Hanging out in airports can be fun

Seriously.  OK, I admit that I’m rather crazy and that my obsession with flying and travel might be a bit over the top, but I’m not completely alone.  Witness a column from today’s NY Times that discusses the good things about hanging out in airports.

With time to spare before my flight, I’ll soak up the atmosphere of perpetual expectation. I ignore the haggard business travelers or the chaotic families as I sneak quick glimpses into travelers’ lives and listen to snippets of their conversation. “You’re missing two bags? We’re missing one”; “What’s wrong with you? You looked like you knew what you were doing”; “I gotta run. I love you.” I watch Caribbean vacationers flaunt sandals and T-shirts as they hail taxis in cold winter air, and feel sad for the last-minute gift buyer grabbing a generic teddy bear with some city name stitched to its belly.


On a recent trip to an airport, I saw a guy wearing shorts, a khaki multi-pouched vest and a straw hat, striding with grand purpose like an Amazonian explorer, his wife about 20 paces back and struggling to keep up. They marched to the piped-in sounds of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell singing “Ain’t no mountain high enough, Ain’t no valley low enough, Ain’t no river wide enough, To keep me from getting to you, babe.” Right on.

The other thing that the author touches on is the beauty of the family reunions that happen hundreds of times a day at every airport around the world. 

Still, should you feel despondent about the human race, I recommend hanging out at baggage claim or in the area outside where cars pull in to pick up arriving passengers. Watching one reunion after another, I find it hard not to be cheered by reckless smiles and wanton hugs.

It reminds me quite a bit of the opening and closing sequences of the movie Love Actually.  And even when those reunions are getting in the way of me getting out of the terminal and into my car home or to the hotel it is hard to be too upset with them.  After all, I still remember flying in to LaGuardia as a kid and seeing the big “Welcome to New York” sign on the side of the runway and my grandparents waiting at the end of the terminal to welcome us to town.  And those memories trump just about all of my grumpy thoughts.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.