Which plane is correct plane to board
- In late 70s, we had social chaos in Ankara. I was in the 3rd year of
mechanical engineering undergraduate program in Middle East Technical
I decided to go to United Kingdom that summer for my compulsory
summer training. My family supported me with their limited resources.
We purchased round trip to Paris by AirFrance. I got my passport and
went to UK, Wolverhampton in Midlands. I had a very useful summer
training program in an U.K. company, learnt a lot. I also had very
pleasant memories with British girls, all with mini or even micro
skirts first in the history. All helpful to teach English to a poor
eastern young student.
It was time to return home. My charter flight from Gatwick Airport in
London brought me to LaBougeot airport in Paris. The next AirFrance
flight was from Orly airport a few hours later. Orly situated on the
other side of Paris. Charles DeGaule was in construction. I took
shuttle bus and had almost 1 hours to go to Orly.
Anyhow we arrived on time. I had enough time for check-in,
fortunately no luggage to deliver, boarding pass, all done. I passed
customs, passport control. I assumed to have some time to spend in
Duty-free. Year 1970s, all duty free items were special for me.
While I was spending some time in duty-free, I heard someone trying
to pronounce my name on the loudspeaker,
"Mr. Haluk Direskenelli, please proceed to gate number etc. urgently,
this is last call for you".
They all prefer to pronounce my surname with double "L" which gives
me a special Italian charisma, I don't know why.
I rushed to the declared gate, handed my boarding pass. He allowed me
to pass the gate. I was at outdoors, to the airplane. But that gate
was for 2 different flights. Two different planes were waiting for
the last passengers to board. Both ready and waiting. Which one to
There was a French mechanic in between, I asked him "Istanbul?" he
either did not understand, or ignorant, he could not answer.
I decided to board the plane on left, looking for someone to verify.
I climbed the stairs, no one available to ask. Then a young beautiful
French hostess shouted in French "Where are you, we are waiting for
you? Get your seat immediately. Fasten your seat belt? We are to
leave as soon as possible, " sort of wording in French which I feel
Immediately after, they closed the doors, we took off. But I had no
idea where we were going. Right flight? I was getting scared to ask
After 10 minutes, we reached an appropriate altitude, seat belt off-
sign. They started liquor service.
And I asked to that beautiful French hostess,
"Is this plane to Istanbul?" - response "Yes,"
"How about other plane?" - she replied "to Buones Aires, Argentina".
After 32 years, I could not go to Paris a second time and never step
on Buones Aires.
I still wonder what would happen if I had chosen the other plane.
I could go to Buones Aires, decide to stay, go to a university, get
married, get rich, get influential, I don't know.
You never know which plane is correct plane to board.