Layovers seem to fall into two categories: too long and holy crap, I’m going to have to sprint from E28 to A3. There is a little known third category though. The one just long enough to lull you into not feeling rushed. This is a tricky one. Navigated correctly, it leaves time to grab a bite to eat, use the too-crowded bathroom near your terminal, and sit at the gate long enough to ponder the wonders of air travel. Handled incorrectly though, and you get to find out what happens when you’re the only person with a ticket that isn’t actually on the plane yet.
Rhonda and I got to experience the third type in Atlanta. Our itinerary called for a quick hop from Charleston to Atlanta and from there to Quito, Ecuador. The layover time in Atlanta was about an hour and a half. Plenty of time, we thought, to go out of our way to a Priority Pass lounge for some snacks and drinks before taking the train to a different concourse. No problem. And indeed, that’s what we did. A rum and coke for me, a glass of red for Rhonda and some finger food for us both. We relaxed and chatted for a bit before deciding it was time to go. There was no rush in our steps as we exited the train and made our way down the mile-long (my estimate) concourse. Still unconcerned about the time, I noticed a PA announcement making the final call for some lost soul to board their plane or risk being left behind. How embarrassing, I thought to myself (seriously, I really did have that thought). The cosmic karma was swift with this one, as only a minute later the PA came to life again – “Rhonda and Jeremy please report to your gate immediately. The plane is ready to leave.” Or something to that effect. We shared a glance of mutual panic (although mine also had a decent mix of embarrassment in there) and took off running. After a brief, and unplanned, cardio session we arrived at the gate in time. The gate agent’s look of disapproval fueled my shame and embarrassment until I was seated and buckled in. We were on our way to Ecuador!