Travel tips from an airline gate agent

Christopher Schaberg, who’s lovely, brand new book “The Textual Life of Airports” showed up in the mail today, was curious about my post here yesterday about surprising advice I received on Christmas Day from an airline gate agent at Washington’s National Airport.

Spokane Airport TSA


My husband had gone back out through security to buy a book and was very late getting back to the gate.

I waited and worried. And as the doors for the flight were about to close,  I asked the gate agent about my options. His response: “If ever thought about leaving your husband, this is your chance.”

Schaberg wrote to ask: “So what happened?!?”

I’m happy to report that I didn’t leave my husband behind at the airport.

In a ‘saved by the bell’ moment, he appeared at the gate – shoes in hand – having raced down the concourse after being re-scanned at the security checkpoint.

The gate agent looked a little disappointed, but he winked, ushered us onto the plane and wished us a Merry Christmas.

Have you gotten advice from someone who has seen it all at the airport? Please share your story.




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One thought on “Travel tips from an airline gate agent

  1. Thanks, Harriet. That’s a great end to the story, and it prompts a traveler product idea: grippy socks, like the ones that toddlers wear, but for adults in airports. No more worries about sliding down the concourses in slippery socks—just grab your shoes in your hand after the security checkpoint and sprint to your gate, wearing Airport Socks!

    I’m so glad the book arrived safe and sound! I really hope you like it.

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