Why “arrive 1 hour before departure” is not just a suggestion

My husband had a business trip last week and encountered a few mishaps upon arriving at the airport. I asked him to share his tale. (It should be noted that I firmly believe in arriving at the airport an hour before departure for this very reason.)

Do you arrive an hour early for a flight?

Per the norm, I arrived at the RDU airport with not much time to spare, but enough…around 35 minutes before my 6:00 a.m. departure. It’s Wednesday, it’s early, it’s RDU…so I’m still relaxed. Forgetting to print my boarding pass yesterday, I saunter indifferently to the AA kiosk to conquer this formality. I’m tired. As I stroll my subconscious notices a big group here, a baseball team there, more people here, more people there, more people, MORE PEOPLE, MORE PEOPLE; but I don’t care, there’s time for conjecture later when I’m awake and a bit less selfish. At this moment I just want to go through the motions and be on my way. Who cares about all these other people anyway? They could all get synchronized diarrhea and fight to the death over who gets to use the last lobby trash can for all I care…I gots my own biz to deal wit.

My indifference screeches to a sudden halt when I see the line is 40 somber souls deep.  Come on people I don’t have time for this! Luckily I notice the line is for dealing directly with an agent just as the whispers of F-bombs began to tickle my tongue. The F-bombs quickly dissolve into a sly smirk. Sucks for you, losers. Five minutes tick by and I get a kiosk.

“Traveler not found…go to your airline.” Go to my airline…what?? I get out of line and re-check my itinerary on my phone. Wednesday the 27th – CHECK. 6:00 a.m. – CHECK.  American Airlines – CHECK. WTF-F-F-F!! Reality slowly starts to set in…the mutha effing proverbial clock is ticking and I’m standing here in the middle of take your friends, family, neighbors, your damn dog and the local baseball team to the airport day! This is NOT a part of my 35 minute plan people! My head starts to spin like an angry merry-go-round bursting with fruitless thoughts…I’m going to miss my plane, why is it so crowded at 5:40 a.m., maybe I can catch a later flight, my left shoe is a bit tight, are my toes sweaty, how did that lady beside me let herself get so gross, why is everyone so unattractive…I hate all of you!

I get back in line and irrationally check the AA website again while I wait for another kiosk…tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. My hatred for mankind grows exponentially with the passage of each tick and more so with every tock. I telepathically scream and berate the guy in front of me because this is all obviously his fault. It works and it’s my turn at the kiosk…again. Deep down I know this is not going to work so in a fanatical last grasp I check my calendar. Son-of-a-bitch! USAir? But I checked my itinerary on AA? Wait, did AA just buy USAir? USAir sucks, why would they buy them? I think my toes really are sweaty. Damn you corporate mergers…tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

No longer feeling the effects of sleep deprivation I rush with determination, urgency, and irritation to the USAir kiosk. This time the setting of the theme park packed terminal starts to weigh on me like a cumbersome bag filled with second guesses.

Credit card in…flight found…boarding pass printed…VICTORY IS MINE Bitches!

Now it’s time to wade through security with everyone I now so despise. The line is long but doesn’t yet spill beyond the entrance. Providing solace and comfort I hold my boarding pass close like a child with a blanky. Within moments the warm coziness is ripped from my heart when I realize there is only one line and it wraps back and forth just like the malevolent mazes on your favorite rides at Disney. I eye scold everyone I pass. Then again as we wrap around like cattle aimlessly waiting for slaughter. Then again, and again, and again. It’s well after 6:00 when I make it through. I rush to my gate with hopeful resolve and let out a sigh of relief when I see five people still in line waiting to board.  As I wait, I yawn and reflect on the events of the morning and conclude that next time I can probably hit snooze at least one more time.

Lesson learned.

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  1. says

    Heart palpitations reading this haha! I always arrive WAY too early because I can’t fathom the thought of not getting my coffee. Glad he made it!

  2. says

    first, wow! Your husband is a great writer! And how awesome that he wrote for you — I highly doubt mine would ever. Speaking of him, he, too, prefers to get to the airport at the last minute. I mean LAAAAAAASSSTT minute.

    But. Wait. You don’t have digital boarding passes at RDU yet? Life will be so much easier, he can cut another 15 minutes out of his prep time.

  3. says

    Ah! I have so been there. Our airport says to arrive TWO hours early and I live 40 or so minutes away which means I leave the house about 3 hours before my flight. That 3am wake up call SUCKS, but what’s worse was the time I overslept, had to park in short-term parking, got stuck in security and BEGGED my way in front of people in the security line (everyone let me through which was so nice), and made it just after my boarding group was called. PHEW.

    I hate that airline mergers.

  4. says

    Hahah! This is perfection! I love “I eye scold everyone I pass” because I find I do that frequently especially those randomly selected people who win the TSA precheck lottery but still stand there taking off their shoes and digging every electronic device they own out of their bag and giving each their own bin while looking at the agent asking why they can’t bring their spray deodorant/full size toothpaste/favorite shower gel in their carry on!

  5. says

    Oh come on, Jay. You aren’t that mean in your head. LOL!
    Airports always make me twitchy. Even when we arrive 2 hours early which is what you have to do in Pittsburgh or Orlando.
    … and this is why they serve beer … even if your flight is at 6am. ;) [I only half kid]

  6. says

    Oh come on, J. You aren’t that mean in your head. LOL!
    Airports always make me twitchy. Even when we arrive 2 hours early which is what you have to do in Pittsburgh or Orlando.
    … and this is why they serve beer … even if your flight is at 6am. ;) [I only half kid]


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