The past week, I spent a fair amount of time in airports. In fact, this past semester, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in airports. I’ve slept in them, eaten in them, drank in them, and certainly cried in them (I’m looking at you, Air France). This weekend, I got to the Florence Airport at 8 Saturday morning and didn’t get back to Atlanta until 5 the following day, so as you might expect I had a lot of time to figure out the tricks that should probably be posted on a billboard as you enter any airport.
For starters, never let an overweight bag get you down. Depending on the airport clerk you talk to, you can occasionally whine, complain, or cry your way out of the extra fees. If this doesn’t work out for you (and/or you’re flying RyanAir) you can always make a bag lighter. This could mean layering your clothes as we had to on the way to Spain (see above – and FYI, J. Crew dresses weigh like 2 pounds…), throwing away those heavy heels (as if any female needs an excuse to buy a new pair of black wedges) or, preferably, giving away those t-shirts you’re still hanging on to from your ex-boyfriend (for goodness sake, next time date someone with better taste). On our last morning in the Florence airport (otherwise known as “The Worst Airport Experience I Have Ever Endured”) the mass amounts of study abroad students were moping around as if some natural disaster had hit because no one’s bags were under weight (smuggling home massive amounts of limoncello will do that). Someone should have handed out a few of these tips.
Furthermore, although I’m about as social with strangers as they come (thanks, Mom!), when traveling it is very important to toe the line when it comes to oversharing. On my flight from Florence to Paris, I sat by a very sweet older man named Mike, and had the pleasure of hearing about his software developing career in LA. Cool, right? Well, cool until I made the mistake of asking what brought him to Italy. Note to the world: talking about your ex to strangers is never a great idea, but it doesn’t get less embarrassing as you get older. If you’re old enough that the person being discussed is referred to as an “ex-lady-friend,” things just get awkward. “I still don’t know what happened between us,” he confessed. Well, Mike, I do. You probably over-shared.
If you get stuck paying for your overweight bag (rookie status) or sitting by an over-sharer, immediately find your nearest elderly couple for a pick-me-up. Saturday as I was tediously figuring out how I was going to find a flight back to America, an adorable old couple moseyed on up to the counter beside me.
“We have an emergency,” said the cute old man with his Irish accent (extra presh!) and his tweed cap.
Since I was indefinitely stuck in a foreigh country and too hungry and tired to realize what a #whitegirlproblem that is, my heart went out to this sweet man. What if he was stuck, too!? What if these two had health issues?!! What if one of their loved ones was sick, or having a baby!?? HOW COULD AIR FRANCE HAVE WRONGED NOT ONLY ME, BUT THIS SWEET ELDERLY MAN AS WELL!?
“You see,” he continued, “We’re not seated together on this flight. We need to be together.”
Day-maker. Right there. I don’t know why I loved this so much, and why I thought his utter disbelief was so endearing when they said it wasn’t possible, but I guess it just gave me hope for humanity. Someday, maybe I’ll have a husband whose idea of an “emergency” is spending a few hours without sitting beside me?