Planes and Panic - My Family Travels

I inhaled to the maximum capacity my lungs could expand. My hands shook with excitement for the journey. I exhaled. Before me stood my bear of a dad, bold and broad shoulders with his bushy mustache, next to him my mate of three years, slouching with his goofy smile. They wished me luck, and I returned with a slight smile. This is it, I thought. If you don’t jump through this airport security right now, I doubt you’ll ever leave. I waved once more and headed through the metal detector as I have so many times in my life. Removal of a belt and a pair of shoes later, I was well on my way to my first plane of the day. I was on my way to Salt Lake City from Reno Nevada, and I was on my own. Usually this was a journey I’d make with my three older sisters, and they took care of everything. It was a yearly occurrence, and never had we once had a problem. Every summer we were handed over to my mother for summer visitation, due to my parent’s divorce, long before I really understood what exactly was occurring. I was headed to the well-known and often talked about state of Minnesota. (How often do people hear of this state? North of it I was born, good old North Dakota. My best friend claims North Dakota a myth because it’s never really talked about.) Land of a thousand lakes, beautiful and with grass; Which is something I certainly come to miss in a desert such as Nevada. As soon as I landed in Salt Lake, I knew this day was going to end rough. Apparently the airport was under construction, and my plane had just released me into a concrete hallway, barren of direction. Finally, I stumbled into a crowded room with a neat little help desk. While waiting in the dead-still line, an associate smiled and politely inquired: “May I ask why you’re in this line? We’re trying to cut down easy questions before they reach the desk.” Shyly I responded with my confusion and how I didn’t quite know where to go. She asked for my ticket, and I lightly placed it in her palm. “I’ll be back in just a few moments.” Her heels clacking on the tile floor as she trotted up to a scanner of some sort. Her face looked intense for a moment, and she handed it back promptly. “I apologize for this inconvenience, but your travel has been interrupted.”  My mouth fell agap. Me? Miss a flight? Never…! I fumbled into my pocket and realized my phone was off, I had to tell my dad as soon as I could. I pressed the ‘on’ button and waited an eternity for the loading screen. I held my breath as the loading bar completed…And began to panic as the screen flickered…And reloaded the loading bar. My brand new fancy touch screen phone was having a system error at a critical moment. For half-an-hour I waited in this line, watching this loading bar. Finally I made it to the front of the line and explained. I asked to use the lady’s phone, and called my dad to let him know. The airport was generous and booked me in a 300 dollar hotel room, and rerouted me with an extra plane. From then on,  I was using the airport payphones, and boy did they smell like sewer. Good thing earlier I slipped a 20 in a vending machine. It sounded like I won the lottery, but provided enough quaters for the remainder of my trip…

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