Do Event Planners Saunter or Sprint to the Airport Gate?

Author: Curt Wagner       

airport habits

Most of the respondents to our Twitter poll like to arrive at the airport early or right on time so they can relax before their flights.

A recent story in The Atlantic,There Are Two Types of Airport People,” suggested that some frequent flyers arrive at an airport with time to spare while others “look panicked, maybe red-faced” as they sprint through the airport to make their flights. That got Convene editors thinking, and we shared our airport arrival habits in a recent story and asked readers — and Twitter followers — to tell us about theirs.

“I am a definitely a person who likes to be at the airport at least 2 hours before my flight,” Kathi Bretcko, executive director of the Independent Laboratory Distributors Association (ILDA), wrote in an email to Convene. Her response reflects the attitude of just over half the 43 respondents to our Twitter poll.

While 53 percent of respondents like to arrive at least two hours early, 44 percent claimed to get to their flight right on time. Only two percent are ever last to board, and no one chose the “I’ve missed many flights” option.

Bretcko went on to explain that she leaves for the airport, which is 30 miles from house, at least three to three-and-a-half hours before her flights because she never knows what traffic will be like in and around Pittsburgh.

Patty Olejnik, associate director of Experience Planning and Design at the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), also worries about issues like travel time to the airport. The Carol Stream, Illinois, resident responded on Twitter, saying she likes to arrive an hour early because “you never know what the security line will be like (even with precheck).”

Both women like to shop once they get to an airport and prefer not to feel rushed. Bretcko said she even plans her travel schedule with two-hour layovers between flights. “I’d rather have time to relax and read versus getting a cardio workout before my flight,” she wrote.

Whether you get to the airport early or not, some airports demand a cardio workout. Olejnik, who flies out of O’Hare International airport, suggested she is never sure how long it will take her “to go the 10K to the gate.”

All we can suggest is to keep your running shoes in your carry-on bag.

Curt Wagner is a Convene associate editor.