seatmate with a somewhat inappropriate joke. He was on my seat so I said maybe we should be on our designated seat numbers so the search team would have an easier time finding and identifying our remains in the event of a crash. It was his first time to ride a tiny plane and my sick humor probably didn’t help calm his nerves. Too bad for him, sick humor is how I cope with life-threatening crap.