Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Comfortably Early or Just in Time?

I am a procrastinator, emphasis on the 'pro.' I generally get to meetings, doctor's appointments, and airports just in time. Part of the reason is I tend to try to cram as much as I can into the time preceding - just one or two more emails that need to go out, one more quick phone call .. oh, forgot to pack this.

Yes, I did once miss a flight to Montreal - not because I was late but because I didn't know checked bags needed to be dropped off 45 minutes in advance, and I was there 40 minutes before the flight. And because they could only re-book me on a direct flight for some reason, and the next direct flight was not until the next day, it complicated things a bit.

Yes, I have run through plenty of airports, dragging and carrying too much luggage, gasping for breath when I finally plopped into my seat.

Donna-Lane could not be more opposite in style. She likes to plan well in advance, book as soon as she knows her trip itinerary, and get to the airport hours in advance (almost said days in advance, but that wouldn't be fair).

I must admit, there's less anxiety her way. No worries about missing one bus because there's still plenty of time to catch the next one. No worries about getting stuck in an unexpected traffic jam and trying to find an alternate route through an unfamiliar city. No worries about long security lines, and wondering if you will get pulled aside by the TSA gropers, wasting even more time.

On our last day in Amsterdam, our flight was at 5:20 pm, but by 11:30 am D-L was already hinting at the museum that it might be time to wrap up our browsing and retrieve our luggage from the hotel.

We almost missed the bus to the airport because we were standing at the wrong kiosk, but we didn't need to run half a block to try to catch  it, wheezing all the way, because there would be another in 15 minutes. Kindly, the driver waited for us to arrive before closing the doors.

We arrived at Schipol airport with a mere 3 and 1/2 hours to spare.

Even though I seized the opportunity to jerk her chain (more than once, of course) about being sooooo early, I've decided I like D-L's approach better. We were able to check out all the available restaurants, then had a leisurely pancake lunch at the allegedly Dutch cafe. We sailed through security - since there were all of 3 people in line ahead of us for the EasyJet M gates. I had time to purchase an IHT, a James Patterson novel, a bottle of water and some Swiss chocolate. She had time to read one of the three library books she had brought. (She almost always has something to read with her ... one of the ways she stole my heart.)

Oh, we almost missed our flight. We were both absorbed in reading, waiting for the signboard to announce which M gate for the flight to Geneva. The gentleman seated nearby, having heard some of our banter, asked, "Are you going to Geneva? They've just announced it as gate M1."

We quickly packed up, hastened down to M1, and got in the Southwest Airlines-type queue for boarding (first come, first seated).

Once our seatmate on the window was in place, we buckled in and resumed reading ... all the way to Geneva.

No worries.

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