As I traveled to Alaska for our second US Ski Team camp of the summer, I spent quite a bit of my time in airplanes and hanging out in airports. It occurred to me that I might write a letter to tell the airport exactly how I feel about it. If you have nothing better to do today, you may want to sit down and read that letter. Enjoy!
Dear Airports of the world,
I spend a lot of my life with you. Not on purpose, I suppose, but it just turns out that I travel a lot for my job and so in order to get to my true love – skiing – I spend a lot of time in your company. Most of the time itâ€™s not a bad thing. I mean, youâ€™re pretty amazing! You help me travel all over the world and see some incredible places and new people. Youâ€™re slowly teaching me patience, which is very very good for me. And whether or not I like it youâ€™re also teaching me that sometimes there’s NOT A DARN THING I CAN DO TO CONTROL THE SITUATION. Myself and all the mortals without status or lounge passes will just need to find a way to entertain ourselves when flights get delayed, cancelled, or, you know…we just miss them.
I never people watch enough. Itâ€™s a fun hobby, like knitting or fishing or putting Mentos in Coke bottles. And you provide me with endless people watching experiences. There are the funny little kids all excited to watch the planes take off, the people running to flights, the babies crying (always, always right in the seat behind me. Why, I ask? Why?) and the people wearing the most amazingly unsuitable travel clothing. I mean, why would you wear stilettos onto the plane? In the event of a water landing, youâ€™re going to pop a hole in the life raft with those spikes on your feet. Justâ€¦donâ€™t, ok?
A perfectly timed layover is the holy grail of travel days. When I get off the plane, refill my water bottle and waltz right onto the next flight with no wasted time, Iâ€™m thinking life is pretty amazing and maybe the universe is working according to my timetable. This has happened maybe a handful of times, and each was as precious and well-recieved as a bar of chocolate after a 3 hour ski.
On the other hand, a long layover can start off fairly innocentâ€¦like a bad relationship. Youâ€™re excited. Youâ€™re going somewhere! Thereâ€™s so many fun things to do along the way! But then you realize youâ€™re stuck. Also, you want to take a shower to clean the germs off you. You just want out of there, but you canâ€™t get out fast enough. Finally, you leave the airport and youâ€™re a wiser, better person for it – with improved patience, self-awareness and a sharper sense of sarcastic wit.
Just kidding. Not every layover experience is a bad one! But you airports with all the entertaining things to do really have your act together, and I appreciate it.
The art on the walls!
The museum exhibits!
The live music performances!
And when all else failsâ€¦the free internet!
Chicago, your 30 minutes of free wifi are great. Bless your heart. However, Zurichâ€™s got you by 90 minutes, and most airports have unlimited free access to calm our netflix and Facebook withdrawals. But youâ€™ve got that psychedelic light tunnel going for you, so Iâ€™ll do a few hot laps around that thing once my internet runs out.
Minneapolis, youâ€™ve probably got the nicest people, except possibly for Calgary where official airport greeters are stationed around the airport wearing cowboy hats. I think their actual job is to make passenger’s day better. Could anything be better than that? Nope, I thought not.
Amsterdam, youâ€™re a funny one. Your loudspeakers are constantly saying in a computer generated voice: â€œMr. Smith, you are delaying the flight. Please proceed to gate E17 or we will offload your luggageâ€. And almost without fail, within the next 2 minutes myself and every other person on the moving walkway is lunging to the side as a very sweaty and stressed out Mr. Smith comes sprinting along, suitcase flying behind him.
And when I finally arrive and my bag is the first one onto the baggage carousel? Oh wow, what a feeling! I canâ€™t wait to experience it someday, when you decide to unload the ski bags first. But I imagine itâ€™s a real fist-pumping-oh-yeah-I-win kind of moment.
So, airports, in conclusionâ€¦thank you for getting me to where I am going. Thank you for teaching me to sit tight and roll with the punches. And please upgrade me to first class someday soon so we can be besties.