The airport is a funny place to find yourself, especially if you’re travelling internationally. For many it is simply a stopover point on route to their final destination. For some it’s the start of something, or the end of something. Some people arrive exhausted, others unable to sleep; it’s one of the only places you could enjoy a cocktail at 7am in the morning and a hearty meal, while others dine on a bagel and coffee.
Airports are massive in size, and during regular scheduled flights it’s tough to recognize the scale of it all as you hustle and bustle through the crowds of people waiting to pass security or immigration. But being stuck in an airport for a 12-hour period you truly do begin to realize the ominous nature it can produce…
After spending three and a half months throughout South East Asia, Rose and I decided to set our sights on Nepal for some crisp mountain air, beautiful scenery, and meditation retreats. Booking a flight with a quick 2-hour layover in Malaysia we were excited to reach our destination.
The first flight went swimmingly and we arrived on time, two hours before our next departure. We decided to hang out in a coffee shop and I had a little nap, unfortunately we were unaware of the one-hour time difference from Bangkok. We awoke, checked the time, and lazily decided to begin making our way to the gate for its opening time. However, I decided to glance at the screen detailing flight information and noticed that the time on the monitor contradicted the time on our phone. As my heart began to race, the grogginess slowly faded away and I clued in to the harsh reality that 8:20pm on the monitors was five minutes past our departure time of 20:15pm.
Although we still made the mad dash for the gate, we arrived only in time to see our plane pulling away slowly from the gate and being taxied on to the runway. Now I’ve never missed a flight on my own terms, in fact the feeling of it was a little fun, but in the end it sucks. Not only did we have to pay $90 USD to get a flight the next day, but we had to spend the entire night in the airport sleeping on spurts of 40-minutes to an hour on hard benches in a brightly lit corridor.
Any large space designed to house and herd large groups of people seems eerie when deserted. The long rows of cues empty, the waiting rooms vacant, and the mass sound of voices, rolling bags, and footsteps are all but depleted. You can only hope that whatever airport you’re stuck in has free Wi-Fi or you’re carrying a good book to try and pass the time. Sleep does not come easy.
Bright fluorescent lights line the walls and it seems those who are waiting overnight as well have already snagged the good spots. You want to lie down and rest while trying to protect your bags and not look like a complete fool at it. It’s a delicate balance. Luckily, KFC had some comfortable seats and an outlet to watch a flick, and McDonalds was 24/7 so after a late night snack (Rose’s first Big Mac) we found ourselves seven seats on a line of benches and settled in for the night.
Although we swore we set our watches and phones to the correct time, we again woke with a feeling of ease that was quickly shot down by realizing we were again an hour behind. Luckily, we’d only missed the opening of our gate. It was a fun experience to go through, and one I’ll certainly make a strong effort to avoid in the future!