Dumb Questions - My Family Travels

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.

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