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Air travel evokes mixed bag of emotions

Airports. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. I was thinking about this as I waited with my daughter for her long-overdue flight to Boston.

There are so many emotions at an airport. Happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, disappointment, fear -- you name it. We've all been there, experiencing each and every one of them.

There is happiness when loved ones come home for a visit and, just a few days later, sadness when they depart after too short a visit. I often find it comforting to see people hug and kiss at an airport. Some actually cry tears of joy. On these days, I love airports. Unfortunately, those same joyous tears soon turn to those of sorrow when loved ones leave. That's when I hate airports.

Oh, there are other times I hate airports. Like when your luggage is lost, or your plane is delayed for the 10th time, or you have to unload half your stuff and cram it into your carry-on bag because you're over the weight requirement. This anger is compounded now that you have to pay for those checked bags.

Should I park my car for a week at the airport and trust its security service? Should I stay overnight at a nearby hotel, since my flight leaves even before the birds open their eyes? Of course, either way involves more money -- enough to pay for a nice meal or buy several souvenirs -- so this love-hate relationship with airports continues.

I can't say I love airports when I have to walk what seems to be a mini-marathon to get to my gate. Some airports are so huge, they make me feel sorry for those who can't get around as well as I do. I know there are moving walkways and some vehicles to help in that situation, but not nearly enough.

I think about the time when the plane is actually ready for departure. I am extremely relieved, only to find out I have to sit on the tarmac forever. The Wright Brothers never could have foreseen such chaos.

There's not so much hate as disbelief when I have to buy a few essentials at those overpriced airport stores. Your pocketbook will take a hit if you're hungry. I really didn't plan on spending my weekly food allowance on a couple of sandwiches and a few beverages.

I do love airports when I'm excited about a trip we're taking, especially if the whole family is involved. But then again, I worry that everyone won't make the connecting flights or something will go wrong.

I can only imagine the fear experienced when a loved one is called for duty overseas. It is heartbreaking to see little children crying uncontrollably as daddy or mommy boards the plane. That's when I have mixed emotions. I love the fact that these brave young men and women are fighting for our freedom, but I hate the fact that families are torn apart.

I always said that I'd love to travel more and experience all the world has to offer -- if I could just be magically transported to my destination.

I understand that Virgin Airlines, under the leadership of Richard Branson, wants to fly people into outer space. Unbelievable, but it probably will happen someday. I certainly won't be in line, though, and I don't even want to think about what happens to lost luggage.

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