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Written by Jes-c Brandt   

Traveling first

This week I wasn’t planning to write a column because I’m currently en route to Dallas, Texas. But I just had an awesome traveling first that I simply couldn’t wait to share.

I realize that anyone who regularly reads Drumroll Please might be getting tired of my many travel anecdotes. After all, I think I’m probably the only columnist in the world who prefers to write about the transportation itself involved in travel rather than the destination. But I hope you’ll bear with me for at least one more.

Today I have a 5:30 a.m. flight out of Hartford, Conn. Being my mother’s daughter, I of course walked through the front doors at exactly 4 a.m.

Whenever I’m flying, I have a private race against the clock to see how fast I can get from the front door and through security. My previous record was nine minutes—an accomplishment I was quite proud of. This morning, however, I shattered that record.

I walked through the doors straight to a kiosk and printed my boarding pass. I then made my way to the security screening, where the employee who checked my ID informed me I was the first today.

It was all I could do to keep my delight hidden; I knew I was going to set a new record!

Full of excitement, I continued around the corner to the security checkpoint, where a glorious sight beheld me. The usually hectic location was now strangely serene. Employees stood ready to start their days, the conveyor belts were still, and full stacks of trays sat conveniently waiting for me to remove my shoes and jacket.

I flew through the metal detector and slipped my backpack back onto my shoulders. When I checked the time, a mere four minutes had passed. That’s right, I jumped through the dreaded airport loops in only four minutes.

I figured the best way to celebrate the occasion was a cold glass of orange juice, so I entered the terminal searching for a Dunkin’ Donuts. Here I saw my second breathtaking view of the day. The terminal was totally empty besides me. I looked up and down the long concourse, but there was no one to be seen.

Instantly I had the instinct to go running down the hall like a hyped-up kid. Don’t worry, I restrained myself. Instead I walked slowly, taking in this brand new experience. Airports are usually such crazy places, but for once, this one seemed peaceful.

Hundreds of seats sat empty, giving me the choice of any one my heart could possibly desire. You know, I could even lie down across several and no one could ask me to move.

I checked out the bathroom, and found it spotless. I could not have asked for cleaner counters and mirrors, and the soap and paper towels were all stocked. I tell you, being the first one in the airport sure has its advantages.

Because of the streamlined check-in process, I was left with over an hour to kill before my flight would be taking off, so I settled into one of the many empty chairs at my gate, thinking I might get a bit of sleep in the surprisingly quiet airport. My brain had other ideas though, because I couldn’t possibly sleep after such an incredible travel experience. I thought for a few minutes about it, and then I was struck by the idea that I could share my experience with others.

So I turned on my iPod and started tapping out a column on the tiny keys, which brings me to this very moment.

The terminal is filling up, and it’s beginning to feel more like an airport with every suitcase, dropped piece of trash, occupied seat and overhead announcement. I’m also beginning to wonder if maybe I should have opted for the nap instead of writing.

I might fall asleep the moment I board that plane, but I would say that pushing through the final hours of my all-nighter has been worth it to share such a unique airport experience with others.