I have a “Do-Not-Like-To-Rush” policy that I like to adhere to whenever I’m planning on doing “anything” and that includes traveling. Instead of getting to the airport the 2 hours ahead of time that the customer service agents recommend, I usually am there 3 1/2 to 4 hours ahead of my flight. Why? Because I get there at a leisurely pace and going through all of the checkpoints, scans, pat downs and de-shoeing is so much less a hassle when you’ve got time.
Yesterday I got to the airport 3 1/2 hours before my scheduled flight time. I made it through check-in, customs, and the security check-points with ease. Getting to my gate was an issue because of the level of renovation going on at Los Angeles International Airport. It seemed as if every nook and cranny of that airport had some type of construction going on. I watched many people late for their flights trying to navigate detour signs, whole boarded up sections and gate changes. I felt sorry for the ones that got stuck in the long lines at the metal detector, dancing anxiously around grumbling about the flight they were about to miss. I let people cut in front of me 3 different times out of empathy for their plight.
I know there are times when falling behind in time cannot be helped, especially if you’ve got children or an elder to care for. I’ve been there.
When I finally got to my gate there were fewer seats available than normal. Most of the gate area was boarded up and this cut the seating to more than half of what it normally is. Since I was early it was really easy to find a seat. I found a seat by a window that had an electrical outlet which could charge my phone and laptop and sat down to start communicating with you guys.
About an hour and 20 minutes before time to board the flight, the area is packed with most people standing. I look around the room and there is an elderly woman, alone, leaning against a pillar holding a cane and her carry-on luggage. You know I didn’t have a choice in the matter.
I placed my things down in my well positioned chair and went over to get her and escort her back over to take my seat.
Don’t clap or give me any accolades because I was fuming that one of those game-playing, burger munching, self-absorbed youngsters didn’t get up before me. I’m just being honest. She thanked me profusely and I let her know that I could not have had it any other way.
So I went and joined the throng of late-comers standing against a construction wall.
When I boarded my flight I had a thought. What if my getting there early and not rushing was meant, not for my own comfort, but to place me in a position to give aid or comfort to another? I like that thought. I think I’ll keep my “Do-Not-Like-To-Rush” policy. It seems to be working.