Everything I Should Have Been Told: Traveling by Air

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 15: A girl sleeps in the departure lounge at Gatwick airport on April 15, 2010 in London, England. All flights in and out of Britain’s airports have been grounded due to a plume of volcanic ash drifting across northern Europe from an eruption in Iceland. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Though I may have written a 4,555 word article about how to travel by air, even I myself am no perfect specimen of air travel wisdom. So instead of telling you what you should do, I’m going to tell you what I should have done in hindsight while making my way to Tampa and back.

This time, I decided that flying Delta was my best option to fly. The pros of Delta, to review, are that they are a larger airline and, hence, they have more airplanes. This means that if your flight is overbooked or somehow gets cancelled, they will usually have another plane going to your same destination within a couple of hours of your original time. The unpredictability of the weather in the midwest already made me a little wary as it started to snow a lot harder than expected before I left my house to go to the airport. For that reason, my dad and I decided to leave about 30 minutes before we would have if the roads were clear.

I got to the airport and thanks to the Delta app, I had my boarding pass and a carry-on, and so I was allowed to get into the security line right away. I will be completely honest: nothing went wrong on the way there, but it was the way back that really caused some problems.

First off, I didn’t have enough space in my suitcase to bring things back like I thought I would. Luckily, my grandparents gave me a suitcase to use that I could fit everything in. It was a rare case that this worked out. In hindsight, I should have started off with my suitcase only half or ¾ full and then saved the rest for gifts.

If you happen to be in my situation, you might want to bring some headphones and a full playlist. What is the situation, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. The stereotype that all children cry on airplanes is no longer a matter of opinion. It is a cold, hard fact. On my plane ride from Tampa to Minneapolis, I happened to be placed right behind a toddler who, for some reason, thought that screaming bloody murder for the three and a half hour flight seemed to be the best use of his time. Others questioned their sanity, but I, fellow travelers, rocked out to some of the Top 40’s music that has been overplayed on the radio.

The biggest issue I had was getting from my destination, back to my house.

Why, you may ask?

Well, aren’t you just full of questions?

When you have family members picking you up from the airport, remember that unlike a shuttle, they can be late. My father is one of those family members that can be very late. How late? Well, from the time I was supposed to land, he was about four hours late. Now this would have been slightly annoying for most people. Mostly because those people would have gotten a full night’s rest the night before they head to the airport. I however, am not one of those normal people. While at first sitting and waiting wasn’t that bad, it soon turned into an internal struggle to keep my eyes open and guarding my stuff. Finally giving up, I decided to buy myself a six dollar coffee drink that had enough caffeine in it to give an elephant a heart attack. So not only was I mentally tired, but I happened to be wired at the same time. So, my advice to you is to get some rest the night before because no one wants to deal with the aftermath of an over-tired, over-wired, impatient teenager who was forced to wait for four hours in the freezing cold.

(Thank you Minneapolis-St. Paul airport for programming the automatic doors to shut twenty seconds after someone goes through them).

All in all, there is one thing that I will leave you with. I have missed my connecting flight, I have been patted down and interrogated, I have waited for a seven hour layover, I have endured -40 degree weather after leaving tropical weather, and I have even lost a bag once; however, no matter what the obstacle was, I always got to and from my destination safely. I may have the worst luck in airports and if I can make it through, then you can make it through.