Written from London Heathrow, Terminal 5.
The warmer months are quickly approaching, as is your summer vacation. However, the two weeks of tropical cocktails and days of perpetual beach time are unfortunately book-ended by flights — and of course, airports.
I actually love airports. I love the feeling of excitement that undoubtedly engulfs you as you embark on your next adventure. I love duty-free shopping. I love staring out the windows at all of the planes, all headed in different directions, carrying a multitude of people on them.
However, despite my mainly positive view of airports, there are a few factors that REALLY frustrate me:
You’re standing in a crazy-long check-in line. It’s warm, there are people on either side of you, and you’re getting more agitated by the second.
Before you left, you made a quasi-effort to look glam (or airport chic, at least), but your confidence is quickly diminishing the longer you wait in line.
You tote your old, beat-up suitcase; it’s the sign of a well-traveled life, with its scratched-up, scraped-on appearance. The zipper doesn’t quite close and the handle is halfway ripped off. While this doesn’t really bother you – after all, it does its job perfectly fine – you stare over your line companions.
Other passengers look as though they’ve just stepped off glossy magazine pages. Their hair looks freshly blown dry, they are probably wearing beige (potentially with a scarf casually thrown around their neck – yours is screwed up somewhere in your bag from after you got too warm to wear it), and they have an abundance of matching Louis Vuitton cases in various sizes strewn about their person. Ugh.
Following a metal-laden passenger through security
When you do eventually make it past the check-in desk, your next stop is security. As you move through the line, you read all signs that instruct you to remove your laptop from your bag and take off your jacket.
Unfortunately, the person in front of you doesn’t feel the need to read the signs and educate him or herself. He or she strolls through security, still bundled up in a raincoat and boots and leaves all electronics stowed away. Ugh.
Being the metal-laden passenger attempting to get through security
…Then it’s your turn. In your hurry to get ready for the journey, you hadn’t fully considered how long it would take you to basically undress and then re-dress in the middle of an airport terminal, resulting in you juggling your laptop, watch and jacket until you reach the front of the queue.
Guiltily, you fling all of your jewelry into a plastic box as quickly as possible, not wanting to frustrate your fellow passengers before proceeding to enter the metal detector, which undoubtedly starts to beep.
Feeling like a terrorist, you bashfully backtrack to get reassessed by a security guard who informs you of metal-toed shoes. The whole ordeal is akin to a workout, leaves you sweaty and only wearing half of your original outfit.
Once you’ve finally managed to get redressed, following your tumultuous journey through security, you manage to quickly scout out which shops and restaurants you want to check out before you have to dash to your gate.
You’re on a slight time limit, yet still want to make the most of duty-free shopping. Clutching your bag tightly to your side in an attempt to become as aerodynamic as possible, you lurch forward toward your first destination.
However, as opposed to swiftly parting to allow you to gracefully pass, your fellow passengers are aimlessly (and very slowly) walking in all directions in nothing resembling a straight line.
The experience leaves you zigzagging your way to the Chloe concession only to find that your dream handbag is still super expensive, even without tax.
By now, you are quite happily meandering through the terminal, your head filled with all the things you do when you finally reach your destination.
However, the airport speaker system announces final boarding calls to Cabo or Miami or another exciting-sounding destination, interrupts your daydream.
Why aren’t you going there, too? You fleetingly consider just getting on that plane instead (surely, no one would notice, right?).
Your time at the airport has been somewhat irksome and a glass of Pinot Grigio sounds like a wonderful idea. Is this really sensible, though?
It’s not quite midday, yet (although it’s surely 5 pm somewhere on the departures board), you still have to locate and navigate your way to the gate, and you don’t want to develop a hangover halfway through the flight whilst crammed in between two other passengers… Ugh.
Still, you make a good choice and head to the bar.
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