Home > Uncategorized > Travel Tale #1- You Won’t Make It

Travel Tale #1- You Won’t Make It

“You won’t make it.” Three times I asked people if I could make my flight from Phoenix to Dallas and that was their answer. “You won’t make it.” Not very encouraging.

Backing up the story a bit. It was a Friday afternoon in Phoenix. I’d been working since 6:15 am (not to mention having been gone since Sunday). The original plan had been to leave at 4 pm, but I pushed it back to 6 pm when I needed more time to finish the job.

With plenty of time to make my flight, I left the site and headed towards the Phoenix airport. I took in the scenery, rolled the window down (you can do that in February in Phoenix), and let my thoughts roll to the 10k I’d signed up to run the following morning.

And then I hit traffic. Dead stop, not moving traffic. Unfortunately, the clock continued to tick.

Anxiety replaced relaxation. My foot tapped. I tightened the grip on the steering wheel. I had to make this flight. The next flight would take off at 8 pm, landing at 11 pm, and putting me home at midnight. The 10k in the morning started at 7 am. I had to make this flight.

And at this moment, I remembered the need to stop and fill up the rental car with gas. Oh, this was not looking good.

I broke through the traffic, possibly running a red light or two (yellow when I zoomed by) and swerved into  a gas station. Of course, I picked the world’s slowest pump.

I checked my watch. The flight departed in 50 minutes. The shuttle from the rental car to the terminal took 10-15 minutes. I may have yelled at the gas pump to hurry up.

The gas pump clicked off, having finally reached full. I jumped back in the car, swerved back into traffic, darted in and out of lanes, and up the ramp to the rental car return. Reaching the return lane, I turned off the engine, flung open the door, popped the trunk, and grabbed my stuff.

“Would you like us to email-” the attendant asked.

“Yes,” I said and ran towards the building. Once inside the rental car building, I ran up the escalator and became that guy. “Excuse me…Excuse me…Excuse me” as I dashed between people. At the top, I sprinted towards the door and flagged down a shuttle that had already begun to leave.

He stopped and let me on.

What a nice guy.

I fell back against the bench. Out of breath. I’m going to make it. Yes.

“Thank you for visiting Phoenix. This shuttle is headed towards Terminal 2 and serves the following airlines…”

American wasn’t one of them.

I checked my flight information.

Terminal 4. I needed to go to Terminal 4.

I looked over my shoulder. We had already departed the rental car center. I banged my head against the metal pole.

Perhaps more than once.

I have to make my flight.

The driver, unlike me, stopped at the yellow light on the way to Terminal 2. He also appeared to be doing his best to go as slow as possible. It’s as if he were paid by the hour or faced disciplinary sanctions for going over 20 miles per hour.

As we approached Terminal 2, I stood up, grabbed my bags, and departed the van as soon as he stopped. I looked up and saw the signs for terminal 4. I took off running down the sidewalk.

I’m gonna make it, I’m gonna make it, I’m gonna make it.

And then I reached the end of the building, but there was no Terminal 4. Nor were there any taxis.

“Excuse me,” I said to a nearby woman, who looked like she worked for the airport, “how do I get to Terminal 4?”

She pointed towards a sidewalk I’d missed. “Follow that walkway to the elevators. Take them to the top floor. That’ll get you to Terminal 3. Then you take the sky train to Terminal 4.”

I started to sprint, but stopped when I saw another employee sitting in a golf cart.

“Can you take me to Terminal 4?”

“I can take you to the elevator for Terminal 3.”

“Good enough. I have a flight that leaves in half an hour.”

“I don’t think you’re going to make it.”

Thanks for the encouragement.

At least she went faster than the rental car shuttle. As soon as we neared the elevators, I jumped off, ran towards the closing doors, stuck my arm in, and got in. I got off at the top floor, ran out, and…waited.

Sky train was late.

When the train arrived, I dashed on and positioned myself closest to the door. The train started slow.

Seriously, did everything move slow in Phoenix?

After we rounded a corner, the train sped up and arrived at Terminal 4. The doors opened and I ran out. Which way? Which way? To the left. I sprinted to the left, down the escalator, around a corner, and down a hallway.

I heard something drop from my backpack. I stopped and turned around. My backpack hadn’t been closed all the way so a few things had fallen out. I shoved them back in and zipped it closed. Back to running.

The plane left in twenty minutes and I’d hadn’t even gotten to security. Where was security?

I turned another corner and finally saw the line of people waiting to go through security. Fortunately, I’m TSA pre-approved, so I went through the line with no people (one thing going my way) and flew through security within two minutes.

I turned the corner and looked for my gate. To the left again. I took off running, rounded a corner, and saw the gate for my flight. Ten minutes till departure and a couple of people were still in line.

I was going to make it.

I slowed to a walk and took my place in line. At that moment, I felt the sweat beginning to pour out of me. Understandable since I’d been running for the last 30 minutes. I took off my relatively new fleece jacket and used it as a towel to wipe the sweat from my face. My jeans were already beginning to stick to my legs.

Oh well, I’d made it.

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