Waiting For A Plane XII – What Time Is It?

I have rarely been more confused‎. I spent almost half a day uncertain what time it was. The Internet let me down, which just goes to show you can’t always ‎trust what you see online.

As the plane taxied to the gat‎e upon our arrival at Istanbul’s Ataturk ‎Airport the pilot made the routine announcement. You know the one: “Welcome to Istanbul, the temperature is 15 degrees Celsius the time is 2:20 p.m., enjoy your stay.” Like everyone else on my flight I re-set my watch.


Inside the terminal I did the first thing everyone does in such a situation. Okay, the second thing – but bathroom breaks really don’t count. I looked at the departures list on the big screen to see what gate the next flight would leave from. It was too soon, the gate hadn’t been assigned. I did notice however that the flight time had been changed, that apparently we were leaving an hour later. 

That didn’t impress me, given how much I love airports. I was a little confused though that the time shown on the screen didn’t match what I had set my watch at. Even more confusing was the display at the departure gate that we were sitting at while waiting for our flight to be posted. Two times were dispayed for each flight, an hour difference between them. The first thought was that one was the boarding time, but both were listed as departure.‎

Being confused, I turned to everyone’s favourite search engine, Google, to find out what the time was in Istanbul. My phone had already told me the Turkish Airlines pilot had given the correct time, that the airport signs were wrong.

Google agreed with my phone. I felt so confused, a feeling probably exacerbated by jet lag. By then it was 4 p.m., but most of the displays read 5 p.m., including the ones at the Turkish Airlines counter. I wondered if we had become unstuck in time, if Ataturk Airport had suddenly been given a time zone of its own. 

In hindsight it is easy to see that I could have solved my problems by asking someone. “If you don’t know, just ask” seems like such simple advice.  I can only presume that my sleep-deprived brain wasn’t functioning properly. And probably if I had used Google to search the news instead of a standard Web search I might have quickly found my answer. ‎

Turns out there was a simple explanation. I discovered it when I picked up an English language newspaper published in Turkey. Most of the world switched from Daylight Saving to Standard Time on November first; Turkey however had postponed the time change because November 1 was election day. Their switch was November 8, which would be while we were airborne. ‎

My first thought was that an election was a pretty feeble reason to delay the time change, that the extra hour of daylight the polls would be open wasn’t enough to make a difference with the vote. Then it clicked. People would be confused as to the polling station hours on the day of the time change. ‎

To me that also seems a pretty poor reason to delay the change. I would think most voters could figure it out. But I suppose it is better to antcipate such things. Some signs might have been nice though to explain the situation. I hate feeling confused. Even more than I hate feeling jet lagged. ‎


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