The 6 Most Stressful Airport Moments Ever

No matter where you are in the world, stepping into an airport means hauling an unnecessarily excessive amount of luggage into a tornado of intrusive loudspeakers, tackily dressed tourists, pissed off locals, and people looking more lost than Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

UNSPLASH @klalive

Now usually, if you’ve traveled quite a bit, you think you have it all down. Your passport holder is in some meticulously calculated pocket of hand luggage #1. Hand luggage #2 fits perfectly into that metal thing they make you shove it into to make sure it fits in the overhead compartment. If no one was holding you back you could get through airport security in 2.73 seconds. Your outfit was probably conveniently planned based on maintaining said airport security time.

Okay, so not everyone is as borderline OCD skilled as you at travel. In fact, the majority of people are frazzled as hell when they step into that overcrowded terminal. But there comes a time when you go from looking at, laughing at, or generally pitying that subcategory of people having a publicly inappropriate emotional crisis to actually becoming one of them. It happens to the best of us. Here are some of the most common moments of frustration, anger and desperately wishing that we could just freaking teleport to that beach resort in Asia.

1. Leaving your passport at home

One of the most gut-wrenching moments in all of life is opening your weird little passport carrier (let’s be honest, we all have one) and seeing…well, nothing. This is especially rough if you’ve just spent the past couple weeks in some foreign country; who knows where that little thing is by now.

tumblr rugrats passport
Via Tumblr

2. Getting stopped at immigration

This usually involves being inexplicably low-key shuffled into some tiny back room, being asked some vague questions, and struggling for your life with a language barrier. I can’t say I have personal experience with this one but judging from the stories I’ve heard, at least it makes for a super interesting anecdote (even though it’s scary as hell when it’s happening).

3. Your bags not arriving

This is a real bummer. There’s a lot of variations of this one—bags arriving without some of your stuff in them, bags arriving with stuff in them that you didn’t pack (jk it’s probably not your bag in that case), or no bag at all. At this point, you enter the vague lost bag limbo where you’re told they may/may not find your bag in the next day/month/year/lifetime.

4. Getting sniffed for drugs

There’s nothing like having airport security people strategically place giant invasive dogs next to you when they think you aren’t looking. Even if you’re a thirteen-year-old girl with a Hello Kitty backpack (because let’s be real that’s what all drug traffickers look like).

5. Being/getting sick at the airport

Getting sick is the last thing you want happening to you before getting into a metal tube for hours with a bunch of random people you’ve never met. Whether it’s feeling that throbbing throat ache when you wake up the morning of your flight, or getting some sort of stomach flu at the airport (the absolute worst), this will never end well. Especially if you have a fever and you’re traveling into an Asian country where they make you walk through those sneaky little sensors that take your temperature. The key to not being quarantined here is to stuff your face with every variety of painkiller an hour or so before landing. Good luck.

sick airport

6. Missing a flight or connecting flight

This is undoubtedly the most publicly awkward and humiliating moment. At this point you’ve probably sprinted from one end of the airport to the other, and you’ve probably taken some variety of a train/bus/shuttle situation to try to make it. But you didn’t. Sorry.

Fabiola Perez

Fabiola grew up in many places, including: Venezuela, Northern Virginia/Washington DC, and Hong Kong. As a traveler, she believes that while visiting major landmarks is essential, additionally seeking out the more traditional spots shows the true ambiance of the country.

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