The Joy of Travelling through Airports
Travelling through airports is, in a word, awesome! The first thing you need to know is when to arrive at the airport in order to catch your flight. Some airlines want you to arrive at the airport 1 hour early, which means to me, because I’m a weirdo (my wife tells me), 2 hours early. I have a phobia about missing my flight. What can I say? And something can go horribly wrong! You have to have a contingency plan! If you’re flying international, you need to be at the airport the day before your flight departs, so dress comfortably.
Travelling through airports will not consume your soul!
If you love long lines, then airports are the place for you. Better than Disneyland. Lines to check in. Lines to drop off your baggage. And then the dreaded security line. A good suggestion is to apply for the TSA PreCheck as it will speed up going through security.
However, the best line, by far, starts to develop just about boarding time. Saying this is an actual “line” may be somewhat of a stretch. It’s more like wandering masses of people milling about near the gate jostling for position. This occurs because everyone has different numbers and symbols on their boarding passes and just to complicate matters, there are no signs where to stand. The airline workers will sometimes tell you to stand back, but never how far back or exactly where may be a good place to stand…just… back. “Stand back until your boarding zone is called!”
Although this line moves painfully slow, just grin and bear it. You should not think you have time to wander off. For example, should your wife want to buy a sandwich AFTER boarding has started, you should try not to have a panic attack. The line is probably long enough that she will be back before the plane takes off. If you’re lucky, all passengers have not yet boarded while you waited for your lovely wife and you won’t have to check that carry-on bag.
Helpful hints on travelling through airports
Why would Miami International Airport call the building you’re standing in a “Terminal” and also call the gate area a “Terminal”? Very confusing. On my last flight from Miami, my gate was H5, which is located in Terminal H and also in Terminal S. What? How, on God’s green Earth is it possible for my gate to be in two completely different Terminals? Miami International Airport just wants to confuse the bejesus out of you and call everything a “Terminal”. By the way, Terminal S stands for Terminal South. Terminal H is IN Terminal South. I read that on a small sign somewhere in the Twilight Zone they call a Terminal in Miami.
Important note, you should always check the screens at the airport because the airlines like to mess with you and change your gate at the last possible second. That is especially fun if your new gate is in a different Terminal. Start running!
Laguardia Airport in New York is even better. Or it will be when they finish construction which has been going on since Wilbur Wright last visited New York. The runway is notoriously short and the planes have to take off very fast to get enough velocity to not fall into the Long Island Sound. My advice is to have your head firmly planted on the headrest to avoid whiplash. The views are amazing though, and try not to pass out from the dizziness you will undoubtedly experience. Landing is fun, especially in windy weather. On that last flight I took from Miami, the pilot landed so fast, my head spun around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. We whizzed by the Freedom Tower and made a sharp left hand turn 4 feet over the Sound at full speed and I am just thankful that plane had good brakes. I’m pretty sure that was the Freedom Tower…
I love Newark Airport, especially Terminal A (Newark Airport doesn’t mess with you and call every building at the airport, a “Terminal”.) Since you have to be at the airport several hours before the plane arrives, you might get hungry. Do not expect to get good food in Terminal A. There is a decent bar/restaurant but all the seats are already taken by people who have 3 hours to just hang out, waiting for their flights to board. So go over to the snack stand and get yourself a sandwich with the grey meat between two pieces of soggy white bread, just made yesterday. I am sure the meat was grey yesterday too so pile on some mayonnaise. You will need to grab a handful of those mayo packets as each packet contains just a pea sized amount. Mix in a mustard packet or two. Live a little.
Helpful hints on travelling through airports, seriously
There are only two things to know about Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). First, it’s so big, even the cab drivers get lost trying to find the correct Terminal to drop you off. And second, when you land, it will take you 4 hours to go the 10 miles to your destination, mostly completely stopped in LA traffic.
Let’s discuss Chicago O’Hare International Airport in depth. On second thought, let’s not. Don’t go there. It is the coldest place on in the globe. Also, your flight will be delayed because it snows 11 months out of the year. If you are connecting in Chicago, expect to spend the night.
Here are the helpful tips…really.
If you have a choice, try to fly through smaller airports. Everything will be better. Shorter lines and nicer airport workers. Try Long Beach Airport instead of LAX. Savannah International Airport (International? Really??) is actually great. Ask for Edwin, when you go through security. He is awesome. Jacksonville International Airport is also pretty easy to navigate and well organized. There’s a guy playing some blues right outside the security area. Give him a smile and a wave. Because it’s a nice thing to do and you’ll make his day.