In anticipation of our flight, Alice had almost no sleep that night. The flight was scheduled for six in the morning, which meant she had to be at the airport at four.
Stumbling her way through the check-in line, and the hundreds of people there that morning, she made it to the immigration line, it was at that moment that anxiety began to kick in, and she began seeing black spots. Her breathing was heavier, she was getting pale green and her lips turned purple. She was passing out.
I called the security officer and asked her for water for Alice. She moved us to the side of the line and called for assistance. A second officer approached us with a bottle of water and offered to call a doctor.
Alice sat on the floor with her legs up on her carry-on suitcase as she practiced controlled breathing, color was coming back to her face and lips.
The second officer was checking up on us every other minute, and when Alice got back up on her feet, he told us to move to the front of the line, stopping a pilot and flight crew to let us through.
On the other side of the immigration section, Alice felt safer and a little embarrassed. -Why of all the people at the airport that morning, was she who had to suffer a panic attack?- She could reflect on that on the plane, now it was time to grab something to eat.
The food court was as crowded as the immigration section, people were talking and yelling all around. this was not helping the situation but at least she was not hungry anymore, and she felt better.
When we boarded the plane Alice fell asleep. That was too many emotions for one morning, and she slept all through the flight to Los Angeles.
That wasn’t so bad- she thought. -I can handle the next flight…
We had a one-hour layover, which was barely enough time to get to our next flight, and little did we know what was about to happen.
Arrivals at LAX Airport that day were awful and the immigration line was just as bad as it had been that morning. To make things more interesting, there were only five officers on duty.
Thirty minutes went by in a blink and we weren’t nearly close to the head of the line. To make matters worse, we had to go to baggage claim, pick up our suitcase, and check it again for our next flight.
-This is the last boarding call for flight 4049 to Las Vegas.- The voice on the loudspeaker announced.
With a minute left, we made it to baggage claim and checked our suitcase. Dashing through the customs maze, we put our backpacks on the x-ray belt -oh shit, I didn’t empty my water bottle- Alice thought out loud.
The officer in charge took his time picking up the backpack and placing it on the secondary x-ray machine. Forty-five seconds left till they closed the plane’s door.
-If you want to keep your bottle, go back out and dispose of the water- said the officer with the patience of a snail.
–Just throw it away, I’m gonna miss my flight- she said as we ran to our gate holding her shoes in one hand and her backpack in the other.
But it was no good, we were thirty seconds too late, and the door had been closed.