If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird

When I was a little girl, my dad frequently used to travel for work. He would go to places like New York and Las Vegas. I made him promise that one day he would take me on an airplane, because I wanted to know what it was like to be in the sky; I wanted to know what it was like to be a bird. When I was 13, our family went on vacation to Orlando, and we flew round trip. I absolutely loved it and I could not wait until I got on another plane. An opportunity arose this past summer where I needed to get on a plane back to Dallas from Orlando once again.

This time around, I was flying solo. The ticket was bought last minute, so I would have to switch to another plane in Memphis before finally arriving in Dallas. I was excited to be able to fly again, but also nervous because I had to maneuver through two airports completely by myself before I could get home safely. This was my defining moment of adulthood. My mom dropped me off at the curb at the airport in Orlando, and off I went.

Once I made it through the gate and onto the plane, I kept looking at my ticket trying to figure out which seat was mine and finally I asked the stewardess. She politely informed me that the plane was open seating. I turned around, and just my luck, almost the entire plane was full. I found a seat by the aisle, disappointing because I wanted to sit by the window and look at the clouds.

The plane was small and as we were speeding down the runway, the person in my aisle pulled the shutter down over the window. Suddenly, I felt claustrophobic. I needed to see out of that window! Without it, how was I supposed to know where I was? To keep myself from going insane, I opened up a book of mine and tried to keep myself calm. Once we leveled off, the stewardess came by and offered drinks and snacks. This was by far the best part of the whole flight, and I munched on my food and was instantly content.

When I finally landed in Memphis, I called my dad to tell him that I was halfway done with the trip. Having picked up my brother every Christmas and summer from the airport with my dad my whole life, I made my way towards baggage claim, because I knew that was the next step of the flying process. As I told my dad what I was doing, he screamed in my ear, “No! Don leave the secured area! You will have to go through security again and you will miss your next flight!” I felt like a complete idiot, not knowing that the airlines would automatically transfer my baggage for me to my connected flight. Gosh, I thought, maybe I'm not quite as grown up as I thought I was. 

On the flight from Memphis, I once again looked for the window seat, this time with the knowledge that it was open seating. Unfortunately, I sat in the aisle seat once again, next to two women. I learned that one can meet the nicest people when traveling on an airplane. Everyone is all squished up together, forcing personal space bubbles to burst.

This time when I got off of the plane and made my way towards baggage claim, my dad was there to greet me. I waited for my bright blue luggage to emerge, and when I saw it, I noticed that it was scratched up. I was appalled! I had just gotten that baggage for graduation and it was scratched. My dad informed me, “The crew just throws the luggage onto carts and planes; they do not take care of luggage.”

Air travel is a learned behavior. You figure out how to maneuver through airports, find your gate and your seat, and what to bring to keep yourself entertained. It's strangely not easy, but I know that I will fly again many times; I will become metaphorically a bird!


Claudia Smithart is undergraduate at Texas A&M-Commerce University majoring in psychology.

Category: Airplanes

Latest Stories
Checking In/Checking Out

Filter by Category

Everyone has a story to tell...

Submit Yours Here

Points of Departure: