When you tell people you plan to fly for the first time, they love to tell you all about their flight horror stories. 

“Oh, one time I was stuck in the Houston airport for 17 hours,” or “Yeah, I couldn’t find my gate in Seattle and missed both of my connecting flights,” or my favorite one that someone shared, “Someone was following me through Miami and when I set my stuff down, they grabbed it all and ran off.”

Needless to say, it makes an anxious, first-time flier very nervous.

Paige Asberry.

The things that you never hear about are the ones that went well. The ones where people found their gate with plenty of time, got the right Starbucks order and finished up their extra assignments with hours to spare. But that’s what happened to me. My flight from Wichita to Seattle was delayed, because it’s Wichita, but I arrived at Sea-Tac with almost four hours until my next flight started boarding. I followed the signs, and found my next gate with ease. I even got to take the fun little underground train that runs in between gates. With hours to spare, it was time to find the nearest Starbucks, and do some homework. 

My flight from Seattle to Anchorage was delayed almost 40 minutes, and I was in the last group to board. It was a full flight, and my 5 foot, 10 self was stuck in a middle seat for almost three hours. But really, that’s all I had to complain about. My luggage wasn’t lost, the person that was supposed to meet me there didn’t forget, and I was off on my Alaskan adventure. 

The week was cold, sunny, and I spent half of it waist deep in snow, but I would absolutely recommend taking a trip to the Upper Left. The scenery is stunning, the people are fascinating, and moose are absolutely everywhere.

When you fly out from Anchorage, the only times that they have flights are in the earliest hours of the morning. I flew out at 1:55 am, and landed in Seattle at 5 in the morning. Airports in the early hours are very much liminal spaces, where everyone is walking around like a zombie. 

Seattle International Airport is massive, and when I landed, I had to trek my way across  the entire airport to find my gate. This time around, I only had an hour layover and needed every minute of it to get where I needed to go. 

The flight from Seattle to Wichita was the one that went wrong.

We boarded late, and ended up sitting on the tarmac for over 30 minutes before they announced that there was some maintenance needed and we would be going back to the terminal and disboarding. They shuttled us all back to the lounge, and we sat for 3 hours before they decided that the plane was beyond repair and just had to get a new one. I was supposed to arrive in Wichita at 1:15 pm local time, and did not end up landing in Wichita until after 4 p.m. 

Overall, flying wasn’t the worst experience I’ve ever had, but if I had the choice, I would choose to drive. There’s way fewer strangers, more room to spread out, and the ability to stop and sightsee. Flying is definitely faster, but then again you have no control over the things that go wrong with the plane or the airport in general. 

This is definitely the horror story that I will be sharing with first time fliers.

Paige Asberry is a Nickerson sophomore in general studies.

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