I’ve been traveling now for almost 30 years, and each time my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. to catch a flight I wonder why I do this to myself. Then I get to the airport. It doesn’t matter where or what country, once I arrive and smell the coffee and hear all the sounds it brings me back to places I’ve been lucky enough to visit: Heathrow, JFK, Hong Kong, Rome, Singapore, even Denver.
I’ve seen so many changes in the travel experience. Twenty years ago I’d get to the airport early to check my suitcase at the airline counter – where I knew all the agents by name. They’d hand me my boarding pass and I would head off to my gate. Once on the plane I’d settle in and figure out how to occupy myself because there wasn’t a power outlet for a laptop (and probably not even a laptop back then). Also, there was no real entertainment to speak of, no texting – nothing – just sit and read and maybe they’d show a movie on the overhead monitor (please not Police Academy 3 again). The highlight of the trip was meal service – the famous chicken or fish dish. Also, back then we’d meet our friends and family at the gate, not curbside, pick-up rental car at the airport or grab a taxi – It all seemed so simple.