Next Stop: Airport thoughts and Conversations

Happy 4th of July to all my readers! And happy 238th America, thanks for providing a home where I can just sit in bed and blog freely. But all jokes aside, I could not be more grateful for this country, as an immigrant from an impoverished nation currently going through a civil uprising, (though I left over 10 years ago) I cannot put into words how thankful I am that God guided my family to come here, giving us an opportunity for a life that back home is something you dream of, and that here is just normal. So be thankful everyone!

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

– JFK

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On with the post! So taking a page from one of my best friend’s blog, Which you can visit here, I will do a more lighthearted funny post today, about all those things we think while we’re at the airport and those odd conversations we hear! Let’s start with the curbside drop-off, there are 2 kinds of people in the world;

Person A: I better hurry up and grab all my bags and say my goodbye’s so others don’t have to wait too long! But wait let me not drop my bags or be messy, I don’t wanna look like that new traveller who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Oh no people are honking, ok let me just grab my things and go, I don’t need a goodbye right? I’ll see them again soon. Ok let’s check-in.

Person B: Flying again… I gotta lug around my luggage, wait in lines, goodbye free world. Let’s get the bags down, I will take my time, I waited in that traffic so they can too. Oh look a text message, better check that real quick, it could be an emergency, ‘am I busy?’ nahh ‘no, why whats up?’ oops I forgot, let me bring my stuff down and say my goodbyes. All done let’s check-in.

Let’s be honest, we all like a little friendly competition, and my personal favorite venue is the self check-in desks. There’s no bigger thrill than knowing that you, yourself, know all your personal details and frequent flyer numbers better than the people around you know themselves. You wanna be the first one done, and rub it in everyone’s face by slowly walking over to drop off your luggage or head to security, they’ll remember you as they observe you taking your shoes off and removing all liquids from your carry on at the security line. At that moment they will think, if only I would of been faster, I would be taking my shoes off now. That’s when you know, you won the game of checking in. But then there’s those first timers, the ones using the check-in desk for the first time and asking a lot of questions, and you feel for them, because you too were there once, now a distant memory but you remember that at one point you had no idea where seat 27F was on a 737 either.

Check-in has some of the best conversations you’ll ever hear at the airport, stay close to the desk and listen, you’ll be amazed, here’s one I heard on my last trip:

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Passenger: So can I check my dog in as my one piece of luggage?

Agent: No mam, it has to fly as a pet in a separate area of the plane in a crate.

Passenger: So is that more money? Can’t you just like put him in the back of the plane, he won’t bark.

Agent: Sorry mam, we aren’t allowed to do that, he may only ride in the cabin if he’s a service dog.

Passenger: well he is, he serves me, can I just speak with a manager? You have no clue what you’re talking about!

As a retail employee, I can definitely understand the employee’s struggle, sometimes customers just are out of control, all the time. After a swift check-in we all head over to security, whether you like it or not well all gotta do it. Perhaps one of the most comical things I’ve heard from TSA agents came were: ‘Take everything you have to off, we don’t wanna touch as much as you want to be touched by us’ in Chicago, and ‘This isn’t America, keep your shoes on’ in Barcelona. Sometimes TSA agents are just so overjoyed to be doing their job, no? Security is a funny part of the travel experience in my opinion, I feel like we’re all nervous going through it, no matter how many times you’ve gone through it. I’ll give you guys my normal security thoughts:

Hmm I seem to be getting close to the desk, let me get my ID out, or is it too soon? Do I seem overexcited or ready too soon? Let me play it cool, just pretend you’re texting your friends over how annoyed I am that I’m flying again, although I’m overexcited to travel again. Ok my turn, well she seems excited to check my ID, uh oh she’s taking a good look at it, does it normally take this long? What if its a fake I never knew?! Can the DMV even issue a fake ID, what if I got that one badly printed one? I’ll miss my flight and get put in jail! Oh wait she’s done, thank you! Now to wait in line again, I wonder what these circles are on my boarding pass, they seem random. Is it too early to take my belt off? Maybe I’ll just untie my shoes, yeah, that’ll show I’m ready but not too ready, like I wanna get it over with as much as the next guy. Ok lets put everything in the bin, I should dress lighter next time, to make things faster, I hope everything’s out last thing I want is for them to find the weapon I’m not carrying or own on me. Ok my turn to go through the scanner, well no one’s ever seen me naked, but I guess a TSA agent is a good first? Ok time to go through the scanner, I hope they don’t see the bags of illegal substances I don’t use or carry on me on the scanner, this is nerve-wracking. Beep, OH NO THEY FOUND MY STASH OF NOTHING!! Sir check your pockets please, ha ha I emptied them out! Oops where did that penny I don’t remember carrying come from? Ok all clear lets put my stuff back on and head out to my gate.

I think my last trip to Chicago had the best conversation with a TSA agent I’ve heard in a while. It was between the agent a lady traveling to Los Angeles;

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Agent: Mam please remove your belt and place it in your bin please. (Points to her metal buckle while looking at the ladies who also had a metal buckle)

Passanger: No. (Smiles)

Agent: Please place it in the bin, It will slow down your process and cause you to get a pat down.

Passenger: Uhm, no. The pants will fall, and none of us wanna see that.

Agent: Step aside mam please.

Passenger: Why?! Cause I wouldn’t show you my underwear?!

People are odd, we all take our belts off even though our pants are too big! She was taken to be manually checked with a hand scanner and pat down. After security, there’s really not much excitement besides overpriced food and products, uncomfortable rows of seats, and loud travelers, if you have the privilege of having lounge access, you are in travel heaven. Some of the funniest conversations you can hear at an airport will be at the gate waiting area, it’s like a window into peoples lives. I’ve heard everything from;

‘Did you turn off the dryer?’ to ‘Wait until they find out that we’re gone!’

One of my favorite experiences was on my Chicago bound flight last April, I sat down with my friend in our row and there was one empty seat next to. Soon after us a lady, in her 30’s I’d say, sat down next to us, here’s how it played out:

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Me: Hi! I’m Ian and this is my friend M, nice to meet you! (Smiles)

Her: Hi, I’m Blah Blah, you too. (half smiles) I omitted her real name.

(She presses the attendant button)

Attendant: How can I help you?

Blah Blah: Yeah, can I change seats? That one’s empty. (Points)

Attendant: Sorry honey, our flight is sold out, but we can try later if someone didn’t show up.

Blah Blah: Thanks… (Sits back and pulls out her Kindle)

That was the last I heard from Blah Blah, my friend and I didn’t even get up to use the bathroom not to be rude to blah blah, since we were obviously a bother! Lets just say she’s now an inside joke with my group of friends about bad travel, when ever any of us fly we ask, did you get a Blah Blah?! Traveling can be fun, and interesting but it can also be a hassle! We’re not alone in the thoughts we have about flying! But next time you take off, listen and see that the best entertainment on the go is happening right around us! Thanks for reading guys! Keep checking out the blog and I’ll post again soon!

-Ian

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