The Airport

Arriving at the airport is always the easiest part: Quick drop off, little to no people interaction. It usually goes very very awry just after that.
Check In
Check ins keep getting easier and easier, thanks to technology. The Electronic ticket machine is my best friend, most machines are actually, so much easier to deal with than people. If you have no bags to check, you have it made: no human interaction. Of course, things can still go downhill.
Waiting in line to use the E-Ticket machine are a handful of characters common to every airport: the Old Lady who has no clue about computers and the Anxious Couple who arrive at the airport a scant 30 minutes before their flight.
This trip the clueless lady was particularly old and particularly good at playing her part. Cutting in line, without any regard for the rest of us, she goes to an E-Ticket machine that is opening up. I thought anxious husband was going to burst a blood vessel, this could get interesting. Cell phone in hand some one on the other end proceeds to walk her through the check in process. The irony of this whole scene seemed to be lost on all but myself; not only was she not utilizing the machine to move through the check in process faster, she could have went to the line with a check in girl and been assisted, instead she was yammering on the phone, tying up the already limited number of machines, and generally messing up the whole process.
She hunches down to the screen. “It says ‘Click here to start’.” Pushing the touch screen, she moves from screen to screen with agonizing slowness. With every touch comes more questions, from both the screen and the woman. “Now which one do I push again? The yes one? No, well too late. Can I go backwards on this thing?” All the while Anxious husband is muttering and cursing about how unbelievable this whole thing is.
“Why do they have so few machines? Why is everyone taking so long? This is bullshit!”
Another machine opens and the guy in front of me moves to take it. I’m next.
“Did anyone give me a knife or a gun? Are they serious? Oh my” Old Lady isn’t fairing very well. “I don’t have any bags to check, so what do I do?”
Anxious wife is trying to sooth her deteriorating better half. How people after 9/11 can arrive at airports with less than an hour before their flight leaves is beyond me. Yet here they are.
“Jesus! We’re going to miss our damn flight! This is ridiculous!”
“Honey. It’s ok. We’ll make it.”
”No we won’t! We’ve only got 20 minutes before the flight leaves! Oh man it’s gonna cost us a fortune to get the tickets changed.
My turn. Being somewhat of an old pro at this whole E-Ticket thing (It’s been a good 4 years since I held a paper ticket) I calmly enter my confirmation code, committed to memory for convenience. A few screens later I’m confirming my seating assignment, then assuring the computer that I am in fact not carrying any weapons, that my bags have been under my watchful eye the entire time and that I have not accepted any packages strange or otherwise from people I do not know. I’m done and waiting for the ticket agent to call my name to take my luggage. She does and I’m moving on, past Anxious couple and their machine.
“You have the confirmation code?
“Hon, I thought you had it?”
“No, I don’t. You made the reservation!”
“Here it is, it was in your carry on.”
“How the hell did it get in there? You must’ve put it in there.”
Anxious Wife smiles knowingly. Anxious Husband gets the luggage ready while his wife handles the “damn” computer.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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