I’ve never been bored in an airport. From baggage check to baggage claim, I love the whole process.
I love to travel, and I love to fly. Lots and lots of other people do, too. It’s staggering, really, though, how quickly airline traffic has become so accessible to the masses. Southwest Airlines alone now operates almost 4000 flights a day to 98 cities with more than 100 MILLION CUSTOMERS A YEAR! For OverFiftyers, that’s an incredible concept, considering most of us grew up only flying on special occasions with our dressed-up grandmothers.
Not everyone likes to fly like I do, but if you do – or if you just need some fresh inspiration to make it more fun, here’s my list of what I do every time I find myself with a little extra time between flights.
1. Catch up on e-mail. This involves mostly deleting from an inbox that’s consistently too dadgum full.
2. Browse the bookstore. I always take pictures of the books I might like to read, then add the titles to my Austin Public Library e-version wish list. With the Overdrive app on my phone or iPad, I can click and read anything, anytime, from this very, very, very long list.
3. Get coffee (if there’s a Starbucks). Last weekend, I got a great cup of coffee at the Dallas Love Field Starbucks. That group of ladies behind the counter was a powerhouse team of baristas! They operated like some kind of caffeinated supply chain, ending with a pleasant voice calling my name, sliding my hot coffee over the granite counter, and loudly, cheerfully blessing me: “You have a GREAT day, Honey.” Way to go, ladies. Who knows how many of Southwest’s millions have been encouraged by that kind of luvving enthusiasm. (Tip: don’t try to order ahead with your Starbucks app. It’s not allowed.
However, with lickety-split service like theirs, you will hardly notice.)
4. Call my brother. This is my favorite part. We don’t get to talk nearly enough. I love my brother like nobody’s business. When I call, he answers the very same way, every single time: “Hello, Sister!” And then we’re off and running on a fabulous conversation.
Call your brother, I say. Nothing passes the lag time in any better way.
5. Walk. From one end to the other, things typically look the same from airport to airport, but you never know – there might be something new to see. If your flight plan takes you through Colorado, you can always reserve a spot on The Denver International Airport’s public art walking tour. If you’re flying into Austin, the live music capital of the world, be sure to check out the life-size guitars at baggage claim.
Our granddaughter will be flying to Austin for Thanksgiving this year with her mom. I think I’ll create a little scavenger hunt checklist for her, and maybe when they’re between flights, they can walk around and do a little scavenging.
While I was thinking about what I always do in an airport, I Googled a few other travelers’ lists. Check out Ryan Eller’s 101 things here. My list is way tame compared to his!
Last weekend when my college girlfriends and I were two hours early for our flight, we were totes pooped from all our fun. We should have caught our second wind and attempted #30.
Encouraging intentional adventure, whether in the air or the air-port,
PS – What do you do to pass the time before or between flights? Have you personally witnessed (or participated in) a flash mob? Share your comments below. I’d love to hear!