Off-Third: The best thing about going home is the airport

The airport process, especially during holiday break, is riveting and worthwhile.


Victoria Liu

(Illustration by Victoria Liu)

Aksha Mittapalli, Contributing Writer

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

As the temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the stress of finals threatens to consume you, and the luster of the city begins to dull in comparison to your ever-growing homesickness, the only thing that keeps pushing you to the finish line is the flight home. Sitting in a flying cylinder thousands of feet above civilization never discourages you; nothing is more exciting.

The day of your flight, your parents gently (strongly) urge you to arrive at the airport a little earlier — six hours before boarding — so you can comfortably get through all the lines.

The taxi to JFK may cost just under $100. If that’s out of your budget, you can always use the subway, lugging the 70-pound suitcase that somehow manages to fit your entire life. But don’t worry — if you need help with the heavy suitcase, you can just ask one of the locals to help you out. They will be incredibly accommodating.

Once you reach the airport, you can stand in the seemingly never-ending check-in line and contemplate the people around you. The stressed family that is embarking on their annual trip to Aruba, the drug-addled business man furiously typing away on his phone and a boy who looks vaguely in your age group. Jackpot. Allow yourself to marinate in the presence of this boy and his mediocrity and use it for intermittent entertainment. Good times.

Next up is the TSA. Allow the security process to be a lesson on materialism. As you remove your jacket, shoes, belt, rings, phone, laptop and medication, ask yourself why you feel the need to fill your life with material possessions. For 45 painfully short minutes, gifted to you by the TSA, you can contemplate the freedom that you could possess without any attachment to objects. This is what “Black Mirror” has taught you.

Once you board your flight and settle into your seat, the heightened anxiety that air travel incites can finally dissipate. Eventually, the orchestra of loud snoring and babies crying will lull you into a disturbed sleep that will make you all the more grateful to be sharing a room with only your brother when you get back home.

The layover when flying internationally, if you have the pleasure of having one, will give you just enough time (a solid three hours) to throw yourself into another culture. The experience will be filled with exciting activities like lines at the immigration counter, a rushed bathroom break and a deeply unattractive sprint to your gate.

When you’re onboard, enjoy the culinary delicacies served to you, so heavily seasoned that you can literally hear the taste of the steamed carrots and grilled chicken. You can also pick one of 12 movies offered on the in-flight entertainment screen. Just make sure to pick an animated movie so you do not have to endure the shame of watching a kissing scene around 200 people — only four more of these Pixar movies, and you’ll be home.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Aksha Mittapalli at [email protected].