On December 22, 2018 I was supposed to be stepping off an airplane in Accra, Ghana. Instead, I was on the brink of tears at the Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport. I’d missed my flight! I was sitting in front of my gate waiting patiently for the next hour to pass until my flight boarded. Randomly, a man sat next to me asking if I’d also missed my flight. I was like, “of course not, I still have an hour”. Slowly I realized something was wrong. That something was the clocks in Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport and the nonexistent announcement from the airline about boarding. I promise if it was my fault I would take accountability for it. This time, the twenty other people that also missed their flights were evidence that mistakes were made, and not by me. I was stuck in Morocco!
After a few hours of panic and watching people yell at airline staff who weren’t doing anything to help I was able to get someone’s attention. A staff member let me know that my American passport meant I could leave the airport and get free accommodation through the airline. We will save the passport privilege conversation for another day but this mistake turned into a happy accident.
The next morning I woke up in a pretty nice hotel room in the middle of Casablanca. I’d overslept the free breakfast but I was able to meet up with one of the people I’d shared a cab with the previous night. He’d also missed his flight and would be on the same flight as I was later that day. We met each other in the lobby of the hotel and we decided to walk through the streets of Casablanca until it was time to head to the airport. It turned out to be one of the best afternoons I’d have on this trip. Even though I can’t remember his name I’m so glad we met. Having a man to accompany me eased a lot of my anxiety around not knowing what was culturally appropriate.
I hope to never miss a flight again but if I do I hope it goes something like this.