Boarding process

When we were assigned to Côte d’Ivoire in the early 1980s, I used to occasionally fly with the national airline. The prices were reasonable and they covered much of the country and neighboring countries. One morning I checked in as usual. There were a row of Air Ivoire planes outside the terminal waiting to go to various destinations. Our flight was called. We were to walk to our plane. A staff member showed us which one.

Air Ivoire did not assigned seats. So there was always a bit of polite jostling to get a seat. When we were all seated, a flight attendant came on board to make announcements. But the announcement was different. We were told that we had boarded the wrong aircraft. So the polite jostling resumed as we retrieved our carry-on luggage, got off the plane and walked to the correct plane. We were pretty much on our own until the same attendant returned to inform us that she was so sorry. She had made a mistake. We had boarded the right plane the first time!

One wise passenger broke through the generalized chaos that ensued to ask the attendant if she could tell us on which airplane our luggage had been loaded.

We dutifully jostled our way back to the first plane, listened to some groveling by the same attendant, took off and reached our destination with our luggage and without further incidents.