It had been 476 day since I had:
- Been in an airport.
- Gone through TSA security.
- Eaten a snack in a Delta SkyClub.
- Boarded a plane.
So I wasn’t too surprised when I got teary-eyed when I scanned my boarding pass and made my way down the jetway to get on the flying tube that would take me out of Florida for the first time since March 12, 2020.
It seems like forever since I got an earlier flight home from a work trip on the day so much of the world shut down. At that time, I thought it would only be a few weeks or at most a couple of months before things got back to normal.
I was so wrong.
I work to support my travel habit so 476 days between plane flights was a first for me, someone who had been flying on airplanes since I was a baby. I couldn’t wait to get on an airplane again.
Because of a four hour delay, I had to wait a bit longer than I had planned, but once I arrived at the airport, things felt so right.
I parked my car, took the train to the terminal, checked my suitcase, and made my way up the escalator to security.
Aside from wearing a mask, things felt the same as they always had. I took a deep breath through my face covering and made my way through security where the TSA agent no longer scribbles on the boarding pass but asked me to briefly pull down my mask so he could make sure my face matched my ID.
Next came the SkyClub where I ordered myself a glass of champagne to enjoy with the grab-and-go food the lounge was now serving. The bartender said they were going back to hot food in about a week, which isn’t as easy to grab and take on the plane. I kind of like the packaged cold snacks.
It was fun to watch the bartender interact with passengers like me who she hadn’t seen for a while. She still remembered some of the regular’s drink orders, which surprised them.
Had it really been 476 days for me? Sitting there snacking and hydrating, it didn’t seem that long.
Soon it was time to head to the gate to get ready to board. I could feel myself getting misty-eyed.
I waited until they called Comfort + and walked towards the door. I scanned my boarding pass and the tears started. I couldn’t believe I was making my way to a plane.
After getting settled in my aisle seat, I turned to the two people next to me and told them I might get a bit teary when we taxied down the runway since it had been 476 days since my last flight and I was really excited.
The Delta employee who was sitting in the window seat said, “Welcome back. We’re happy to see you again.” I was certainly happy to be there.
Sure enough, as we sped down the runway for takeoff, the tears flowed.
I was home, on a plane taking me somewhere to have new experiences.
Here’s to hoping I will never go 476 days between flights ever again.