Tuesday, February 13, 2007

10 Hours in an Airport

I was in Denver last week for a training conference, along with about 30 others. Everyone was to leave after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday so we were dropped off at the airport about noon. My flight was not scheduled to leave until 9:40 p.m. I knew I'd have a long wait just hanging out until my flight started boarding. What I hadn't realized was that I wouldn't be able to check my suitcase at the ticket counter more than 4 hours before my flight. So I had to hang out in the terminal outside of security until 5:40 p.m.!

10 hours in the airport was just a little ridiculous, but not something that happens very often, so I just enjoyed the experience! Actually I felt a little like that the main character in The Terminal! I kept moving around just for a change of scenery. I walked around the edge of upper level just to see what shops there were. There was a series of glass cases down on one end with a museum type exhibit about a pioneer aviator. I don't remember his name but his statue is just outside the security area on the middle level. Walking around dragging a heavy suitcase soon got old, so I found a place to camp out on the middle level across from the fountain to read, knit, and people-watch. I had bought a copy of Jane Eyre the day before. I don't think I've read it since I was a teenager. Jane got through school and had just met Mr. Rochester when I put "her" aside, and found a phone booth to sit in to visit with my mother on my cell phone for awhile. (It's quieter in a phone booth.) Finally the time arrived when I could check my suitcase. In my explorations of the main terminal earlier I discovered a sky bridge to Concourse A that you could walk across rather than take the shuttle train. (If you've never been to the Denver airport, there is a main terminal, then 3 concourses, which are each connected by an underground shuttle train.) I decided to walk across to my concourse for something different. There's a security checkpoint about half way across, so I didn't have to go through security in the main terminal. There was no one ahead of me in line at the ticket counter or at security either one, so flying late does have its advantages I guess. I visited the shops on Concourse A, bought some supper, sat down at a vacant gate to eat, listened to some radio dramas on MP3, knitted, and people-watched some more. Finally, I decided to hike to my gate in outer Siberia! It was one of Frontier's commuter gates on the ground level way out beyond the furthest gate on the main level. At the end of the concourse there's a down escalator and then a lengthy hike to the very end to gate A62! We boarded by going outside and walking across the tarmac over to the plane and up the stairs. Very interesting experience! The gate area reminded me of that little airport in the sit-com Wings. There were several gates for Horizons, but I also noticed 2 or 3 for "Great Lakes Airlines" which flew to obscure places like Gillette, Wyoming. There was one other Horizons flight going to a nearby city about the same time at the gate next to mine, but other than that it was quiet down there.

I sure wouldn't want to do it every week, but for once I think it was kinda fun! I have to say, I was more than glad to tumble into bed shortly after midnight Pacific time.

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