I’ve spent a lot of time this year in airports. By my reckoning I’ve already been to ten this year (with several visits to JFK and at least one to LGA) and will add two more by the end of the year. Airports can be hell, especially if you’re stuck in one. I had a year where every time I tried to fly out on a Friday, something went wrong, either an insanely long delay, or, once, a delay that turned into a cancellation. When you’re stuck watching the departure board, worried your flight will be delayed more, or you’re getting automated messages that tell you, don’t worry, you have plenty of time to use the bathroom, airports are pretty much the worst.
But having spent a lot of time in them this year, I have this to say: Under the right circumstances, they’re not so bad.
To be clear, the right circumstances involve short TSA lines, layovers that allow more than enough time to reach your gate, and no delays. But with those factors in place, airports are much more like purgatory than hell – they’re the in-between-place you’re stuck in against your will.
Time can feel a bit suspended when you’re traveling by air. As long as I’m not anxiously waiting in a security line or desperately delayed, I can sit in the airport or on a plane and feel like there’s no difference between one hour and three. It helps if I have a good book, or can close my eyes for a nap. It doesn’t hurt when the airport has good food, like the mac n’ cheese I had in Phoenix in June, or the mac n’ cheese I had at JFK last week.
The free warm chocolate chip cookie in Phoenix wasn’t half bad, either.
Look, I’m not saying I love airports. I hate that not all of them have free wifi (I’m looking at you, JFK), the chairs can be uncomfortable, and going through security is still more obnoxious than it probably needs to be. I’m just saying that I’ve had a fair number of okay hours in airports this year, and I’m going to stop complaining about them so much.
But I’m still taking the train at the holidays. I have my limits.
I didn’t take any photos in airports, but I did take some from planes! I think this is from before we landed in Phoenix…