Marriage advice

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.




Marriage advice from the airline gate agent

The security checkpoint lines at Washington’s Reagan National Airport weren’t terribly long when we began our trip home to Seattle on Christmas Day, so my husband thought he had plenty of time to go back out through security to pick up something to read at the bookstore.

To save time on the way back, he left his carry-on, his coat, his cell phone and buckle-heavy belt with me by the gate.

But as the plane began – and finished – boarding and the gate agent made a ‘last call’ announcement, there was no sign of my husband.

I imagined him blissed-out there among the bestsellers, not paying attention to time. Then I thought perhaps he’d left his boarding pass behind along with his phone.

Irritated and a wee bit concerned (Was he passed out in the terminal? Sick in the bathroom?) I asked the gate agent for some options.

He didn’t skip a beat.

“Well,” he said, “If you were ever considering leaving your husband, this is your chance.”