Some Do's and Don'ts to Surviving When the Atlanta Airport Screws You Over. Again.

1. DON'T believe the Delta people in Birmingham when they tell you that if you're delayed into Atlanta, the flight to Providence is surely delayed OUT of Atlanta.
2. DON'T bother running full tilt through the Atlanta airport. First of all, you'll still have to wait for the tram thing no matter how fast your time through the B terminal. Second, you'll make it to your gate at the FAR end of the C terminal 4 minutes too late and be too out of breath to be sufficiently indignant that you can see the plane, but can't get on it. But you can SEE THE PLANE still PARKED with the jet bridge still ATTACHED!!!
2b. The exception to this is if you just enjoy playing live Donkey Kong with the people in the airport. In that case, go for it. Extra points if you dodge that woman on her cell phone with the stroller and the sneaky toddler.
3. DO scan your boarding pass before you stand in line for another 30+ minutes to get re-booked. The woman who comes on shift at 10 p.m. at the Delta Customer Service counter is NOT kidding about scanning the boarding pass. (Never mind that when you do scan, it will say "Please see a gate representative." We are all about the system here, people. Even if it doesn't work.)
4. DO call friends that live in Atlanta to come pick you up.
5. DON'T curse them when they won't answer the phone. It's not worth it. Instead...
6. DO find the one airport bar that hasn't given last call yet. A glass of wine and a Sam Adams will be nice since you aren't going anywhere anyway.
7. DO call Jodi to get her out of bed to email your boss to explain that you're sleeping at gate C50 and that the commute isn't looking good for Monday morning.
8. DON'T watch the Red Sox/Yankees game. It'll just be salt in the wound.
9. DO make bad "travel is fatal" jokes and take pictures to document this indignity on the blog.
10. DO marry someone who will stake out the best sleeping spot in the entire C terminal for you: Someone who will find the only chairs that don't have arm rests OR little tables between them and push them together so that you can have something almost resembling a solid cushioned surface to lay on in a corner, as far from the TV as possible. Someone who will also give up his standard-issue "sorry you're stuck in the airport" Delta t-shirt so you can block out some light. (This may take several years of pre-planning).
11. DON'T expect any of the following when sleeping in the airport:

  • darkness,
  • temperatures conducive to sleep and/or above 50 degrees,
  • for the TVs to be turned off at any point during the night,
  • for the guy talking on his cell phone to find another plug not located 10 feet from your sleeping head at which to have his HOURS-LONG foreign language conversation with people that he clearly hasn't been able to talk to since he moved into this time zone.
12. DO expect the following when sleeping in the airport:
  • to wear a denim jacket on your feet because you wore flip flops, silly girl, and your feet are now frozen numb,
  • to enjoy the ATL night crew as they clean, vacuum, and buff the airport floors,
  • to have CNN-induced dreams thanks to 24 hours news,
  • to listen to a heartbreakingly frustrated and exhausted mom try to convince her 2 year old that it really is time for night-night despite all the evidence to the contrary (see: light! guy on phone! TV on! people walking around cleaning!)
  • amazingly to sleep BETTER once folks arrive for 6 a.m. flights and the noise becomes a steady hum instead of sporadic and loud.
13. DON'T strangle/stab/catapult anyone when you finally arrive in Providence on Monday afternoon only to realize that your luggage got on the plane Sunday night. The plane you could SEE with the jet bridge STILL ATTACHED.
14. DON'T get to work on Tuesday and buy a flight next month involving a late return through Atlanta on Sunday night. Even if it costs approximately $400 less than the non-Atlanta-return flight, you will likely live to regret it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.