Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recycled Air: Episode 2 [The Sprint]

Friend of the blog and half-marathon-runner Molly asked me several weeks ago if I have had the pleasure of running through an airport yet. I'm a veteran at sprinting through Chicago to Union Station to catch (or miss) a train. Airports are a different story though, with an average arrival time of 1.5 hours early...until Friday.

My plans were to take the redeye again on Thursday night. When I arrived with plenty of time to spare, an announcement was made.

"We're looking for volunteers to give up their seats and fly out to Chicago tomorrow morning."
Naturally I jumped at the opportunity and soon thereafter found myself on a shuttle to another night in a hotel. My reservation was now for business class Friday morning at 6:50.

Not long ago I happily marched through the Premier security line for the first time at O'Hare. With a separate screening lane and an exceptionally joyful TSA employee, I made it through in just six minutes; nearly 20 minutes shorter than my typical experience with regular security lines. This flying 4,000 miles a week thing certainly has it's advantages.

Sadly, the airport in Los Angeles is not nearly as accommodating with premier security lines. It's the same line here, but you can effectively cut at the time you show your boarding pass. Arriving at 6:10, I thought I would be OK.

6:38 rolled around and with it came an announcement.

"Attention passenger Hill. This is your final boarding call for United flight 944, non-stop service to Chicago."

Panic came over me instantly I was still in the security line, only now preparing to put my shoes on the conveyor. As luck would have it, I was also randomly selected for my first body scan.

funky full-body airport scanner at #yyj - Think I'd opt for a physical search

6:41 marked the point where I retied my oxford shoes. Shortly thereafter I regretted a decision I'd made earlier this morning.

Cole Haan Cordovan Cap Toe Oxford
Running shoes are considerably easier, and quieter, to run through an airport in than the above style.

At exactly 6:45 I arrived completely out-of-breath to an empty terminal 74. One attendant was at the podium near the gate, looking ready to move on to something else. I waved my ticket and inquired about the possibility of boarding. He made a phone call and soon I was running again...this time through the gate.

Made it.

Fun Fact after 10 weeks and 30,000 miles in the air I have now sprinted through an airport.


  1. I'm sure its not going to be the last time :) And you have officially inspired me to blog again!

  2. Haha I'm happy I read this post, great work. I'm very impressed and happy that you have now had the lovely experience of running to catch your flight :)

  3. I want to know how you got the picture of the body scanner while rushing to make your plane? Does this mean that your blogging content takes precedence over making of flight? :-)

  4. @Namrita: That's great news!

    @Molly: It's certainly an experience worth having!

    @Yaunch in the Asian Subcontinent: Contributors to the creative commons on Flickr had my back for this one (credit on the hover). =)