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Helpless Female Drives to the Airport

I drive to the local airport a lot, so you’d think I’d have it figured out by now. But I blame the sign makers. Airport traffic directional signs are possibly the only time the government uses too few words and doesn’t over manage. Really, if they can afford those digital bulletin boards to condescendingly harass us on the freeway, could they not make the airport traffic flow signs a little larger and just add another helpful word or two.

The problem is that every time I drive to the airport I am arriving. Duh. And they always want me to go to the same place whether I am picking someone up or dropping them off. In spite of the fact that I have transported my traveling husband there multiple times, I have to go through the whole thinking process again. Okay, what do they mean by arrivals? Are they referring to any automobiles entering the premises? Does that mean people arriving to get on planes or people arriving on planes to visit our area? You see the issue.

Thankfully, when my husband is with me, he just points in the correct direction. It’s easy for him. Every time he gets there, he goes to the same basic check-in area on the same airport level. He only has to remember one thing. I, on the other hand, am constantly having to sort out whether departing is like a quick escape route because I really don’t want to go all the way into the airport complex after all. Truly, that has to be a problem for some people. If you take a wrong turn into the airport road system unnecessarily, it is panic time. It is like a huge puzzle of a round-a-bout with off ramps to infinity. Sooner or later you are bound to accidentally take the exit to short term parking, because anything has got to be better than long term parking. What you don’t know is that the get-out-of-jail-parking fee is the same amount for either chute.

Assuming you make it out of the parking garage at all. Airport parking garages are like the Frankensteins of parking garages. There is no real plan, but airports need to expand, right? They just start adding pieces and it gets ugly fast. They block any visual of the sun, put up random cement poles in places that would be perfectly good to drive through, and follow absolutely no pattern. Sure, follow the exit sign, as long as you can verify that it isn’t left over from the previous parking garage construction project. Which is NEVER done, by the way.

So there you are, with three or four lanes that come and go as you go around a big circle. If you want to avoid accidentally getting trapped in the parking garage, you need to stay to the far right. However, I have discovered that if you stay too far to the right you end up in an industrial helicopter hanger or where Fed-ex planes are being loaded. Maybe they mean arrival of packages? If you go another way, you might get to the right place to pick up passengers, but there are policemen enforcing a constant flow of traffic, so there is no time to pull over for a minute to sort it out before going around again. It is illegal to think in one spot at an airport. Hopefully, you see the person you need while going as slow as possible and still be legally moving. That’s what those numbered signs mean, right? 10 inches a minute?

It does get better on the second half of the circle. All roads lead OUT. Except they have this special one for people like me who often need to go around again. Because I refuse to drive all that way to the airport only to go home without my husband whom I came to pick up. He is constantly arriving at the airport.

  • Mary (

    Over Thanksgiving, I drove Erika and Israel to and from the airport, and sometime during the seven days they were gone, the airport literally *moved* the entrance gate into which I needed to go for short term parking. So surprising.

    One tip– at least as of last week– short term parking is IN the parking structure itself, so it is OK to go in there. Unless they’ve changed it again. 🙂

  • lauraimprovises

    *chuckle* Yeah, they have been “moving” things lately. I have been inside the parking structure. Hence the comments about cement pillars in strange places! 🙂

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