I spent my holiday break traveling and as always it was an education.
First, who knew that KCI would be packed on Christmas morning, like the hordes fleeing a zombie apocalypse. I mistakenly assumed that December 25 would find most families at homes with their loved ones, not exchanging tidings of comfort and joy with the TSA.
The vast number of people traveling at 10 a.m. so flummoxed me that I began doing a little Q and A. I thought, perhaps, the majority of travelers were doing a last-minute rush to grandma’s house, but no, based on my research it seemed that most people were at the airport to flee their family, not reconnect.
When I shared my research with my son he nodded his head and remarked, “Yeah, it’s the perfect family dodge. Oops sorry can’t do the whole Christmas day thing. I’ve got a plane to catch.”
His quickness in embracing the “family dodge” gave me a momentary feeling of panic as in I think I’m going to be seeing a “family dodge” from him in my future. So, I did what any mother would do — a preemptive strike.
“I’m just going to let you know right now that if you ever schedule a flight on Christmas morning in an effort to avoid me I’ll just find another way to seek out the pleasure of your company like say staying with you for a couple of delightful weeks in the new year.”
My college-aged son got pale. Yep, he got the message.
As I sat in the Southwest terminal I began to get overly nosey of what my fellow passengers back stories were. I knew why I was here on Christmas. Two words — cheap fares. Were all of us mulling around gate 40 guilty of sacrificing the sanctity of a Christmas morn to save a couple of bucks? If so, did that make us thrifty or holiday spirit hum bugs?
I'm totally going with thrifty with maybe a side of “I’m so over the holidays.” I could tell a lot of the passengers had reached their limit on the ho, ho, ho of it all simply by their seat selections on the plane.
For example, If you’re a family that has a C boarding pass on Southwest than that means no way, no how, do you want to sit together or even be in the same general vicinity. A C boarding pass all but guarantees you’ll be shoved in a middle seat and you won’t see anyone you share DNA with until the flight lands.
An even bigger cry for alone time is when you get yourself a Southwest business select ticket, thus allowing you to board first and the rest of your family is stuck with B 28, 29 and 30. Please don’t ask me how I know this, and spoiler alert I was B 29.
And you know a mom has really hit the holiday wall when as the rest of her family is taking advantage of the early boarding she skips out for a “last minute bathroom run” while encouraging her family to get on the plane. When she finally boards, there is no seat remotely by her family and she spends the entire flight blissfully reading a book in the back of the plane while her husband handles the kids in the bulkhead.
Not exactly warm and fuzzy Christmas morning moments. But, anyone who’s honest will tell you that there is a portion of the holidays that are more about surviving than enjoying. And a packed plane with “limited drink service due to turbulence” is definitely one of those moments.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.