Home » randomness » The Forty Minute Rule. (Take note.)

The Forty Minute Rule. (Take note.)

“No. Absolutely not.”

“But, honey, listen. You could…”

“I said no. There is no way.”

We were standing at the check-in counter for American Airlines, and although nobody would say it out loud, we all knew this was totally my fault.

(Actually, Griffin did say it. “Moooommm! This is all your fault!” Yeah, I know. Thanks.)

Although I share a teensy, tinesy part of the blame with Michael. He told me we needed to wake up at 6 a.m. in order to make our 8:40 a.m. flight. I simply assumed that meant leaving by 7. So I straightened up the house, threw some last-minute items in the suitcases, made sure my hair was well-coiffed and then actually put on makeup, and I was in the car at 7:00. Right on time.

(Oh, assumptions. They’ll bite your backside every time. Or do that other clever acronym-y thing that I am – HA! – too polite to put into words. But I assume that you know what happens “when you assume…”)

The rest of my family had been sitting in the car for 15 minutes by the time I got in. Michael had intended for us to leave by 6:30.

He failed to share that little detail with me.

(And he assumed I could be out of bed and in the car in thirty minutes. Really? Really?)

So by the time we drove to the airport in rush hour traffic (hmmm…forgot about that part), parked the car in the remote parking lot, took the shuttle (which only runs every 15 minutes and had to stop at another terminal before getting to ours), and got to the check-in desk, it was 8:05.

No problem, I thought. The rule for checking luggage is 30 minutes prior, right?


Wrong. Ooooohhhh so wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

It’s 40 minutes.

Which was explained to us by the nice lady at the AA check-in counter. She also explained the post-terrorism rule that says you cannot board one flight and send your luggage on another flight.

(I get it. I just don’t like it. Stupid rule.)

So that put us in quite a pickle. We could fly stand-by on the next flight, which would leave in a mere 6 hours and is, by the way, already sold out. As is the next one that leaves that evening.

So Michael suggested that I take two of our three kids, fly to Virginia, get the rental car, find Costco and buy all of our groceries for the week, then drive another hour to this brand-new-to-me remote part of the peninsula to where our home-away-from-home is located. By myself. With two kids. Then I could drive back to the airport later to pick up Michael and Nathan and all of our luggage. Whenever they managed to get there.

Like I said. Not just no, but…

(You can fill in the blanks.)

But the likelihood of getting five stand-by seats isn’t nearly as good as getting two, and all the luggage had to go with Gold Status Michael so we didn’t have to pay the completely ludicrous $25 a bag fee…so we finally compromised and I agreed to take two kids and wait 6 hours at the Norfolk airport for him and our son and our luggage.

Yay, vacation.

By this time, it was 8:25. Yep. Fifteen minutes until our flight would leave. And we’re still standing at the ticket counter. So Meghan, Griffin and I haul buns to the security line.

Which happens to be about 3 miles long.

Thankfully a security line attendant person (I’m sure that’s her official title) saw our boarding passes and motioned us over to the First Class line, which was only a mile and a half long. I’m still not sure if the boarding passes indicated Michael’s Gold Status or if she saw that our flight was leaving in 15 minutes – but whatever. I’m certainly not questioning anything at this point.

We made it to the gate and boarded the plane by the skin of our teeth. Miraculously there was enough overhead storage space for all of our carryon bags, and the only thing left to do was break up the brewing argument over who will claim the window seat. Seriously.

Then I hear behind me, “Hey, good lookin!”

(I’m going to pause here and let you use your imagination. There are so many possibilities. So many ways to run with this. Ready…go.)




Your story is probably so much more interesting than my reality…but I can’t think of a time in recent history that I have been happier to see my husband.

Yep. He and Nathan got on the plane.

(Without our luggage.)

We’re still not sure how or why, but the nice lady at the ticket counter whispered to him that she’s not supposed to tell him this, but run! Go to the gate! Get on the plane! I’ll send your luggage on the next flight!

I suppose she realized that a family of five carrying a hot pink polka dotted rolling bag and two booster seats and golf clubs and two backpacks full of stuffed animals and blankies are not likely terrorists.

Protocol says passengers and luggage must be on the same flight. Grace says go ahead, we understand your predicament.

Michael and Nathan had run to the gate, and Michael breathlessly started to explain the situation to the guy collecting boarding passes – but the guy stopped him, asked his name, then told Michael that he noticed that 3/5 of the party had already boarded, so he assumed (there’s that word again!) that the remaining 2/5 would be coming…so he didn’t give away their seats.

Finally, an assumption that didn’t bite us in the bo-honk-us.

So the short version of the rest of the story of our very long day is that we flew to Virginia, rented the car, found Costco, bought enough food for a small army (and not having our luggage turned out to be very fortuitous. There’s no way all that food and all our luggage and all our kids would have fit together inside a minivan), drove an hour to the condo, unloaded, then Michael drove an hour back to the airport, picked up our suitcases, and drove another hour back to the condo just in time for spaghetti.

And that, my friends, is why you never assume.


5 thoughts on “The Forty Minute Rule. (Take note.)

  1. Here's the part I'm left wondering: why, at 6:45, didn't Michael come in the house and yell for you to get your toosh in the car? 🙂 It's definitely his fault.

  2. In my defense, I made a general statement when all the family was in the living room/hallway that we had to get up early and leave at 6:30 (all the kids knew). So maybe I didn't speak loudly enough in Jennifer's direction. Secondly, at 6:45 I thought she would be out to the car at any minute so I didn't yell. Thirdly, I didn't know the 40 minute rule and thought we would still get there in time. Finally, and Jennifer can back me up on this, it would have been very counterproductive for the mood of our entire family if I had yelled at Jennifer before 7AM-not so much a morning person is she!Loving hubby of Jennifer

  3. I'm afraid it's true…even talking to me (much less yelling) that early in the morning is never a good idea!Lisa, I did a couple of Precept studies a few years ago, and while I love the depth and difficulty of the studies, I find Kay Arthur (on her accompanying videos) unbearably judgmental and black-and-white. There's no room with her for those painful shades of gray (see my post a few days ago on this topic). So that's why I'm not a big Kay fan. I don't think she'd be a big fan of mine, either. 🙂

  4. I completely understand why Michael didn't yell…he's a very smart man! 🙂 So glad you didn't have our problem on your way to the airport. We had a flat tire. I told Derek that if his gig as a lawyer doesn't work out, he can get a job on a nascar pit crew…he changed the tire in 15 minutes!

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