I was sitting at O’Hare Airport a couple days ago just watching the people go by.
It’s hard to believe, but I was about to get on an airplane for the first time since early 2013. And it was the first time I was departing on a “road trip” since I left for spring training in February 2012.
Gratuitous plug here … I was traveling to visit with a client. I indeed WILL write for money! I enjoy telling my stories here, but I have mouths to feed. Please contact me for all your content needs. Remember, content is king!
OK, back to the trip. It’s a different day than the last time I traveled. Somehow, I was able to get from the “departing the taxi” portion of my day to the “I cleared security” phase in 18 minutes. At a busy O’Hare. During morning rush, no less. Times sure have changed. I didn’t have to partially disrobe to get through the security checkpoint. Heck, I didn’t have to pull out my laptop or empty everything out of my pockets – include comb and pens.
For someone who used to fly charter and never go through the terminal, this wasn’t bad at all.
And then I entered the Terminal 3 Food Court, and all I could think was “Best Food Court Ever.” Wow, I sound like such a rookie. The thoughts of my first road trip in baseball are starting to float through my head.
I got to the gate and started my people-watching experience in earnest. I quickly figured out that the first 100 people to get on a plane use the airline app on their smartphones to board – and everybody else uses a physical boarding pass. Who knew? I, of course, was prepared to go either way.
That brings about a naïve little question … Why do people jockey in line to be the first person on the airplane – when you already know you’re sitting in seat 1A?
I haven’t been on a plane in a long time. Thank goodness they still spend a full minute explaining how to put on a seat belt, as I had forgotten that you have to grab the strap and pull tight.
A few thoughts/musings …
My friendly pilot must have been in a hurry to get here. We landed 30 minutes early, which meant sitting on a tarmac for 30 extra minutes. I guess that’s why you’re supposed to fly the speed limit.
In order to get there that fast, we must have flown fast – as the landing was a tick on the hard side. You knew you were coming in hot when you can feel the brakes being applied before the wheels touched down. Now that I’m a travel writer, too, I have to be reminded that commercial planes can’t stop on a dime no matter how hard the pilot tries.
Actually, the landing reminded me of one from my Cubs days. We were flying into Utica for the Hall of Fame Game – as Utica was the closest airport to Cooperstown. Apparently, no one had warned the pilot that Utica has an extremely short runway. He started his descent, then pulled up and circled. He started a second time, then pulled up and circled again. Obviously, he wasn’t too confident about landing this puppy in one piece.
The third time, he went for it. We landed so hard that oxygen mask compartments flew open when we hit the ground.
I’m doing a lot of this typing between flights, as my trip continues on to Chattanooga. A few more thoughts:
This is a new career, yet I can’t help but reminisce about my first baseball road trip. Come back in the next day or two, as I’ll be working on that tale on my return flight home.
Until then, I get to hang with Principal Richard Belding! It’s a brand new world out there.