If you’ve traveled by air lately, you know the above title is an oxymoron.
One thing I grasped very quickly as a chauffeur was, airports pretty much aren’t fun. Many of you will discover, or rediscover that this weekend.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many stressed-out folks in one place, mostly trying to figure out where the blue blazes they were supposed to go. Where is check-in? Where is Gate ___? Where am I getting my luggage? Where’s my connecting flight? Where the devil is my chauffeur? (Not referring to me, of course.)
And where is a freakin’ Starbucks?
Surprisingly, though, I have had a few experiences at the airport that were, if not mildly amusing, downright hilarious. To wit:
People leave stuff at security checkpoints all the time: laptops, ID’s, wives, etc. Once, walking through the airport with a client I had just picked up, we heard a voice over the PA system announce: “Your attention, please, will the passenger who left a hammer at Security Checkpoint ___ please return to claim your item?”
My client and I looked at each other, incredulous. Did he just say a hammer??
Who would leave a hammer at a security checkpoint? Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor?
Furthermore, why would anyone travel with a hammer? The nuts available on the flight are already shelled, right? You don’t need the thing!
It would’ve been different if the guy had said,”Would the passenger who showed up hammered at Security Checkpoint…”
Oh, another time, I heard the PA announcer say, “Would the flight crew for ___ Airlines Flight___ please report to Gate ___? Your flight is ready.”
Seriously? The passengers are on board, the bags are loaded, everyone’s ready to go, and the flight crew isn’t there, yet??
Say, does anyone aboard here know how to fly a plane? I’ll man the snacks and the drinks. Have a nice flight.
I always dreaded when an arriving passenger had checked baggage to get. We would wait for that baggage long enough for me to grow a beard, most of the time. I swear, the baggage handlers must have rerouted it through New Zealand.
And, of course, sometimes, it did get rerouted to a different Bag Claim than originally announced, so we would have a group scavenger hunt for it. Lots of fun. One time, I kid you not, we got sent from one bag claim to another, then back to the original one. I’m sure somebody got a laugh out of that, but it wasn’t the passengers, or me. We did get some good exercise, though, I guess. Not that I’m a fan of that; my idea of a good workout is getting up from the dinner table.
Anyway, I’m waiting with a client for his luggage, and a Baggage Service person comes over to our bag claim and starts telling everyone that their baggage can be picked up at another bag claim. Only, nobody can hear what he’s saying. So, standing next to him is another Baggage Service person, yelling everything the first guy is saying.
Absolute truth, folks.
If you’ve ever seen Chevy Chase and Garrett Morris on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update”, doing the Top Stories for the Deaf, you appreciate just how hysterical a sight this was. My client had seen it, and we had a big laugh over it.
I’m walking through the airport one day, and I pass one of those little shops that has stuff like candy, books and magazines, toothpaste, hair products, snacks, drinks, what have you, and I notice they sell suitcases at this one.
Now, I know we all end up forgetting one thing or another when we travel; it’s practically inevitable. But, has anyone ever showed up at the airport and said, “Crap!! I left the suitcase at home! I’ve been walking around with my clothes and toiletries in my arms, and I just knew I was forgetting something! Thank God I can get one here!”
Many times, though, I got to see some great things. Lots of joyful, tearful reunions. Lots of children running excitedly into their mommies’ or daddies’ arms. Lots of barking, tail-wagging, face-licking dogs. Lots of endless hugging. Lots of laughing. Lots of crying. Air travel may not be fun, but the arrival can be so worth it.
One last funny story:
My friend, Gary, (who I hope doesn’t mind me telling this) was at the airport one day to pick up the 80’s rock group, Loverboy, in town for one of those ever popular Night of the Has-Beens concerts. Sounds innocent enough, right?
Okay, picture a middle-aged man, in a black suit and tie, standing alone in the middle of the airport, holding a sign that reads, LOVERBOY.
How suspicious would you be?
Bon voyage, everybody.