Missing Gate 16

While resting my eyes finally on the flight from JFK to Moscow, the flight monitor on the screen in front of me says we’ll be arriving in Moscow at 9:05an due to our late start from New York. My heart instantly sinks while I am holding my connecting flight ticket which says it boards at 9:00am.

For those of you who have never ventured through the rabbit hole of Sheremetyevo (name of Moscow’s airport), it was a task that I was DREADING to run through.

The plane lands at 9:02am. While it is making its way to the arrival gate I am already standing, bags in hand, and walking towards the exit door. There were over 40 people that I saw who had connecting flights as well and had the same thought and I did. While waiting to get out of the plane I met two very nice girls who spoke English, so when the doors opened we all ran together knowing we were going to the same terminal.

After I get out of the plane I run to the passport check point. They check my visa and then in I book it down a flight of stairs, around a corner, through a long white hall where domestic airlines appears. I see the two girls who I met earlier and we all run through the domestic terminal, take an elevator ( which we pushed our way on) to level three and ran to the security check point.

I lose the girls there when my bag was stopped and searched through. I forgot I had put my filled 32oz water bottle in my bag. I let the security woman know it was ‘vada’ and she hand motions me to drink the whole bottle before I go on any further. I was so thirsty from running with weight on my back I was more than happy to accommodate her direction.

I finally get to the domestic departure gates and sprint as fast as I can to gate 16. Never liked the number 16…

I spit out the word ‘Тюмень!?’ And the women at the desk both look at me with disbelief. One woman punched number in her computer while shaking her head. It’s 9:35am. My flight to Tyumen departs at 9:40am.

With as much neediness and desperation in my eyes I watch her speak Russian to a man on the other end of the walkie talkie. She looks up and says ‘Okay’.

Okay!? Yes thank you Jesus! I knew I love the number 16. She finishes the boarding pass protocol and then rushes me down a flight of stairs outside where we flag down transportation to take me to the plane. I am out of breath, but stick to her like glue. She puts me in a Aeroflot facility van and motions me to put my cardigan on. After all that she worries about the wind on my shoulders…

The car takes me to the plane where two men are waiting for me to board.

I make my flight!! It is 9:45am.

A man stands up and helps me place my bag up into the luggage compartments overhead. I thank him. A lady is still in my seat. At this point I would sit in the plane’s bathroom. As long as I’m on the plane I’d sit anywhere. She was not about to get up at move, but I motion to her she didn’t have to. She gave me nod and a smirk. I didn’t care.

Sitting now, eyes are becoming droopy again but I’m trying not to fall asleep. I want to beat jet lag as soon as humanly possible.

So now I sit and relax. The rabbit hole was conquered. Almost there. Almost to Tyumen.

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