The Happy Side of the Airport

I hung out today on the happy side of the airport.

Which side is that you ask?

Why the arrival side, of course.

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

People pour down the walkway like milk from a tipped over gallon in little wavelets. Finally, blessedly, released from the tube of recycled air and far too intimate perimeters I could practically see bruised personal space bubbles fluff up and stretch. As they walked toward luggage, toward loved ones, toward whatever they flew here for, a sort of relaxation visibly enveloped nearly every person.

Hey, i even saw two smiling TSA agents. They must have just ended their shifts, because I’m fairly certain they aren’t allowed to smile on the job. At least, I’ve seen very few who do. (Can’t be an easy job, not sure I’d smile either.)

Three dogs also walked up from the deplaning area. Not by themselves. No, humans’ accompanied them. One rode very stylishly on a faux leopard skin doggie suitcase, its little head peeking out at the crowds. Oddly, all three dogs I saw were small white poodle-ish pups. Made me wonder why. I suppose bigger dogs either aren’t allowed or the owner would have to pay full fare for a seat just for the pooch.

I wondered what you’d do if you have doggie allergies and you get on a plane with one of these unusual passengers? Can you request a no doggie flight, like some people can request a no peanut flight?

Just curious. But not curious enough to research it.

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The happy side of the airport most often involves hellos, hugs, kisses, smiles, laughter and cheering. Lots of good stuff going on there. Homecomings almost always feel like a blanket settling on your shoulders. I like that.

Of course, not every passenger gets a greeting in the terminal by someone they know. Some rush past all the mushiness like it’s a disease they might catch. Others dodge the huddled groups and couples with little notice or concern. And often, there’s a taxi, bus, shuttle, another flight, or a car waiting to take them away from this odd place of comings and goings. I would never refer to the arrival lanes outside as a happy place, even though happiness surely happens. It’s private and sheltered, not public. Plus, there’s too much exhaust, too much cigarette smoke, too much noise, too much rushing. it doesn’t feel happy. Not like inside feels happy.

I meant to take pictures, to better illustrate what I experienced as I waited almost an hour. ( I was a little overly excited to get there, and I also overestimated how long it would take to navigate rush hour traffic.) But somehow, even taking iPhone photos seemed intrusive and kind of, I don’t know, rude, I suppose. I attempted a photo of the dog/leopard skin bag but it was blurry and I felt sheepish afterwards. I don’t think I’m very stealthy. And I know I don’t want some stranger snapping my photo at an airport, or any public place for that matter.

I’ve always enjoyed people watching. I find it exceptionally rewarding at an airport both for the variety and the amount of people. Today’s excursion provided some vicarious joy while I waited. And then, my own giddy greetings and hugs made the day completely wondrous.

If you ever find yourself in need of a boost and an airport’s handy, I’d recommend a visit to the happy side.

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Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Happy Side of the Airport

  1. This is a fun post. The arrival side of our local airport (BDL) is a tiny platform at the top of the stairs to Baggage Claim. There’s a narrow walkway past the lines at TSA for departing passengers but there’s no way to take a picture without including the TSA folks and they frown upon that. They may not be allowed to smile, but they can frown. I like people pictures and I don’t mind being in them. Besides, I don’t want to think about the photos the authorities have of me at the airport…shiver.

    Like

    • I love smaller airports for their intimacy and ease of navigation. But I also love the bigger international airports for their anonymity and complexity. Either way, watching people at an airport rocks. I’m sure glad we don’t have to see ourselves in security photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love to people watch, especially in an environment I don’t frequent! Great observations on your part.

    Like

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