If you’re under the age of twelve and your parents are crazy enough to let you go on an airplane by yourself you are granted the luxury of a chaperone. They usher you through security, get you to the right gate, sit next to you during the flight, and deposit you into the hands of your guardian waiting outside the gate. If you’re lucky enough you even get a neat airline pin that in reality is to classify you as child traveling alone, but in your eyes it’s a symbol of status.
Fast forward a few years. Most of the teenage population is just as inept as a twelve year old at navigating the airport, yet they don’t get babysitters. Sure being eighteen years old I don’t think I would like being watched by someone I don’t know, but I need as much help as I can get to get through the airport.
First, you print your tickets at a handy touch screen kiosk, not. If your parents pity your ineptitude enough they’ll make your reservations for you. It makes things easier, but once you get the the airport it may or may not turn out that you don’t have the information the kiosk wants. Wait in line, talk to the baggage check woman who is nice enough, but wants your information quicker than you can physically give it. But then you have a ticket and everything is fine. “Well, that wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected” you think to yourself. “All that’s left to get through is security” which everyone knows is a nightmare.
Everyone knows, that in theory that security is expected to be a very tedious and VERY long process of waiting in line, emptying your bag of electronics and metal, taking off your shoes, getting prodded by a metal detecting stick, and after you’ve done all that trying to get all your things together while other people’s cartons full of electronics, shoes, and bags keep piling on top of yours. Everything about that process is true, except for one. Getting through security is a whirlwind. Imagine that whole list in fast forward. Efficiency is fantastic don‘t get me wrong, but if I hadn‘t had flip flops, the extra step of tying my shoes may have caused me to have a break down.
Comparatively the process of getting on the plane is relatively simple, almost relaxing. Once you’re past all the metal detectors the rest of the airport seems quiet and calm. You plop down on a chair with metal arm rests (in my opinion the dumbest idea ever, especially during a long lay over), partake of the free wi-fi and spend the next hour watching you tube or Hulu, writing a blog, or checking the news feed on Facebook. The boarding call is made over the intercom and you shuffle into the line, walk onto the plane and enjoy the next few hours of your life reading sky mall and looking at cloud formations that are so close it feels like you can touch them. The plane touches down and you walk out of the airport ready to enjoy that well deserved vacation. Enjoy it, because five days from now you get to go through that wonderful process all over again.