The hassle of the airport only begins as you must drive to the airport with the best flight time you could find a few hours earlier to be sure you don’t miss the short window given for boarding. You arrive at this airport filled with a copious amount of people on different schedules, some late and some early, either rushing or moving too slow for your own time restraints. From this point, you must navigate the many lines that allow for the various functions of commercial flights to run.
You must first check-in to your flight, allowing the airport to know you have made it for your flight, even though this does not guarantee your seat if you do not make it to the gate on time. Trust me; I’m saying this from experience. For this reason, many of us are taught to arrive at the airport with a time cushion. Usually, this meant arriving 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours early for international – at least for me. This usually leaves you with ample time to get a meal at airport restaurants, browse the stores for drinks and snacks, maybe a book, and, if you’re lucky, some time to use the bathroom. Possibly a time where you begin researching private aircraft traveling as well.
Before this luxury of waiting another hour to wait in line to board your plane, we can’t forget to get your bags checked. In this step, you will face yet another line of people flying with the same passenger carrier company that come in large groups to weigh each piece of luggage that they would like to have checked onto the plane. They must all be weighed to ensure the plane remains in compliance with safety regulations. Where, in true commercial fashion, there will be an extra charge in the case that your luggage exceeds its weight limitations.
After checking your luggage in, the TSA check awaits you – yet another line that will accumulate travelers from various air transportation providers looking to board their flight. In this next test of patience, you will wait for the necessary safety measures that airports must implement for traveler’s secure and safe passage. Most likely, it is during this time that you will have the thoughts flutter across your mind, “I should be driving on the tarmac up to my private VIP aircraft right now.”
The members of TSA will confirm all of these passengers’ identities and their tickets, along with an examination of each traveler and their luggage. Next, grabbing containers to place electronics, carry-ons, shoes, etc., to prepare for the x-rays and pat-downs that follow. Then, of course, travelers take their time getting back their personal items, causing slight delays each time. As previously stated, some people are in a rush, and others seem to have all the time in the world, must not have missed a flight before.
The Terminal Trap
Now that we have completed the safety check, we have made it to a dangerous area, where we technically are good to go but risk getting distracted and missing our flight. Or, in worst cases, having a delayed or canceled flight. In this period of unrest, passengers need to wait by their designated gate and wait for boarding, but sometimes you are left with a good amount of time to wait before boarding your plane, causing you to find distractions.
In order to pass the time before boarding, many passengers will visit airport restaurants, kiosks and use the bathroom. All of these actions are fine, as long as you are vigilante of the time and are not cutting it too close, because the last thing you want to happen is to be on the other side of the terminal and hear the intercom say, “final boarding for…”.
My main stress inducer is having to use the bathroom last minute, which is definitely worth doing before having to share that small onboard lavatory with about 80 other people. Still, it definitely comes with anxiety when sitting there and hearing the intercom rattle offboarding for your flight knowing that your group number is coming up next.
As you sit in there in anxiety, you can’t help but wonder if you would deal with these same stresses flying privately, because of course, you most likely would have used the elegant aircraft lavatories on-board. Then there are all of the interesting shops with souvenir items, snacks and candy, books, and other miscellaneous items that may cause an impulse buy. These shops can be very distracting and were certainly a cause for a missed flight for me.
Now some people may have experienced these traps before that left them panicked and running to their gate before the final boarding call has ended and the doors get shut, so they may want to take a well-deserved nap right at the gate. This seems harmless, but with some headphones in and fellow passengers’ intent to mind their own business, this can be another slippery slope for novice commercial travelers. Imagine slowly opening your eyes only to see your plane taxiing onto the runway for takeoff, a gut-twisting feeling. Some say it’s best to relax at your gate reading a book, maybe even surveying the gorgeous VIP aircraft that may or not be at this particular airport.
Last Leg On Land
Let’s say you were able to successfully board your flight and wade in the line to put your carry-on luggage up in the bins. You finally take your seat and think to yourself, “Finally, now time for takeoff.” Well, you would be wrong. The pilots and stewardesses still must do their in-plane check, making sure all of their equipment is running properly, bags are properly stowed, and their owners properly buckled in.
From outside of the plane, airport employees assist in fueling the plane, loading it with luggage, and, in the case of being in cold environments, de-icing the planes. Of course, these all need to be done on private aircraft, but if not already completed upon arrival, you most likely haven’t been waiting for 2+ hours and are not feeling terribly impatient.
The lights turn off, and we are instructed to have our seats placed in the upright positions, electronic devices turned off until further notice, and we are taxiing onto the runway. It seems like you are home free, ready to take off and be the nomad you aspired to be this trip, but let’s not forget how many other flights are attempting to take off at the same moment.
There will be lines on the runway for planes to be cleared for takeoff, I know by now you’re hating that word and wondering how airports can even be allowed to run with such inefficiency, but once your plane clears those runway lines, you will be up in the air and on your way.
Are Private Aircrafts Worth the Extra Cost?
When considering the many steps and people to overcome when dealing with commercial flying out of airports, I bet a majority of people have considered shelling out extra to have their own private aircraft. Whether just for one trip or as an investment for all future travels. Being able to schedule your flight at a time of your convenience, at an airport that may not be so busy and out of the way, is obviously a luxury most of us would want to indulge in but many of us have not just yet.
According to an article on Latitude 33, flying private can, in some cases, being cheaper than a first-class ticket if you do the right research. Now, if you afford yourself this luxury just once, there is a high chance you will not go back to commercial flights. VIP aircraft are meant to seduce their passengers, from the elegant design to your space and privacy, along with everything else in between. Private travel is a trend that people can’t seem to come back from.