There is definitely something ominous about starting a journey in a place that’s called a terminal. It’s a reminder of the danger of airline travel and that soon you’ll somehow be 35,000 feet above the ground in a metal projectile, traveling at 450 miles per hour and jammed next to someone who has just started sneezing.

And that’s the good part of airline travel. The less good part is navigating the airport itself.

On a recent trip, I spent time in five different airports. That’s because it was the best place to find airplanes.

Given my druthers, though — and no one has given me druthers since they were banned by the FAA — I’d rather have spent my time with the sneezing guy.

Nevertheless, my airport time was instructive. This is what I learned:

When you enter the terminal, do not look at the arrivals and departures board. It will only encourage them.

The board will list your flight as being on time and if you keep looking, it will keep saying your flight is on time until you are already delayed two hours and it is almost Thursday and you have to be re-routed through Pittsburgh.

When the board does ultimately admit that your flight is delayed, it will first say it is delayed 15 minutes, although the flight was supposed to have taken off an hour and a half ago. Then it will say it is leaving at 4:20. Then 4:35. Then 5:10. Then it will say “boarding now,” just to scare the living daylights out of you and see how fast that wheelie can wheel.

In many areas of the terminal, long lines at the regular check-in counters have been replaced by long lines at new, self-check-in kiosks. You must pay careful attention to the prompts at the self-check-in kiosks or else they will change your boarding pass into Euros.

If you have not already printed out your boarding pass, the agent at the counter will do it for you. The airlines, of course, will charge you an additional $25 for this. If you want the ticket agent to smile, that will be $50.

The longest line at the airport will be the security line. Just when you think you have gotten to the front of the line, it will turn again to the right and then to the left and then to the right again and you will find, instead, that you are in line for the men’s room.

As you go through security, try to put everything that’s in your pockets into just one bin on the conveyor belt. This will make it easier for someone to steal all your stuff at the same time without having to double back.

Your gate, call it C27 or B16, it doesn’t matter, will be the last one in the last corridor in the last wing of the entire airport. You better hurry to get there — the departure board says your flight’s boarding now.

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