Despite the convenience of online check-ins, I still make it a point to be at the airport early for my flights. Even when I wasn’t completely ready for my vacation to end, we got to Kahului Airport in Maui early enough for a short inter-island flight to Honolulu. These flights arrive in a smaller Terminal 1 and since this short leg was a totally separate flight from my flight to Manila, I needed to wait for my luggage and check in again at the bigger Terminal 2. There were a few people in my Maui flight who did the same.
When we exited the small terminal, there’s a choice to wait for an airport shuttle or just walk. It’s an easy walk, the airport attendant said. Armed with our luggage and carryons, five of us decided to walk instead of waiting for the shuttle. How far could it be?
It wasn’t far but, hey, it was very humid. I didn’t remember the walk being this far, I said to myself, referring to my experience a week ago. Then it dawned on me that I came then from the Arrivals area which was definitely closer to Terminal 1. And not only the Departures gates were farther, United gates were situated at the very last part of the departures area. What luck. We were walking from gate to gate, not ready to admit that ooops, we could have waited for the shuttle right? It really felt like a long walk and for some strange reason we were rushing; I didn’t know their flight time but I definitely wasn’t late.
When we got to the check in gate, that’s when we smiled at each other and commented on the length of that walk. It was a good workout of sorts. No one also said anything about why we didn’t enter the first check-in gate and just walked inside the airport for a cooler, more leisurely walk.
The connecting flight to Guam left 50 minutes late. I already napped and watched the latest episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and we still weren’t moving. The announcement kept repeating how our safety was their first priority and they haven’t gotten the final clearance to take off. When we were finally taxiing, I checked and confirmed I was seated behind an exit row. A middle-aged couple were occupying the seats. They certainly looked like they can open the door and pave the way for evacuation. Unless the plane explodes mid-air. You take your chances every damn day.
When we got to Guam, my connecting flight to Manila only had five minutes left for boarding. The plane I was on was a Boeing 777 with more or less 360 passengers so going out from the economy seats took forever (I meant longer). I asked a flight crew if the ground crew was advised that we’re arriving late. She checked a paper and told me there were around 60 of us connecting to Manila so they will wait for us for sure.
Even with this assurance, I still sprinted the hell out of there. See, Guam’s airport is small. And I only ran from Gate 8 to Gate 14. It wasn’t long but given my poor fitness level, it felt like running from a fast zombie out to kill me. Walkators were of little help. I kept hearing names from my flight including mine advising us that the plane was ready to depart. I arrived at the boarding gate panting, dizzy even. I got to my seat, disoriented. I was still catching my breath when someone asked me if I was at the correct seat. I wasn’t. I moved to the correct one and settled in.
We got to Manila 30 minutes later than scheduled. When people started unbuckling their seatbelts and getting bags in overhead bins, I remained in my seat. I was still tired. I was home. There’s no need to hurry this time.