I get excited just booking a flight to travel. Anywhere.
Though, admittedly, my most regular destination is somewhere in Florida. Given the opportunity if you need to take a plane to get someplace, I am more than willing to go. So, when I was readying myself for yet another flight to Florida, I was counting the moments till boarding time.
Upon arrival, I rolled my one suitcase – mind you, I would have liked it to be more than just the one, but since the addition of the surcharge on bags, I have trimmed down my packing, just a bit. On my shoulder, my one carry-on bag was strategically balanced.
I went through security, with a minimum of hold-ups. The girl ahead of me couldn't get her shoe untied, which slowed the line a bit, but presented a scrap of fodder for a humorous man to stage a stand-up routine as she struggled. She laughed, and what could have been a moment of frustration became one of fun.
Admittedly, my trip to Miami was one I had bee much anticipating. A weekend with my son in the sun, leaving pouring rain behind for sandy beaches had an undeniable draw. I had worked tirelessly on edits for my new book, met deadlines for writing on another project that was due and cooked and cleaned, leaving my house spotless and my refrigerator filled.
When I arrived at the gate, I was ready for a snack and to get to the first pages of the novel that I had stashed in my bag. Getting a snack was easily taken care of, and lots of fun since I determined the minute I stepped into the airport, I was officially on vacation. This meant that I could indulge in whatever calorie laden treat caught my eye. And, let me just say, I indulged. With snack in hand, I made my way to my gate.
The gate area was filled with those standing, and those sitting. However, much to my dismay, I didn't seem to see any open seats. With my indulgent snack balanced precariously in my hand, I felt a certain sense of disappointment and a bit of frustration begin to ebb into my vacation mood.
There were plenty of seats, not taken up by people, which I could have sat in. But, instead of being taken up by people these seats were filled with excess carry-ons. Piled next to people, the carry-ons had been placed in the empty seats. Some people had carry-ons strategically set on either side of them, with their hands resting protectively straddling both the seats, their luggage occupied.
I surveyed the situation, and made eye contact with a man who seemed to have found himself in the same situation as I. His hands were full, although he was minus a carry-on but was clearly without a seat. He shook his head in frustration.
Within a few minutes, frustration got the better of the man with the plight similar to mine. Determinedly, he headed for gate counter. Within moments, an announcement was made requesting that those seated, who had luggage resting on empty seats, were to remove said luggage immediately.
A collective sigh of displeasure arose, moments after the announcement was made. Some complied, and surprisingly some simply ignored the request, leaving their luggage where it sat. One woman even patted her still seated luggage reassuringly.
Feeling a bit awkward, after a few moments had past, I found my way to an empty seat.
I chose a seat next to an older woman who had just removed a huge bag from the empty seat I was now occupying. She was clearly chagrined. The woman patted my leg, and said in a stage whisper, “I didn't know there was a problem.” As she said that, she moved her luggage closer to her, and set her handbag atop it.
I smiled in return, and pulled my book from out of my bag. My mouth was watering in anticipation of the delicious indulgence that awaited me. I had a seat, a book and a snack. This mama was on her way to Miami to see her son. What could be better than that? All had been righted in my world of travel: with a man voicing his displeasure at a situation which was clearly not one that was considerate of all involved, an announcement addressing the situation and a few people willing to comply.
When awaiting the take off a flight in a terminal filled with other flyers, have the grace to remember it is you that is the passenger, and deserves a seat, not your luggage, handbag or your chosen carry-on.