If you ever find you can’t quite get to starting that novel you’ve always wanted to write, or finishing that book series everyone is talking about, book a flight to anywhere and then get to the airport seven hours early. With literally nothing else to do besides everything I’d been putting off, sitting in the terminal of the Indianapolis airport is the most productive I’ve ever felt in my life. What I accomplished wasn’t exactly completing my Academy-Award-winning screenplay, but I did finally listen to that audio book I accidentally bought four months ago – a task I’m more proud of than I should be. It really is harder than you’d think to find the time to listen to an audio book though. Luckily, I had nothing but time. Thank God too, because Modern Romance, written and narrated Aziz Ansari, is a gift to this world. I also finished a season of Scrubs on Netflix and got to ride on the moving sidewalk several times, so my day hardly felt wasted. In fact, it was one of my more productive Saturdays.
Additionally, my anxiety about flying by myself for the first time was significantly diminished thanks to the extra time. As I learned on my way home, the one time you get to the airport only an hour early will be the time they begin boarding the plane an hour early, which as you can imagine is an anxiety-filled nightmare.
Even with the large time cushion, I still stumbled into a few nervous moments. About six hours in, I thought my flight got cancelled because I was looking for a flight with a 5:45 departure time when mine actually left at 4:54. I also briefly convinced myself that I was at the wrong gate, despite the fact that I’d been sitting in the same spot for half the day.
2. Flight attendants pause their sentences at the worst places.
After I had successfully boarded the correct plane, we sat at the gate for nearly an hour because, although the engine was fine, the machine that helped to start the engine was not. I previously did not even know this was a thing that could go wrong, but now I’ll probably have stress-related nightmares thanks to it.
As I sat there waiting for an update, the thought of having to possibly spend the night in the airport haunted me. I briefly considered asking the family sitting next to me to adopt me for a week just in case I had no other spring break housing options.
Forever later, the flight attendant got on the intercom to announce this: “Ladies and Gentlemen... we uh………” Insert longest pause in the history of recorded history. In the seconds it took her to finish that sentence, every worse case scenario possible ran through my head. Finally she finished up with, “we were able to start the engine and will be on our way shortly.” Every single passenger probably heard my sigh of relief.
It was the most ill-placed dramatic pause I’ve ever experienced.
3. Leggings won’t save you from a leg pat down from an NSA agent.
Purely for purpose of comfort I decided to travel in leggings, but I also thought it might simplify going through security by eliminating any threat of Underwear Bomber-type shenanigans. This assumption was wrong. It would have been essentially impossible for me to squeeze anything but my thighs into those pants, but apparently my left calf was still cause for suspicion. I was subjected to what felt like the most thorough lower-leg pat down the world has known. She could have at least asked about my day first.
4. Daylight savings time is actually the worst.
We all already know this, so I guess I should clarify that what I learned is that travelling on this day can be slightly more complicated/stressful/tiring than your average day.
Besides the obviously devastating lost hour of sleep that made a 7 a.m. flight that much more dreadful, the stress of constantly wondering if my phone was displaying the correct time (which at one point it wasn’t) put me a little on edge. Ultimately though, my clock being wrong was not what caused the issue.
The shuttle back to Ball State was scheduled to arrive at the airport at 1:30 p.m.. After struggling to read some simple signs, I was able to find the designated pick-up zone with 15 minutes to spare. I recognized some of the other students waiting there, so I was confident I was in the correct place. But after 1:30 came and went and the shuttle was yet to arrive, I began to question myself. I was deeply pondering the possibility of all seven of us who were waiting splitting an Uber back to Muncie when one of the other students asked, “What if the driver forgot to change their clocks?”
Sure enough, the shuttle rolled up a little past two, and as I boarded I spotted the clock on the dashboard that read 1:08. In the driver’s defense, she thought she was 20 minutes early, so kudos to her for that.
5. Don’t take airlines that give out free pretzels for granted.
It turns out not every airline offers free in-flight snacks and soft drinks. As you can imagine, I was appalled. And because I was travelling alone, I had no one to complain to about it.
Do you have any travel horror stories? Share them with N&N on Facebook or Twitter (@bsu_nandn)