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I don’t normally miss my flights or even cut it particularly close in the airport. Yes, I have occasionally run through the airport, but most of the time, I leave plenty of time and if anything, I waste more time in the airport than is necessary. Since I have a variety of credit cards including ones that come with Priority Pass airport lounge access, it’s really not a big deal for me to get to the airport early. I can do most of my work from anywhere that there’s wifi, so it’s just the same if I’m at home or at an airport lounge. I mean most domestic lounges aren’t amazing (I’m looking at you The Club CVG!) but at least there’s some free snacks and drinks and good wifi.

A Comedy of Errors

For one of my recent trips, I had an early morning flight from Cincinnati to Houston. I thought that it left around 7:15 or 7:30 (more on this later!) so we targeted a 5:30 departure time. I figured there wouldn’t be any traffic and the airport security lines are usually pretty quick (especially with TSA Pre) at CVG. We got out the door on time no problem and indeed there was no traffic as we crossed the river into Kentucky to the airport.

During the pandemic, CVG did a bunch of construction and remodeling and one of the things was that they built a new economy parking lot. They still have the “Valupark” lot but that is now $11 and the “Economy” lot is $9. Now keep in mind that before COVID the Valupark lot was only $6 / day so it’s still a bit of a ripoff. Last time we went to the airport we took the same turn that we always did and went to the $11 / day Valupark lot but no way no how was I going to pay an extra $2 / day if I didn’t have to. That’s the sucker’s price!

But one problem that we only realized today is that the shuttles go pretty much all the time to the Valupark lot but in the Economy lot they apparently only come every 15 minutes. We got there a bit after 6 and there was a shuttle right there at the stop but by the time we parked and got out of our car it left. So we had to wait another 15 minutes for a shuttle. As we walked into the actual airport it was 6:30 a.m. and I got a notification from United that they were boarding our flight. Then I double checked and saw that our flight was scheduled to depart at 7:01 a.m. (only 30 minutes from our arrival)

a person on a track

Sprinting Through the Airport

So we started picking up the pace. As part of the CVG renovations, they moved the parking lot shuttle stops to a different part of the airport which means that it’s further from the security lines. The Precheck security line was just about empty which was great. There were a few people in front of us and as we got to the security checkpoint it splits into 2 different lines. Most people chose the line on the left, so I went right. There was only one couple in front of us, and as they approached the checkpoint, the lady decided that NOW was a good time to open her phone and start trying to find her boarding pass (SHEESH). She eventually found it (it seemed like it took even longer than I expected). She put her phone on the scanner and the TSA officer says “Looks like you’re not Precheck”.

As he’s trying to explain to the lady what she needs to do, her husband decides now is a good time to try to scan HIS boarding pass too. Nope, not Precheck either….

Then we had to wait for a CLEAR passenger (which is why normally I don’t like to go in this line because you have to compete with all the CLEAR passengers) but at least he went right through.

Security went quickly and we managed to actually get right on the people mover train to Terminal A. As we go up the escalator we hear “Final Boarding Call for United Airlines Flight 236”. So then I start sprinting through the airport to our gate. Carolyn couldn’t keep up with me but I figured if I actually got to the gate, they at least wouldn’t shut the boarding door until she got there. We made it no problem and then had to wait forever on the jet bridge (Hurry up and wait, as is typical for airports)

My Drunk Seatmate

My wife and I were in 2 aisle seats across from each other. The lady in the middle seat next to me started talking to me. I was talking to her but it soon became apparent that she was a little tipsy. Here were some of the indications

  • When I told her I was from Cincinnati the first thing she said (loudly) was “The Bengals Suck”. Ok….
  • She also told me (repeatedly) that Cincinnati chili was not good (no disagreement here) and that I needed to try Texas chili
  • She was very confused because as literally the last person to board the plane, they made her check her carryon. So she didn’t know where her bag was going to be.
  • It also looked like she had smuggled a cup of alcohol from what I assume was an airport bar (which as you probably know is not allowed)
  • Then, about 30 minutes before we landed, she asked the flight attendant for a whiskey and coke. The flight attendant gave her one (with double whiskey). I was a bit surprised that the flight attendant gave it to her since we were about to land. Sure enough 10 minutes later the announcement came on for everyone to put their tray tables away. A different flight attendant told her to put her stuff away and she called him an a****** under her breath as he walked away.
  • She was definitely not picking up on the social clues that I was giving her that I was not really interested in conversation (like one-word answers and facing the other direction)

Then when I started doing the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine she asked “What, are you 50?” which okay that’s fair (on both counts) 🙂

All in all it sure was an eventful flight.

The Bottom Line

Ah the joys of flying economy (and Basic Economy at that). Time to start saving up those miles to fly business class next time!

Got any good airport sprinting or missed flight stories? Leave them in the comments

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