Bad Day At The Airport


LGA

After the terrible events at Monday’s Boston Marathon, it was no surprise there might be trouble flying on Tuesday.  So as my wife dropped me off at the airport, I was fully prepared for long lines and mayhem.  But the main terminal at LGA on this Tuesday, appeared as any other, quieter actually. I made it through security in under one minute.  Since I had a some time, I entered the newly renovated American Airlines club and sat in the television viewing room to watch coverage of the previous day’s tragedy.  Little more was known at that point but authorities did have evidence that the bombs were planted in pressure cookers and that remnants were found.  This would provide some serious clues as to who planted the bomb, where they were made etc.  As I headed downstairs and to my gate, I noticed two men running towards me.  Since they were running towards security, I knew they weren’t running for a flight.  LGA is so small anyway, there’s almost no need to ever run.  As I walked towards my gate, I heard a bar tender screaming for everyone to get out, followed minutes later by airport security.  At this point there was some confusion because security was only evacuating the food court.  Five minutes later, security began rushing everyone out of the terminal.  I was hesitant to leave as I expected something like this to happen as copy cats or idiots with nothing to do, would find fun in frightening an already nervous country.  In the end, I was told to leave, so of course I did.  As hundreds of us stood outside the airport, rumors circulated through the crowd of people about a suspicious package being discovered with wires protruding from it.  That has not been confirmed or denied.  After about thirty minutes, airport security allowed us to return to the terminal.  Of course we would now have to go through security again.  But the TSA handled this process well, allowing those of us on earlier flights to move to the front of the line so we wouldn’t miss our flights.  Again I passed through security in under one minute and was back at the gate waiting to board.  It was a moment later that the American Airlines gate agent informed us that all of the American computers were down and we could be sitting there indefinitely; not the news I wanted to hear.  But all of the American employees did a great job of keeping us informed.  Ten minutes after making that announcement, the gate agent called for first class passengers to board and it looked like we might get out after all.  Since there were no computers the gate agent wrote down my name and off I went.  The plane boarded quickly, with half the number of original passengers on board.  I speculated that some refused to fly after the bomb scare.  My wife would have preferred I reschedule but I needed to be in Chicago.  As  is turned out, mine was the last American Airlines flight to take off before the rest of the fleet was grounded.  When I landed at O’Hare, all of American’s flights were still grounded, with many flights being cancelled.  By the time I arrived at my hotel near the airport, I was ready catch some shut-eye, which I did.  It was easily one of the more trying airport days since 9-11 but as I said to the woman sitting next to me on the plane, the only thing that truly matters in the end, is making it to your destination safely, despite the inconvenience.  Terrorists and terrorism must never be allowed to change who we are as Americans or how we live our lives.  We may face setbacks and experience tragedy but life must go on.  That’s the reason I boarded my flight despite having reservations about it. As cliché as it may sound, if we allow the bad guys to change what we do and how we live, they win.  And they will never win!!

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