Travelling isn’t just about getting from A to B, even if you’re only driving to your workplace. It’s a world of possibility, the chance you might see or experience something new, that you might head out on an adventure that leaves you with a thousand anecdotes that will excite and titillate your friends.
All this is true, but you’ll seldom see people at airports appreciate it, and many of them are blowing through their travel budgets not expecting the high prices of a layover.
Try telling someone at Gatwick how excited they should be at the prospect of flight and they’ll probably punch you in your stupid face. And as you nurse your bleeding nose, you’ll understand exactly the kind of confused stress that a lot of people feel when they walk into an airport.
Flaming balls of stress
Like a world away from reality, people lose their heads in the airport. The endless sea of queues, suspicious security staff who’ve been on red alert since 2001, soulless departure lounges and their rock hard seats, the drunken hen and stag dos shouting and getting drunker while you wait for a flight that’s been delayed for 17 days – no wonder travelling has lost its magical sheen.
Yet, amongst the flaming balls of stress that barrel through the airport, there are other, calmer, people. These Zen-like passengers don’t fulminate after having their luggage ruffled, nor do they let themselves get annoyed when yet another flight is delayed due to poor weather conditions. They are the Hindu cows languidly relaxing on a teeming Indian highway, chewing the cud and browsing the duty free.
What’s their secret? Partly, it’s preparation.
Get yourself prepared
These people have planned ahead, and they’ve reaped the rewards. With a little bit of extra-planning, an airport will still be stressful, but that stress will be manageable. It’s like those debt consolidation agencies – instead of a major lump sum of stress, forward planning will allow you to meet small amounts of annoyance head-on, giving you ample time to take a deep breath and relax.
This’ll start by wiping out the blight that is airport parking. Although it’s a stressful part of any trip, plenty of companies are ready to make the hunt for a parking spot a lot easier. The Gatwick meet and greet at Gatwick Airport, for example, will pick up your car for you from the airport, stopping you from the big hunt for a space.
Then there’s the long and irksome wait in the departure lounge, which can be abated by spending around £30 extra for a VIP lounge. These lounges supply free drinks, food, widescreen tellies, the day’s newspapers, games and great views of the runways, as well as fantastic and relaxing interior design.
If you put your mind to it, the airport can be relaxing – so don’t let it get the better of you.