We got standby tickets to spend the weekend in North Carolina for a family vacation (husband’s side). Hooray, we spend ten percent of the original price and we have such good luck with standbys before and nothing can possibly go wrong!
And so, we wait for our 10 AM flight, make awkward conversation with the apparent racist passenger sitting beside us who actually, turns out, was sitting at the wrong gate (thank heavens!). And when they close the gates officially and we get the look of pity from the formally bitchy flight attendant behind the counter, we know, we’re not getting on this flight. Thing is, the airline only flies to our destination once a day. We are sent to the service desk by the currently bitchy flight attendant behind the counter.
The service desk person was much nicer, a bit clueless, but she smiles a lot and we appreciate this because, see above. She told us, because of the weather in the mid west, flights are booking up and there are only three seats available tomorrow and eight people ahead of you on standby. We got a refund for our tickets and booked a flight for 1am that night. This left us with fourteen glorious hours at the airport. That’s not sarcasm folks, it was glorious.
We immeadiaty ate grilled cheese with tomato & basil at Beecher’s with it’s World Famous Mac & Cheese. We sat on rocking chairs facing a wall of windows watching the planes take off and land. We had no where to be and nothing to do for fourteen hours. We spent an hour listening to records in a record store in the airport, bought a pack of cards and played spit for another hour, sat at an abandoned gate and listened to a talented jazz musician play the upright bass and sing norah jones songs for another hour. I’ve never felt closer to Brooks and we just cuddled everywhere we sat, talking and joking and stealing free pizza the airline provided for a gate whose flight was delayed two hours. GLORIOUS, I TELL YOU! GLORIOUS!
I now feel seasoned enough to share with you some tips.
How To Spend a Day at the Airport
- Immediately go online to the airport’s website and decide on the best place to eat.
- Buy a pack of playing cards and play a fun, fast-paced card game until your over-competiveness keeps it fast paced, but ultimately makes it no longer fun (for the other player).
- Also, if you don’t have toothpaste with you, buy some at one of the stores. It’s the best way to get that “clean, you’re not at an airport all day” feeling.
- Find an amazing commons area. These are usually central in the airport and immediately you can tell, this is the fun concourse, where the airport puts all of it’s moolah.
- Don’t buy coffee until you’re feeling tired. If you buy it right away, you’ll be on a caffeine high until you’re not. The airport is the last place you will want to be when you have a caffeine crash.
- Lying on the floor and reading a book is completely acceptable if this is where you live for the next ten hours. Use your bag as a pillow and read that book that you’ve brought because you’ve been meaning to finish it for six months now but you just can’t find the time. At this moment, you have the time. If you don’t have a book, head to the airport bookstore and purchase Tina Fey’s Bossypants or a trashy magazine. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
- Remember that until you have to be at your gate, you literally have all day with no where to be. How often does this happen? Embrace it and do whatever you want, whenever you feel like it.
- Above all else, know that this time will pass so quickly and before you know it, you’ll be on your plane sleeping, or at your destination in a taxi on your way to your hotel. Take a deep inhale, slowly exhale, and embrace this moment, along with every single one to come your way.
There are no mistakes, only opportunities. Take each opportunity, each moment, and embrace it. Take the challenge and ask yourself, “What can I make of this?”