The instant the seatbelt light dings off, my mom ejects from her airplane seat and launches herself out the cabin door as though she’d been shot from a cannon. She charges across the airport, jostling other travelers out of her way. I wonder if she think’s there’s going to be a cash prize for the first passenger to set foot on the sidewalk outside the airport?
For me, that “prize” might be a super-close-up view of the sidewalk after I collapse in a pile of stressed-out agony. Yippee.
So instead of trying to break land-speed records, I relax when the plane lands. I let Mom and all the other door-chargers fling themselves out of the plane in front of me, which builds my good travel karma as well as letting me chill out. I’ll get up all leisurely-like, stretch my stiffest muscles, and wait patiently. On big planes, after my stretch session I often sit back down and read a few more pages of my book while the aircraft empties.
After a long flight, I’ll take advantage of wheelchair service from the gate to baggage claim. Most attendants will find a bathroom for me to use–often one that’s out of the way, making it less line-ridden than the restroom nearest the landing gate.
At baggage claim, many of the chargers are shifting anxiously from foot to foot in front of the still-empty silver conveyor as I roll up 15-20 minutes later. (Ha ha.) I don’t fight for a space “up front” nor do I insist that my travel companion jockey for position. My suitcase is bright purple with white hyacinths printed on it–no one’s going to take it without me noticing.
All told, I “waste” 10 to 30 minutes at the airport by relaxing on landing. By wasting those minutes, I save myself probably half a day’s worth of travel time by dodging the too-fast walking, speed-power suitcase lifting, and unnecessary stressing that comes trying to get out of the airport first.
And despite my mom’s apparent terror, no hotel room or condo has ever evaporated during those extra 20 minutes it take me to get there.