The Inexcusable Bumble: The Late Check-In

When you fly, there’s not only getting on the plane, there’s getting to the airport. Often, a friend or family drives you there, and there’s always the question, “When do we need to leave?”

Let’s see, “When’s your flight?” And, then you factor in the suggested allotted time necessary to stand in the check-in line if you don’t have your boarding pass, the security check line, maybe a tram/train line, and finally, the get-on-your-plane line.

Even if you don’t quite get to the airport at the time suggested, everything is cool if you make your flight. You may have a panic attack, but long as you make it, it’s as good as being there on time, right?

Unless…unless, the airline attendant slaps the yellow sticker on your luggage that says, “Late Check-In.”

Late Check-In

This is what happened to my sister when she went to the airport on her way to visit me.

When my sister plugged in her confirmation number into the computer, a siren blasted announcing to everyone, “Late Check-In. This luggage may not arrive with flight.”

What? Huh?!

“Is it going to make it?” my sister asked, in a state of shock.

“We’ll see,” said the airline attendant smugly. Then, rubbing it in a tad more, “Check-in is an hour before your flight.”

This is the official, “YOU ARE LATE.” Everyone knows it, too, because you got the yellow tag and your luggage might not even make it. The folks you’re visiting, or whatever the may case be,  they’ll know it, too. They’ll see the big yellow, “Late Check-In” tag on your bag.

If this isn’t bad enough, no one at the airport really cares why you’re late. This is the inexcusable bumble. You could have been behind a twenty-car pile up or maybe you hit your snooze button one too many times. It doesn’t really matter. You’re late, you bumble. You could have had a flat tire. You loser. You could have been held at gun point. You’re late, you slacker.

The airline attendant put the sticker on my sister’s luggage without any hesitation. It was a big bag, so a carry-on was out of the question. If a carry-on was possible, you would contemplate whether you could live without your toothpaste, mouthwash, perfume, contact solution, moisturizer, shampoo, and anything else that violates the three-ounce liquid rule.

The ultimate test is the security check line. If you’re running late, it’s the longest you’ve ever seen it, moving at a snail’s pace. In my sister’s case the line was longer than she had hoped with a man trying to push his way through. The  guy behind my sister let the desperate man in front of him.

Now, he turns to my sister, “Can you help me out? I’m gonna miss my flight.”

My sister, still thinking about her late luggage asks, “When’s your flight?”


“Mine, too,” she says. “We’re in the same boat.”

The guy behind them pipes up, “What time is it? I’m on that flight.”

And then a chorus of, “We’re late!”

Now they must wait to be late.

I am happy to report my sister made her flight, along with her luggage. Of course, her flight was delayed and arrived late.

6 thoughts on “The Inexcusable Bumble: The Late Check-In

  1. Isn’t that so true? And why is that EVERY time you are at the airport on time, your flight is delayed.. One more quick observation..coming from the person picking you up at the airport (Believe me, I have been on BOTH sides, and neither is good) Why can’t they make a specific place where you can park and wait for the person you are picking up? Its not MY fault that baggage claim is backed up or whatever..why do I have to drive around in circles for an hour, knowing that my person is 10 feet away waiting for her luggage. Can’t we employ these cops to actually catch criminals??


    1. Thanks for reading, Emily! Yes, I think we must always be prepared for a fair amount unpredictability at the airport. Chaos even! It’s always a little painful. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Wow, I’ve never heard of Late Check-in stickers. It does seem more of a punishment for being late, like they’re given last priority or something. That’s the sort of thing that makes people hate flying.


    1. Hi, David! Yes, I agree it seems like a punishment and then you’re filled with anxiety your whole flight on whether or not that piece of luggage is going to make it! It seems like it wouldn’t take but a few minutes to put the luggage on the plane. It reminds me of the late slip you get in school, even if you’re only 30 seconds late. With the late slip, it’s official. It’s in the records. : )


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