Thursday, January 3, 2008

Observations on Travel

Well, my plans for a cross country road trip from Austin to Mobile for Christmas ended up getting derailed a bit. So, less than a week before Christmas I was scrambling to find a plane ticket that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get me home for the holidays. Given that the reason I initially planned to drive home was the price of plane tickets, I wasn’t too hopefully in my quest and fully expected to spend Christmas vegging on my couch with Mav. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a plane ticket that would get me to Mobile for under $500 (where was this two weeks earlier when I was looking!) So Sunday morning I headed to Austin-Bergstrom Airport hoping to not only have a seat on my plane but also to not suffer with the delays I have experienced on previous flights home. One thing I enjoy about traveling alone is being able to move at my own pace. This also allows me time to study those around me. And that is where my observations on travel come in.

My first observation was noted while waiting in line to pass through security. The woman in front of me had a large duffel bag that she was using as a carry-on. I am guessing the bag was rather heavy because rather than carrying over her shoulder she was kicking it through the line. You know…the step, slide with the foot move that we have all done at the post office. My thought was, “If the bag is too heavy to carry now when you haven’t even gotten on the plane yet, I can’t imagine how miserable you will be when you are trudging through an airport the size of Dallas or O’Hare and you have to actually carry it.”

Shortly after my first observation came my second observation. Apparently a woman in line ahead of me had just purchased a “very expensive bottle of perfume” at one of the shops in the airport after checking her luggage and she couldn’t believe that security wouldn’t let her carry the bottle on the plane with her. Now if you have been living in the dark ages you may not know about not being able to carry containers of liquid on a plane larger than 3 ounces. But with the numerous signs posted through the security checkpoint about this, I am baffled at how this woman overlooked this detail and was saying, “I can’t believe you are just now telling me this.”

Observation number three came as I was about to board the plane from Austin to Houston. It was one of those moments when I wish I could have pulled out my camera phone without it being so obvious as to what I was doing. So…we have all seen the movie Music and Lyrics right? You know the one with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. OK…so you know that Hugh Grant played a character who was in an 80s pop band with the crazy hairdos. Well, boarding my plane was one of those crazy hairdos. I swear this man could have easily passed for any one of the crazy 80s bands we all knew and loved. If only I could have gotten my camera out.

My final observation was noted while killing time during my two hour layover in Houston. I stopped at Chili’s to partake in an adult beverage and snack before proceeding to my gate to continue reading the Harlan Coben novel I had purchased for the trip (thanks for the recommendation, J!) It was on my way to the gate that I spotted this particular observation. I was passing the security checkpoint when I noticed a woman putting her shoes back on after passing through the checkpoint. Now with all the security measures in place these days we all know that the easiest way to travel is by wearing no belt and shoes that slip on and off easily (hence my no lace Skeechers). This woman was obviously dressed to impress. Long flowing peasant skirt, lovely blouse, and lace-up knee high boots. Yes, you heard me right…lace-up knee high. I mean seriously…has she not been to an airport in the last 6 years?

I will be traveling again in a little over a week with J in tow this time. Hopefully we will spot some more good observations to pass on to my readers. Oh, and by the way, after purchasing that plane ticket, I still ended up having the second half of my two day cross country road trip back to Texas.