Airports have never been a comfort zone for me. While rolling my suitcase through the terminal, I find myself lacking the confidence of the common traveler. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t travel via airplane often, especially not alone. (A family of five containing two small children makes for frightening air-travel, let me tell you.) When I’m with other people, I don’t recognize my surroundings or stow them away in my memory for future use. I’m just a mindless cow following its traveling herd. The interesting part of lacking this traveler’s confidence is that it gives me the incredible ability to be adorable as well as stupid.
I was going through the airport process to return home from visiting my Great Aunt Melinda in Naples, Florida. My stupidity had arrived the moment I got to security. First, I left my silver bangles on while going through the metal detector, at which the much-larger-than-me security woman became annoyed. Embarrassed for making an obvious mistake, I nervously declared apologies and rushed backwards through the detector, accidentally setting it off a second time. I quickly turned around to mumble more apologies. After I put my bangles in a bowl and sent them on the conveyor belt and rushed through the metal detector again, I gathered my things and headed off to Concourse B4.
I sat and read my book in silence for about a half-hour, waiting for the plane to board. Eventually, they called for rows 1-3 to board. My seat was in Zone 3, 31F. Now remember, at this point, my brain is not functioning as the logical, intelligent person I am in the non-airport world. I grabbed my things and went up to the middle-aged gate attendant and asked if Zone 1-3 was the same as Row 1-3. The man looked at me over his glasses for the slightest moment, as if looking for a physical sign that I was an idiot, and answered “no” with a downward tilt of the chin.
Embarrassed again, I mumbled a “thank you” and “sorry” before turning away with my bags. When I asked a possessive-looking couple if anyone was sitting in the seat next to them, the girl pointed behind me to the gate attendant I’d just spoken with. When I reached the desk, he asked me for my name. After I gave it to him, he typed wordlessly for a whole minute. While he did this finger dance in silence, I worried he found me too dumb to ride the plane. Finally, he ripped a ticket from the computer and gave it to me, saying nicely “Give me your other ticket. Don’t tell anyone.” I looked at my new ticket. I was now seated in Zone 1, 1F. I boarded the plane and found that I was in the best seat on the entire plane. They had put me in first class for absolutely no reason with absolutely no extra charge. I put my bags in the overhead compartment and sat in the window seat front row, where there was twice as much leg-room as any other first class seat, next to an adorable old woman.
I settled into my seat, placed my drink order -they asked us for our drink orders as soon as we sat down– and I sent my mom a text, telling her the hilariously lucky news. Lounging in my luxurious chair and peering out the window, I considered my splendid circumstances. Smiling, I realized that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Well…maybe there is, but it can get you places.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.