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Sleepless in the airport

Travelling I love. Airports…not so much. Most people will understand why, but let me give you my take on the subject.

Just recently my husband and I found ourselves stuck in an airport for a seven-hour layover. I am sure that many of you have found yourself in the same position, and this was certainly not the first time we had encountered a lengthy wait before our next flight. (After all, living in Saskatchewan means very few direct flights, especially from international destinations. Therefore, connecting flights are to be expected.)

I knew this would be the case. Since we had no other options, I had decided we would just pass the time by finding some comfy chairs (I knew where some were located in the Vancouver airport) and then we could rest or try to sleep. After all, we were not travelling with small children, so how bad could it be?

Well, all my careful planning flew out the window when we discovered that because our layover was between the hours of 11p.m. and six a.m., we would be unable to off-load our checked-in luggage on a connecting carousel and proceed straight to the boarding area. (The same area where the comfy seats were located.)

As a result we had to pick up our luggage, go to the check-in counter, and clear security— both which were closed for the night and would not re-open for at least five hours. Again, as most of you already know, the check-in areas in airports have very limited and very uncomfortable seating. Two hundred passengers scouting out what probably numbered 50 seats was not the best case scenario.

We were lucky to score a couple of seats and prepared to make ourselves as comfortable as possible for the next few hours. The lack of suitable sleeping accommodations did not seem to deter some folks were able to power nap on the floor (mostly young folks). But I often have difficulty falling asleep in the comfort of my own bed, never mind on a rock-hard chair and surrounded by strangers. Sleep would not be option on this particular night.

So to pass the time I checked my email, scrolled through Facebook, reviewed some finds on Pinterest, checked my email again (Nobody contacts you after midnight and it’s too late to text friends if you want them to still remain your friend.) and played several games of solitaire and Sudoku. That was the first hour!

At least I was able to add steps to my FitBit count since there is only so long that one’s bottom can endure those hard chairs.

It was gratifying to know that we could at least grab a coffee at the Tim Hortons which remained open 24/7. Say what you want about Timmie’s, but obviously Starbucks was too urbane to stay open for folks who opt for economy travel. Good old Tim Hortons was there for us in our hour of need.

I also used Google to look up a few items of interest for future use. One of these was airport sleeping accommodations. I did discover that some airport hotels offer rooms on a four or six hour basis. (Apparently the stigma of renting a hotel room on an hourly basis no longer exists and savvy travellers are utilizing this service. I, for one, will be giving this option some serious consideration for upcoming travel.)

After that it was waiting game. Waiting for time to pass. Waiting for the check-in counters to open and, after that, waiting for security to unlock their doors, and then waiting in line as only one station was screening travellers. Finally we were able to proceed to our gate where we found a nearby restaurant and enjoyed some breakfast. (At least we didn’t have to wait long for that.) Then we waited for boarding to begin and once on board we waited for takeoff.

Ironically, I also used this time to search out our next travel destination. Obviously all that waiting and my uncomfortable night in the airport was not enough to dissuade me from future travel.

Oh, there was one other bonus, now I had material for my next blog.