Dateline O’Hare 3am
Many regular and occasional alike despise the stress and hectic atmosphere associated with airports, transit, the TSA and air travel in total. Most message boards are populated with comments such as “Well I just don’t fly anymore,” or my favorite overused term, “Everything is such a cattle call…”
Apart from the TSA’s reactionary procedures and lack of continuity I still love flying. I love watching airplanes and people come and go. I appreciate the experience of hopping across the country in a matter of hours, and always remember how fortunate I am I to sit in an airplane seat in the evening, (even in coach,) and wake up in Europe or South America the next morning.
But if the chaotic experience is too much consider this tip: Fly at ridiculously early hours. When flying back home to Denver from the east, (NYC, Florida or the midwest,) I sometimes pick the earliest flight possible. The result is far fewer fellow travelers, few plane delays, (as they’re already positioned to start the day,) half filled cabins and in general more elbow room in all regards. (And kids stay asleep at that hour right?)
In this case I took that plan to the extreme, leaving my house in Michigan in the wee, wee hours to catch a plane in Chicago. I grabbed coffee at a 24 hour diner before dropping off the rental car, where I had my own personal shuttle bus waiting for me.
O’Hare was surreal. I was one of the very few persons in one of the world’s biggest and busiest airports. Just myself and the security staff, cleaning crew and a few other campers sprawled out probably not by choice. I found a quiet place to nap, and by the time I ambled through security the only other crowd I saw was checking in for United’s relief flight to Haiti – described in this FlyerTalk thread.
Having your own personal international airport is not a bad way to travel.