My first ever trip away for business was to Taipei in Taiwan around 2001. My then boss Jim, said the most important thing about the trip was not to get an order; not to build relations with our agent there; not to come back with loads of up to date market information but to not miss the plane home! I've never forgotten this excellent advice and have repeated the tale to folk all over the world many times over the subsequent years
I was in our Bangkok factory on Friday afternoon around 4pm and something made me get my flight schedule out of my bag. I'm not sure what made me do this but it was a good thing I did. I'd got it into my head that my flight was around 11pm and I was going to have several hours hanging around at the airport. I'd even decided where I was going for tea (the Mango Tree). This all changed when I realised I'd got the Bangkok to Singapore leg mixed up with long Singapore to Manchester leg. I was flying from Bangkok at 6-30pm!
Our Thai boss Patrick ran with me to his car and drove brilliantly for the next 50minutes or so. The start of the journey was on minor roads but they were thankfully quiet for a Friday afternoon. The last last 30minutes were on the highway and with the exception of a 10minute queue for a toll gate we again made good time. I must have been one of the last to check in around 75minutes before take-off but I'd made it. I hope Patrick didn't mind the big hug I gave him just after I received my boarding pass
I was at at the back of the plane and had been given an aisle seat for the long leg but the flight was fine. Between watching three films: Se7en (saw it at the cinema when it came out; even darker than I remembered), Top Gun (hilarious, but the flying scenes always bring out the little boy in me) and the Damned United (seen it several times, Clough is God where I was born, nothing to add) I managed a few hours sleep and was soon back in Manchester
The drive home went really well and I manged to stay awake last night until gone 10pm in spite of a large plate of pie and chips and three pints of Mary Jane in the Swan in the evening. This morning I was wide awake at 4am after waking up first at 2am wondering where the hell I was was and how had Stef got out to Asia to meet me