We were just getting out of our car in the parking garage at the Atlanta Airport when I got the text message from my sister. “Have you left for the airport yet? Because we’re going to be late.”

My sister and her son were coming to visit us for a long weekend, and we were picking them up at the airport. But after they had boarded their plane in Chicago, a minor problem was discovered with a cargo door on their plane. Maintenance was still working on it, so at the time we arrived to pick them up at the airport in Atlanta, their plane was still at the gate in Chicago.

We live about 100 miles from the airport, so we weren’t about to turn around and go back home. We decided to spend the time exploring the airport. There were plenty of things to do to kill time while we waited, even if it would be several hours.

We started out just walking around and exploring the different shops and restaurants. It almost felt as though we were strolling and sightseeing along the streets of a little resort town.

I bought a copy of the day’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution and read it pretty much cover to cover. We stopped in a bar for a drink, and watched a bit of the news while we were there. We bought a few sandwiches and went back to our car to eat and maybe take a nap. We talked and joked about all the things we could have gotten done if we had thought to bring a laptop computer. Or a few of my crochet projects. Or a copy of War and Peace.

During all this time, I was getting regular updates from my sister, informing us of the progress of the repairs, and adding a few observations of her own.

“We just realized something,” one of her texts said. “We got up at 6:30. If we would have started driving to your house… No, never mind.” Another contained the suggestion that we might want to go out and see a movie while we were waiting for them. And after informing us that they eventually had to deplane and race to a different gate to get on a different plane, she reported, “Still waiting to ‘bored.’ Get it?”

They finally took off, more than three hours after their originally-scheduled departure time, and arrived in Atlanta after we’d been at the airport about five hours. You might expect that everyone would have been cranky and short-tempered by then, but we were all still in good humor. Partly, I’m sure, because we were just so happy to see each other and so relieved that they finally made it. But also because we kept ourselves busy and occupied instead of just sitting around complaining about the situation and feeling sorry for ourselves.

Despite a slow start, we had a wonderful visit. Their return flight was without incident, and they’re already talking about coming back for another visit next summer. No decision yet, though, on whether they’ll fly or drive.

June 23, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

Have you ever had to deal with extended delays at the airport? What did you do to pass the time? I welcome your comments, but please be aware that all comments will be moderated and approved before appearing on this blog. This is to protect all of us from unwanted spam.