Lessons From the Airport

 I just returned from what has become my tri-annual trip to Swan Lake. With hours of delay, I had plenty of time to enjoy the airport experience. One would think after all these years of traveling I’d have the whole process down pat. I wear shoes that slide off, have my quart-size plastic bag with liquids (no more than 4 ounces!) easily accessible, have nothing in my pockets, my ticket in one hand and my I.D in the other. And yet, each visit to the airport is educational. Here are five lessons I learned during my airport time on this trip.

1. The special alerts you receive on your phone are not necessarily reflected on the Departure Boards. After receiving two such alerts indicating my plane was going to be an hour and a half late departing, I left the house thirty minutes later than I had originally planned. Which still would get me there plenty early. So imagine my horror when I casually stroll in the airport and note on the Departure Board that my flight has a proud “ON TIME” next to the original departure time. Which was only six minutes away. I learned a couple more lessons before I picked up on the one about the board not reflecting the most current flight info.

2. If you only have underwire left on one side of your bra, you become a suspect. Two strips of metal under your breasts and you have good support. Apparently just one metal strip leads to the assumption you may have a concealed weapon in addition to being lopsided.

3. Freaking out and demanding that the security agent “Feel me faster” actually speeds up the process. I don’t think that is the usual response they get. Whether I had taken the fun out of the event or the agent was responding sympathetically I don’t know. What I do know is she abruptly stopped the search and told me to “just go.” Please keep in mind that I was quite sure my plane was already rolling down the runway – I think they can sense sincerity.

4. Your slip-off shoes should also be running shoes. Because if you are late, your plane will be at the terminal farthest away. Guaranteed. This is also true if you only think you are late. During my long, less-than-gazelle-like run, I had visions of running out to the runway screaming for the plane to stop. Imagine my surprise when my winded self arrived at a full terminal of lounging passengers. Fortunately I didn’t have enough breath in me to utter the words that first popped into my head when it was confirmed that the flight was indeed going to be delayed two more hours.

5. Bonding with fellow passengers is not always a two-way event. There was a lovely family of four seated directly across from me in the waiting area. The little boy was loaded with questions and each received a patient, informative response from his father. I got to know a lot about them in a half hour. In our kill-some-time wanderings, I passed the toddler and his dad twice in airport shops. When I encountered them a third time at a snack counter, I gave the dad a big smile and said hello. What I got back was a blank face as he scooted his child a little faster than necessary in the opposite direction. OK – so maybe it wasn’t so much a shared experience as it was eavesdropping. Lesson learned.

What’s YOUR most memorable airport lesson?

 

25 comments

  1. I usually always get singled out and checked intensely by airport security. It appears that pointy objects (a paddle) from South American jungles look suspicious 🙂 I have a knack for it. It keeps me very legal and above board. Happy travels and I did laugh about the underwire… so better and newer bras should be considered when travelling. Cheryl

    1. I may have to break down and actually buy a new bra for my next trip to move things along a bit – it shall be called “The Travel Bra” and kept in the suitcase until needed so it never wears out!!South American jungles, aye? I suspect Swan Lake might be a bit calm for your taste, Cheryl!

  2. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. I’ve yet to figure out why I always set off the security scanners, no matter where I am.
    My lesson learned was not to ask the person seated next to you how they’re doing. Unless of course, you’d rather hear them chatter non-stop for five hours instead of reading the book you’ve been dying to read.

    1. Sitting next to a chatterbox while trapped on a plane is definitely a way to make a long trip even longer!! I’ve been thinking about wearing earbuds (with no music attached) for just such an occasion, Jill – they pair nicely with a smiling nod! Hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!

    1. MAG-B!!! It’s not a wonder you can picture things so well – change the mode of transportation and you’ve had first-hand experience with such travels (can you say “Stratford”??)! All things considered, the folks are doing well. Sure do miss you!

  3. I had metal beads on a shirt once and they kept feeling me up, always asking permission…like I might have some objection. Of course I did, but the alternative was going off in a room with some female and undressing. Never again.

  4. I was at the Key West airport getting ready for a reluctant flight home (snow in Oklahoma), when I got pulled out of line for a personal inspection. Seems I forgot to take the hotel shuttle wrist bands out of my pocket. My advice, always double check your pockets or you’ll get to personally meet the airport employees.

  5. You’re supposed to LEARN from these encounters? Oh Lor’ that’s where I’ve gone wrong all these years! I’ll try to remember the underwire tip though 😀 That ripped a giggle out first thing in the morning, nearly snorted the coffee!!

    1. Not a bad result, Sunni! You probably got food, too! The airline I flew on last week charged $2 for a soft drink!! Although I won’t complain further – I feel fortunate that I can get over to see my folks in a matter of hours versus the the two days it would take with other transportation.

    1. I’m definitely buying new bras before the next trip. Well, at least one to travel in. I know all the benefits to having a well-fitting bra, but it still pains me to pay the price of blazer for it! Hope you’re enjoying the holiday weekend, Debby!

    1. I like the T-shirt idea, Jenny – airports should be required to hand ’em out as you board your plane. Maybe something that says: “I was pawed by security, hoofed to to the furthest terminal, paid $72 for a bottle of water and am still fit to fly!”

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