April 21, 2022

Man arrives 13 hours early for flight powered by steak bakes and motivational books


Manchester International Airport: scene of an unusual book binge (lucidtech, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

How early do you normally arrive for a flight? I give it a couple of hours myself—or at least enough time to buy some outlandishly-sized triangular Swiss chocolate and a refreshing pint of pre-plane lager. At 7 a.m.

Whatever your airport routine, you’d have to go some to beat Tim Samunyai of Coventry, UK, a father of two who turned up a full 13 hours early for his flight from Manchester International Airport to Zimbabwe.

As reported this week in the Manchester Evening News and elsewhere, Samunyai, 56, said “I was thinking if I come here nice and early then I won’t have to deal with all that madness over there.” He certainly managed that, arriving at 5:40 a.m. for his 6:55 p.m. flight.

News outlets in the UK have this week been rolling out their now-traditional EASTER TRAVEL CHAOS headlines, with the atmosphere turning even more febrile as Brits, newly unshackled from covid-related travel restrictions, and desperate to depart this grey island* for a few days, flock in their millions to transport hubs.

Hoewever, Samunyai admitted that his chosen destination may not be number one on holidaymakers’ lists. Speaking with MEN, he said

“My problem was not realising that, its a panic if you’re going to Corfu, Greece or Tenerife because everybody wants to go there, and it’s half term… But if you’re going Africa, then there’s no issue.”

His tips for getting through the long wait? “I’ve got my motivational books to read and a tablet too”, and said he was choosing to treat his Terminalstyle adventure as a “spiritual timeout” (as well as listing “steak bakes and sausage rolls” as a more earthbound form of sustenance).

I wonder what was on his reading pile? A certain Beckett play, perhaps? Or even our very own The Queue? Whatever the answer, Tim’s spectacular forward planning – with added mindful benefits – is something we can all aspire to.



*although, as is also now traditional, the actually weather looks glorious this weekend. Lol!


Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.