Most people who have traveled by plane have made a mad dash through the airport at some point or another. You know what I’m talking about, right?
I’m not referring to that brisk stride when you feel as if you should be walking more quickly than usual, but aren’t fully committed to a jog.
I’m talking white-knuckle grip on all your belongings, desperately hitching up your pants as your feet fly across those moving walkway things, mowing over any patron who dares to stand in your way, laughing maniacally as you race toward your gate, letting out a fierce battle cry when you successfully board the plane just as the jet bridge pulls away.
Oh, what’s that? I’m the only one who has done this?
Well, I guess the best I can do, then, is try to keep my recent hysterical airport experience from becoming the norm.
Although I found the whole ordeal to be fairly amusing, there are probably some minor changes I could make that would help me avoid the lateness situation altogether.
You know, like, leaving on time and stuff.
But let’s be real. Observe.
Last weekend I flew to Denver out of Chicago’s Midway, an airport I’ve used only once before. I usually fly out of O’Hare, which is a zillion times closer to my school.
En route to Midway, I realized I had entirely underestimated the time it takes a commuter train, at rush hour, to complete its circuit and approach the south side/Midway. (It takes an hour and a half, not 45 minutes, for those of you who are wondering.)
The extra travel time I had not built into my schedule was further expanded by another minor oversight on my part: airports have rush hours, too! I realize that’s probably one of those “things” that people can simply assume, but for whatever reason, the thought didn’t register with me.
Needless to say, I found myself in the middle of an enormous, impatient mass of travelers waiting to go through security, all of us smushed together and stuck in an immovable cluster of complaining.
Probably nobody actually enjoys waiting in lines, but a stagnant line with no end in sight is perfect fodder for rude people to get just plain nasty.
After I had been in line for 40 minutes—and hadn’t even reached the little stand where a worker checks your boarding pass and ID—a voice over speakers announced that my flight had begun boarding.
Internal battle: Do I, in a never-before-seen fit of passivity, remain in the unmoving line and surely miss my flight, or do I beg the dozens of potentially impatient/rude/mean people to let me cut in line?
My inner monologue was interrupted by some girl cutting me in line. Apparently, she was “leaving for Houston basically like right now.” Houston Girl inspired me. I, too, decided to become a line cutter.
I know, I know.
I felt like one of those people at concerts who shows up late on purpose (to avoid sitting through a painfully terrible opening act), but then thinks she can shove her way right up to the front of the stage to watch the headliners.
No way, girl! We’ve been here for six hours! We earned this spot! But I digress.
After I managed to embrace my inner rebel, who acted against the cardinal rules of elementary school (no line-cutting, no complaining), I found myself zooming through security. Coat-off-boots-off-belt-off-sweater-off-laptop-out-liquids-out…shuffle/sprint through the scanner….
BEEPBEEPBEEP. I don’t have time for this!
Oh, my phone is in my pocket….
After my second scanner attempt, the mad dash continues. In a hurricane of limb-flinging and hopping around on one foot, I’ve managed to put my boots on and throw my coat over my shoulders. I gather my enormous collection of “airplane necessities” and I begin the aforementioned brisk stride.
I didn’t want to sprint. I always smirk at those people who sprint through airports and silently judge them, thinking to myself, “Wow, check out that moron who left like five minutes to get to his gate. What a loser.”
Well, as soon as I heard the second intercom voice, I became that loser.
“Passenger Miss Abigail Humber, please come to Gate B16. Your flight has finished boarding. Abigail Humber, to Gate B16.”
I immediately switched into survival-of-the-fittest mode. I took a tighter grip on my bags/sweaters/belts/whatever, dedicated one hand to keeping my pants on, and took off. This was my shot to relive my glory days from HHS track.
I hurdled the short travelers, dove between the legs of taller ones, dodged around everyone who fell somewhere in-between. I actually flapped my arms at one point and levitated a few feet off the ground. Flying is cool.
As one could imagine, the entire time I was screaming, “Out of my way, you imbeciles! Don’t you know who I am!?”
After successfully capturing the attention of the entire airport, I finished my frazzled scamper with a double front flip—just a simple flourish I like to throw out there every now and then.
So, to all the naysayers, you actually can get from North Park to Midway Airport’s gate B16 in two hours and 14 minutes.
You will probably be dripping with sweat, entirely out of breath, totally discombobulated, and really, really embarrassed, but you will not miss your flight.