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5 Things You Should Do When You're In Line At The Airport (and I'm in the line with you)

Updated on September 30, 2007

Or, "Yes, I know how slow the line is moving because I'm in the line with you Mr. and Mrs. Annoying!"

I knew leaving Las Vegas on a Sunday for a nine day business trip was not a good idea. But what are you supposed to do when you have meetings starting at 8:30am on a Monday morning you go the day before, right? The airport was a mess, filled with hung over people who had alcohol pouring out of every pore, what a perfect day to be sardined in among the smelly, the sweaty, the underbelly pod people from Dubuque as they made their way home to their normal lives. Now when the Vegas airport (or any airport for that matter) is this crowded you have few choices. I would suggest a few deep breaths but the contact high you'd get might kill you so I'll just say you need to breathe slowly, strap yourself in and get in line with everyone else. Oh, that everyone could get to that Zen place but such was not the case and there was more shoving and pushing than a good mud wrestling competition. So here they are the five things you should do when you're in line at an airport - Don't Get Me Started!

From the minute you get dropped off curbside, you know you're in trouble. People are staking their claims, their portion of the sidewalk with their eighteen bags for three people and dressed as if everything came out of a small backpack. (What the hell IS in those bags? Bodies?) Maneuvering around these people I went right in for e-ticket check-in with my one bag. Let me stop here for a minute and tell you about my fabulous red hard-sided luggage. It's fabulous but it's also a little heavy and I started to worry about the weight of my bag before I even left home. In a feeble lightening effort I removed one long sleeved t-shirt, one sweatshirt and a cashmere sweater. I know, I had to laugh at myself thinking that removing those three items were going to make a huge weight difference but as I shlepped my big fabulous red luggage onto the scale at the counter, my choices had paid off. There's a 50 pound bag limit and what was the weight of mine you ask? That's right, 46.5 pounds! (And yes, I was thinking, "Damn, I could have had the cashmere sweater with me!")

Now at this point let me say that I have as little patience as every other red-blooded American but once again, I was getting in touch with my inner airport self. That was until I went upstairs and rounded the corner to see the line to get to security was a good half a mile long. You could hear the collective groans as we all filed into the long line. In case you're wondering, I have no pity for the people who are in the Vegas airport and have only left themselves ten minutes to get through security. Yet somehow they think due to their inability to manage their own time that they are so much more important than the rest of us rule-followers who left enough time to get through security and maybe even get a little something to eat. Right away these people start "bloosing" (this is a word my grandmother used to use for people who are doing that whole blowing air out of their mouths and making noise with their flapping lips in an effort to let you know they are disgusted). They look at their watches, they call people on the phone and loudly bitch about the long lines and as if that's not enough then they ask you if they can go in front of you because they're going to miss their flight. What moving up one or two people in a line of 650 is going to do for you I don't know but I always let them go because it gets them away from me. Sometimes I even offer before they ask which throws them completely off base.

So at some point we're supposed to get into four lines, or at least that's what the security (I use the term loosely) guy is yelling at all of us as we move akin to what I think must have happened to my Jewish ancestors when they came off the boats in hoards at Ellis Island. Just like steerage except cute ringtones going off instead of mooing and much like Disneyland, just when we think that we're getting closer, we enter the "maze" portion of the line (except there will be no Matterhorn to ride at the end of it). This is when the cows, oops, I mean, people start the pushing. They're jumping back and forth from line to line (as if it will make a difference) and just when they move to that line the other line starts moving faster. Once they've checked your ID with your boarding pass, the four lines move to one line again. Now everyone is really getting antsy...must get ahead of those people at any cost. You can feel the anxiety as they hit the back of your legs with their carry on roller bags. By the time you actually get to the security checkpoint you're more than happy to take off all your clothes and put them in the gray bins so that you might be able to get the sweaty guy screaming on his phone behind you off your ass finally.

The thing is, standing there with your shoes in your hand and your laptop under one arm while trying to juggle your briefcase and your coat you realize that the people next to you are the same people you started out with at the start of the line. All their zigging, zagging and asking to get ahead of you made them move maybe one to two people in front of you, period. My point to all of this is that as long as we're all trying to get somewhere where other people want to get too, there's going to be a line. Whether it's at a popular movie, club or an airport so if you know there is going to be a line going in why are you so surprised and why do you think you should get a pass to not have to wait like the rest of us? Moreover what's with all the bloosing and disgust? Do you really think I want to smell your sixteen gin and tonics from the night before? Do you really think I want to hear your kid screaming? Do you really think I want to keep getting hit by your luggage? Or hear you bitch on your phone? Well, let me set the record straight. I do not. I don't expect you to have patience in everything you do because I myself lose it once a day or more but when you're in a place where there's a line and you become a part of that line here's the rules:

  • 1. Remain calm
  • 2. Pay attention and move when the line moves
  • 3. Don't talk on your cell phone and annoy others
  • 4. Don't reek of alcohol
  • 5. Stay put because all your maneuvering isn't going to get you much further than anyone else anyway

I'll admit waiting in line (or "on line" as the New Yorkers say) isn't my favorite thing in the world but you people (and you know who you are) are making it a hell of a lot worse. So get to your inner airport self and remember the five things you should do when you're in line at an airport - Don't Get Me Started!

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