Holiday travel, especially through the air seemed to have a rough time in 2021. Around 8,000 flights were cancelled at the end of the year leaving travelers stranded at times. I flew for Thanksgiving and while my flight was on time it was the first flight of the morning and I thought I would share that experience.
The Early Hours
Not much makes sense at 3:52am in a major airport. Even less so when it is the day before a holiday. The muted yet frantic murmur of once a year flyers echoes across the cavernous enclave. Albert Einstein would struggle to theorize what line to get in yet alone relativity. The public announcement system mumbles an inaudible message while babies cry from being awoken from their slumbers. A teacup dog of some creation barks its high pitched yelp from a stroller. Seriously a stroller. The nervous energy feels like a connecting force for all of us hoping to see friends and loved ones.
The only thing that brings comfort to me as I walk the seemingly miles of terrain to check in is the rhythmic and perfectly engineered resonance that comes from the wheels of my Osprey wheeled travel duffel. If sound could form a perfectly straight line this is it. Nearby a man who is obviously late is running with flip flops slapping the hard tile like morse code. Cars, just outside in the drop off lane, are honking wildly at each other to vacate the treasured real estate. But all I can hear is the perfect straight line coming from my wheeled luggage.
As I get closer to the bag check the chaos grows. The airport has moved things around since the last time I was here and many people have that blank stare. Not sure if it is the predawn hour or the scattering of people lined up in different directions but the stare is there. I make it to the kiosk and print the sticker to check my bag. It is almost a shame to check the bag. The wide opening made it quicker to pack than it took to check. At least the grab handles make it easy to pick up and put on the conveyor belt.
With the bag checked I have lost my metronome. My steps now sound more heavy and chaotic as I fast-walk my way towards the security line. The multi-headed snake of a line weaves in and around baggage carousels, through the concourse and past a still yet to open crepe stand. Wow, would I love a crepe right about now. The end of the maze comes with more quiet panic. Do I take my shoes off? Will my watch set off the machine? Where did I put my wallet? Do my socks have a hole?
All at once the panic is replaced by the struggle to tie shoes and put on belts without the benefit of a seat. The hurried walks take an easier tone. More of a stroll. Past a series of barred entryways to so many eateries that must open with the sunrise. They say that the early bird gets the worm but I can tell you they don’t get breakfast if the flight leaves at five in the morning!
Finally, the real relaxation comes in the shape of a narrow seat next to the window. The black night has turned to blue in the pre-dawn minutes. The pilot makes another inaudible announcement and the plane taxi’s to a runway. The sky lightens with every inch the plane moves in a race to be airborne before the sun. As the wheels leave the ground and the plane shutters against the last of the turbulence I close my eyes in hope of sleep and wonder if my bag had an easier time then I did traversing the joys of the holiday travel.
I knew Osprey for their hiking backpacks and they are my pack of choice. Most days you will see me in a Manta on the trail and I wrote a review of that here. I didn’t know about the luggage until after I started as an advertising affiliate with them. If you would like to know more about their luggage you can click here. (Disclaimer: As an affiliate I do receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the link)
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.