I love traveling. I especially love traveling when everything aligns just right. No delays getting to the airport, a short and speedy security line, succinct boarding, pulling out from the gate and up in the air in a timely fashion.
Obviously there’s many a time when the plane pulls out from the gate and you are to sit and wait as you are number 20 in line for take off. Classic case of hurry up and wait.
I also love racing against time at an airport. I am realistic enough to know the plane won’t wait for me but I know I’ll make it because I don’t cut it THAT close. I leave enough time to get to the airport, get through a normal line at check-in, grab a magazine and a snack and then board. This ‘habit’ of mine makes the boyfriend crazy so I can only cut it ‘this close’ when I travel alone.
Three times I may have cut it a little too close for comfort, even by my standards, come to mind:
1 – Denver (DEN) to JFK via Atlanta (ATL); and then rerouted from ATL to Newark (EWR) – At check-in.
With a friend, taking the red-eye home after vacationing in Colorado. The agent who had to manually check us in informed us that had we arrived a minute later, the system would have automatically blocked us out, rendering us unable to get our boarding passes, and ultimately, our flight, home. It was never-ending fun, especially when we arrived in Atlanta in the wee hours of the morning only to find out our JFK flight was cancelled. We rerouted ourselves to Newark. Our luggage (yes, I checked luggage back then!) took a few extra days to make it home.
2 – LaGuardia (LGA) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – In the security line. Alone.
Once I got on the security line, I heard an announcement that my flight was boarding. I found someone who worked there and let her know that my flight was boarding. She escorted me to the front of the security line. A few days later I received a letter from the airline telling me that in the future, I should allow for additional time at the airport.
3 – Newark (EWR) to Burbank (BUR)- In the ridiculously long security line (yes, only one line), for a ridiculously early flight. Alone – but a colleague who was on the plane texted me for updates on my place in the security line, wondering if she needed to ask them to hold the flight for me.
My experience at LGA was not duplicated at EWR. I waited with everyone else (except their flights were later than mine). Once past security, I raced through the terminal to my gate. I was forced to check my bag (GRR) because the gate agents said that overhead bins were full (they weren’t). To date, this flight is the only one where I was the last passenger to board. The plus was that almost as soon as I buckled my seat belt, we pulled out from the gate.
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