“Goddamnit,” Ali said, biting her lip as she looked at the screen above the counter at her gate.
There was no departure time listed. Nor was there any indication of a delay. She looked out at the bridge that connected the terminal to the plane, but there was none attached. And there was no one at the counter. She wandered back to look a the departures screen down the corridor to confirm that she was at the correct gate.
There it was: Vancouver to Winnipeg, Gate A31. The screen said the departure was on-time, though no actual time was listed, which Ali thought odd.
She went back to the gate, hoping to find an agent, but there was still no one at the counter. There was a man standing there, staring ahead and Ali approached him. “Sorry,” she said, “are you on the flight to Winnipeg.”
He nodded. “Yeah. They say it’s here, but there’s no plane. And there’s no one here.”
“There hasn’t been anyone at the counter, then?”
He shook his head. “No. Computers aren’t even turned on.” He gestured to the monitors on the counter, which Ali saw were black.
“This is so weird.”
“So strange,” he said. “There’s a lot of people here though. Can’t all be wrong, right?”
“I guess,” Ali said. She wasn’t so sure. These were airlines after all. They would cancel a flight without telling anyone. Or move it to another terminal and sell all the seats to people on standby, not bothering to refund all those who were stuck here unawares.
She told herself to be patient, there was plenty of time until her flight, and went to find a seat in the waiting area. It was difficult, with dozens and dozens of frustrated looking people sitting and staring at the empty counter. Ali found it comforting in some strange way. They could all be miserable together.
As time went on the waiting area filled up. Nearly every seat was filled and the open area around the gate counter was nearly impassable, with hordes of people staring at phones or the tarmac where a plane had yet to appear. Anyone who looked vaguely official was immediately confronted by ten or more people demanding answers. None were forthcoming. Ali could hear at least five different conversations with various agents, trying to placate the irate people who were waiting for a flight that had not materialized.
At a certain point, it dawned on her that there were far more people gathered here than could possibly fit on the plane. She could see others reaching the same awareness. Something was very odd about all this. How could so many people end up at this airport gate, awaiting a flight that no one at the airline seemed to know anything about, except that it was supposed to be taking off?
Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.
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