Airports are home to life’s most random, hilarious moments

An airport can either cause you more stress than anything or be the funniest place on Earth

dsc06277

Hanna Preston is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. 

Riley Walsh | Cavalier Daily

Airports can be incredibly stressful. They overwhelm most people who step foot in them and rightfully so. There’s a lot to worry about — making it to the gate on time, getting through TSA, going through customs if you’re traveling internationally and making sure you don’t get lost. I understand all of that, but I still consider the airport one of my all-time favorite places to go. I know, I know — you probably think I’m some sort of masochist. But I think an airport provides original comedy. So, I am going to break down some experiences I’ve had at airports which defend why I believe an airport is the embodiment of pure comedy.

First, time zones do not exist in airports. Time does exist, as you have to make it to your flight on time — but time zones do not. Every person in an airport, or at least an international one, is on a different body clock. A traveler operates according to a time zone, either from the place they’re going to or coming from. 

A few years back, I went to the airport to pick up some family members after they had flown into New York from London. It was around 4 p.m., and I was wide awake. When my family got off the plane, they were still functioning on English time. We sat down near baggage claim, and within five minutes, my niece had fallen asleep because it was nighttime for her. I made conversation with some of the other passengers on the flight. I found out one couple had actually originally flown out of India, so it was some warped version of the morning for them. Only in an airport could I witness a variety of time zones, all in one space. 

Additionally, I notice the bizarre combination of time zones when it comes to meal habits in airports. I was at Heathrow Airport one time at 7 a.m. and sat down in a restaurant to order some breakfast. I ordered a cappuccino. The man next to me ordered a martini. 

Now, I’m not saying it’s unheard of for someone to drink coffee while another drinks an alcoholic beverage. However, I am saying that drinking a martini in public at 7 a.m. is generally unheard of. In any other environment, this man would’ve been met with judgmental stares for seeking alcohol so early in the morning. In fact, most restaurants — outside of airports — that are open early for breakfast don’t even have open bars. However, no one seemed to mind, which exemplifies my point that time zones don’t exist in airports. All you need to do is to look at the completely unstructured sleep and meal schedules people follow in an airport to notice this.

Speaking of sleep, people will do anything to get some sleep in airports. Anything. People will get to their gates over an hour early just to take up a row of seats to lay across. 

I’ve had my own fair share of sleep-deprived moments in airports. In high school, my senior class took a trip to Disney World, and by the time we were in the airport to fly home, we were exhausted. We gathered all our stuffed animals, blankets and sweatshirts, put them on the floor at our gate and created a makeshift mattress for all of us to nap on. There were definitely some looks and fingers pointed at us. If we were elementary school kids at a sleepover, then this would have been deemed acceptable — maybe even cute. But we were young adults in a completely public, international hub filled with thousands of strangers. If we were in an office, grocery store or campus — just to name a few places — on any random day, this would have never been seen as normal.

Additionally, in airports, somebody’s family, if not your own, is always on the verge of falling apart. Now, I’m not saying that I want something awful to happen in or to a family unit, but there is a reason so many comedies have poked fun at family fights. Tensions run high in airports, so the smallest inconvenience could set one family member off, which could then trigger the rest. I’ll use my own family as an example. 

We had just gotten to the airport and discovered that someone had forgotten to pack the Advil. The blame was thrown around for the hour we spent in line for security. By the time we passed security, I left to buy Advil for my newfound headache, my 15-year-old brother was threatening emancipation, my mother was fed up with both of us and started taking it out on a poor TSA agent and my father stood five feet away pretending not to know any of us. All of this happened because of a small bottle of Advil. Once we were settled on the plane, we all realized how comical the fight was and couldn’t stop laughing about it.

The bottom line is that people get desperate in airports. Airports are the homes of some of the weirdest moments because of the commonality of charged emotions in such a public space. Ask anyone who has traveled by plane if they have a crazy airport story, and I’m willing to bet money that they do. 

On a slightly more serious note though — airports are understandably hard to navigate. With the potential for things to go awry comes stress, anxiety and agitation. From my experience, finding the humor in these situations has made dealing with airports so much easier. Nowadays, I even look forward to seeing what on Earth I’m going to encounter the next time I go to one.

Hanna Preston is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com. 

related stories