20150316 I booked a flight with Etihad Airways. This is what happened next…

Little did I know, I was part of group delusion reinforced by the information we were being fed by the airline. We didn’t know it then but we were not going to make the connection.

On the way to the departure gate, you happen to check a departure board and see that your flight is shown as leaving from a different gate.

So you ask an airport employee which to go to: it’s the one on the board and it’s in a different terminal, he says.

You turn around, race up an escalator and are met at the top by someone who says “Transit passengers go to the desk.”

So you join a queue at a transit desk. After a short time which feels like a long time because you know time is pressing, someone at the desk shouts out “anyone with a boarding pass please go to the gate.”

Not bothering to ask why those with boarding passes had been told to go to the transit desk, you rush to the gate. You get to security, toss your bag onto the roller, take off your watch and belt, dash to the gate, hand over your boarding pass and start to re-assemble your dress, checking your watch and noting that, despite all the trouble, you are still at the gate 15 minutes before departure.

Then there’s a beep from the scanner. The clerk puts it through again. It beeps again. “Your boarding pass has been cancelled,” she says. Nothing else, no hint as to why, no suggestion as to what to do. The plane is there, 10 metres away, the airbridge is in place, the door is open.

This is where the airline’s culture starts to make itself even more obvious. From this point on, so far as the airline appears to think, I’m nothing more than a nuisance.

So far as she is concerned, her machine has beeped and I’ve been told I’m being denied boarding. I explain that I’m in transit, that I’ve just got off one plane and I’ve a booking on the one right in front of me. She shrugs and tells me to go to a transit desk. I argue, tell her to find a manager. It seems silly to give up the territory I’ve gained rushing around and the plane is there, feet away, with the door open.

No one comes. Several men in grey suits wander around looking anywhere but at me. She makes a phone call. She tells me to go to the transit desk. I consider making a break for it down the airbridge, I’ve got a piece of paper in my hand that says “boarding pass” and it has the correct date, flight number and everything. It just failed an electronic beep test and the crew don’t have the tech to replicate that. Perhaps the crew will take pity on me. Then I think.. one of the grey-suited men has moved to stand in front of the door to the airbridge. And I absolutely do not want to get arrested for causing trouble on an airliner.