An Argument for Leaving Early

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I left Boston this morning on a 6:45 AM flight. Southwest is my preferred airline, and I’m happy with them. I’ve flown out of Boston Logan before, and without any significant issues as I recall. I’m not a frequent flier, but I’m familiar with the routine. The hotel I was staying at is a mere 15 minutes from the airport terminal, and the limo service I used recommended I be picked up at 5:00 AM. Did I mention I’m a nervous flyer???
I chose to have the car come early, and true to form, my car was waiting for me at my chosen pickup time – 4:45. I was dropped promptly at 5:00 for my 6:45 flight. All seems well.
After securing my boarding pass, I headed to check my bag. This is why I like Southwest. I travel with one bag, and they allow you to check one bag free. They said I would never use high school math. HA! So I get into the short line and wait….and wait…and wait.
There really should be no reason to wait at the counter for 20 minutes at 5:00 in the morning, but wait I did, effectively chewing 20 minutes from my substantial time cushion. Still, I had over an hour, but I hadn’t gone through security yet. This was another painfully slow process. No reason why, I guess travelers and TSA employees alike find it hard to get moving in the wee hours of the morning. Fifteen more minutes off of my cushion. Now I was down to a little more than an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave, 30 minutes before the recommended time to be at the gate. Still okay.
The purpose of this blog is to show how quickly time can get away from you, especially at the airport. Had my limo reservation not been changed, or the car arrived late, or traffic conditions been poor, it could have been a much different story. I was able to easily make my flight, but I’m a nervous flyer, so I account for every possible delay…some real…some imaginary. For every nervous flyer though, at least one person exists that believes that time wasted waiting at the airport is…well…time wasted. These are the same people running through the terminals, bumping people along the way complaining that this or that caused them to be late. “I better not miss my flight! I have an important meeting”!!!
Why not just go early? Having a car service pick me up with the intention of clearing through security with at least an hour and a half to spare is a good plan. I prefer two hours, but any number that allows you to stroll leisurely to your gate without worry is a good number.
Why would you want to start your trip with a racing pulse and sweat soaking your clothes?

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.