Beating the Holiday Airport Blues

JFK Airport and planes in the sunset, Dunheger Travel Blog


Well, it’s that time of year again and we know all too well the frustrations of traveling by plane around the holiday season. The long lines, lost luggage and extensive security checks almost seems to suck the life right out of the spirit of the season. While it’s true that most people don’t necessarily enjoy having to transition through the airport, make connections and layovers and sit in a crowded tin can in the sky just to see our families, there are some things you can do to make your experience less daunting and the time spent in the airports pass by just a little quicker.

First off, if you’re planning on beating the blues, make sure that you have the perfect playlist queued and ready for the moment your feet touch the curb. Try having a little fun the night before and imagine each and every step you’ll take, right up to fastening your seat belt, leaving room for removing your head phones through the security check and picking them right back up again on the other side. Create a play list that will have you grinning from ear to ear with each step and simultaneously blocking out the horrific cacophony of loud speakers and screeching families who aren’t having as much fun as you.

Airport Check-in, Dunheger Travel Blog
Airport Check-In, Flickr © BostonCatholic

Second, make sure that you have everything situated, organized and in an easy to access place. Passport or photo ID and boarding passes together in a zipper pocket, the smallest carry-on possible, and also make sure that jewelry and anything you have in your pockets are kept to a minimum for a quick pass through the check point. No one wants to be standing at the end of the collection area fumbling with loose change, too many necklaces and boots that lace to your knees. Prepare for the inevitable and you will save yourself a lot of headache. Plus, now that you’ve made it through security, a song should be playing in an almost perfect spot to pick your spirits right back up again.

Airport Security, Dunheger Travel Blog
Airport Security, Flickr © redjar

You’ve made it through the worst part, so now it’s time to reward yourself. Since you are such an astute passenger and you have obviously made it to the airport with ample time to spare, why not enjoy a refreshing cocktail or a hot caramel latte in the corridor while waiting for your plane to arrive. Making sure that you have enough time is a key point when dealing with the hassles of the airport. Not only will it keep your stress level to a minimum, but it will allow you this special reward time to relax and make last minute phone calls before boarding. Before you know it, you’ll be in the air relaxing and watching a movie.

Now that you’ve made it through your flight and you’re pulling up the runway to your destination, it can be easy to become frustrated by being so close and lose every bit of peace that you worked so hard to achieve. Finish listening to a song that’s playing, turn your phone on and check texts or continue reading your book until you have come to a complete stop. Too often we become antsy, hastily shifting around and disturbing other passengers or standing in the aisles when the doors aren’t even open. None of these things help you get off the plane any faster. By taking a deep breath and waiting until the line starts moving, you will keep your blood pressure level and be able to inwardly laugh at the disgruntled passengers pushing their ways to the front of a tightly sealed airplane.

Crowds at Baggage Claim, Dunheger Travel Blog
Crowds at Baggage Claim, Flickr © Scott

And even though there’s nothing that anyone can do about the grueling amount of time that it takes for the luggage turnstiles to start producing baggage, and even though, somehow, our bag is always the last one out, breath easy. Remember that you have just made it hundreds if not thousands of miles in just a few short hours without contracting influenza like the pioneer days and you are only moments away from walking out the airport and never looking back… until your vacation is over, that is.