Your Guide To Sleeping In An Airport

sleeping in the airport terminalOnce upon a time, my blog had a very strong focus – pilot wifestyle. My husband was a newly minted airline pilot, and it took a while to get used to the lifestyle. For a while, there were very few pilot wife bloggers, and we were a pretty tight knit group. Because pay was so low in the first years, the main benefit of being married to a pilot was flight benefits. Even though I was at the very bottom of the standby list, I loved to take every opportunity possible to get out of town. And often that meant getting stuck in airports.

But over the years, I got a little tired of writing all the blog posts about airports, flights, delays, mergers, FAA rulings, non-rev nightmares, and long-distance relationships. I switched the focus of the blog back to me, and the things that interest me…namely health, music, pop culture,  blogging and social media. I still travel more often than the average person, but I haven’t had to sleep in an airport for a long time. When I came across this infographic by TravelSupermarket,  it reminded me of all the times in 2007-2009 I was perpetually stuck at the airport.

To see the full graphic, click here.

About 2 years ago, I presented at Ignite Salt Lake, with a presentation called “Enjoy Your Time At The Airport, Whether Or Not Your Junk Is Touched.” Please don’t mind how unprofessional my performance is…I was really nervous, felt awful, was short of breath and I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia the next day.

CPAP machine airportIt was at the height of the controversy over airports in the US installing the backscatter image security scanners, so the presentation does focus on that. However, I talk about sleeping in the airport, especially at Salt Lake City airport. I no longer travel with my CPAP machine (because my sleep apnea has improved greatly after losing over 120 pounds), but back when I slept in airports often, my CPAP machine took up a large portion of my carry-on suitcase.

Have you ever had to sleep in the airport?

Post 499: MIA?, Portland Trip, and non-revving nightmare

Thank you to all those who checked up on me to see if I was okay. “A week without blogging? Are you seriously ill?”, several people asked. No..I’m not ill – just in need of a break from the rigors of creativity and daily blogging.

The Portland trip was exciting and exhausting. Rosie and I flew in Friday night and stayed in Tualatin with the Grahams, a family that my family has known for decades. Saturday was fun, start to finish. I had breakfast with Coral, a middle school friend, at Rose’s in West Linn. We had the cinnamon roll french toast (to DIE for) and got caught up on all we’ve missed in the last 12 years. Next, we drove back to Tualatin by way of the Wanker’s Corner general store (where we got drinks and snacks.) Our original purpose for going to Portland was to attend a wedding reception for Rosie’s cousin…but we didn’t realize we’d put the wrong date down until after we got their gift. We met Carisa, an elementary school friend, for drinks at Starbucks. She’s getting married this year, and it was fun to hear all about her fiance.

For lunch, we went to Newport Bay Restaurant with my aunt Laurie and cousin Christi. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years at Grandpa Gene’s funeral, so it was lovely to have some family time with relatives I rarely get to see. We did a little shopping around Washington Square Mall, then I followed Laurie over to Auntie Dona and Uncle Bob’s house. Their daughter Margi found out I was over and she immediately joined us. We caught up and reminisced for the afternoon. Aterwards, I dropped by my cousin Jillian’s apartment. Her husband just graduated medical school, and they’re off to Colorado at the end of the month for Ben’s pathology residency. They gave us a McCormick and Schmick’s gift card, so we had a free super-fresh seafood dinner there after pics at the Portland Temple. We arrived back at the Grahams’ around 9, visited until my eyelids could no longer stay open, and set my alarm for 3:40 am.

We woke up, packed our bags, and went out to our rental car. Once inside, we realized that things were missing…my Blackberry and Ipod chargers, some papers and food items. It didn’t look like the car had been broken into, so I’m guessing the rental car’s alarm clicker wasn’t working. Luckily the chargers can be replaced. We drove to the airport, grabbed some breakfast, dropped off the car, and waited through a horrid security line at PDX. I complained over the 40 minute wait…but little did I know the non-revving disaster I was about to encounter.

We tried for the 6:00 am ATL flight – we were part of the 9 that didn’t make it on. Then we tried for the SLC flight – denied again. Tried for a MSP NWA flight – nope. Tried for another ATL and SLC flight – was told our best option was to get an ID-90 pass from Horizon, fly to Seattle, and get a SEA-ATL non-stop flight. We waited till we didn’t get on another MSP flight, went out of security, purchased the passes, walked across the airport again to Horizon’s gates, where the gate agent said our luck was pretty bleak to get on a SEA flight standby. So we went back across the airport to try for the last SLC flight – denied again. Finally, we made it on a MSP flight at the last second, and we had to check our bags. Once we were in Minneapolis, we were too late to make it on any outgoing flights. Taylor Priceline’d an “airport hotel” that didn’t have a shuttle and was nowhere near the airport. We paid so much in cab fare that we could have gotten a really nice hotel. We got about 5 hours sleep before the 3:30 am alarm woke us up, the cab took us back to the airport, and we were crossing our fingers for the 5:15 am ATL flight. We were top of the list, made it on, and were able to sit together. We touched down in ATL just before 9:00 am – which meant I was late for work.

It was a bittersweet trip: wonderful visits and horrible trip home. Was it worth it? I say yes cautiously : this experience has put the fear of the flight Gods back into me. I don’t think I’m going to tempt fate like this again when flight loads aren’t wide open. The next time I fly will be on a confirmed positive space ticket.

Crazy Way to Chicago

Finally in Chicago, by way of Milwaukee. Bumped flights, lost phones, lost wives, lost on the tollway with not enough change, reconnected with an old friend with a charitible streak. It feels like a feat to be here. I feel sick about what happened with Misty…more details to come.

Non-Rev Roulette

I decided on a new term for the luck required in flying non-rev…Non-Rev Roulette. I coined the term while punching in a Twitter message about crossing my fingers about getting a seat from SLC to LAX on Monday night. There had been a lot of weather delays through the day, and the airline had reassigned many passengers to my flight. The flight had 48 seats available in the morning, and an hour before I needed to leave for the airport the flight was overbooked by 6. However, several flights never made it in and the flight ended up being wide open. I got my boarding pass, lugged my bags through the jetbridge, and realized that our seats were in FIRST CLASS!

Rosie and I got free movies, pillows, blankets, Sunchips and comfy seats. I watched 97 minutes of American Teen, and Rosie watched Wall-E (when she was not listening to her new pink MP3 player from Grandma and Grandpa Watson) It would have been nicer to have seats in first on a longer flight, but we were happy to have a little pre-Christmas perk!