Years ago it was a pretty easy thing to get an amazing picture as to the left when you were at the airport seeing your friends off. But now, as you well know, no one can go past the security checkpoint without a boarding pass. And with all that's happened in the last decade or so, I'm all too glad that airport security has been beefed up. This is an amazing shot I got in 2012 as I was headed to Honduras for the birth of my granddaughter. I just happened to have a good seat by the window at my gate waiting to board. The sky was sheer morning-glory gold and red perfection, and the plane landing here entered my frame at just the right time! Not being able to accompany your traveler to their gate and wait with them until they board and then (sometimes unsuccessfully) follow their plane out to the tarmac, watching and hoping to get a glimpse of takeoff, has indeed changed the fun of your whole family seeing you off and being a part of the process, even if they are not going with you. People used to love a trip to the airport just for the scenery! It was a great time, but a time that is forever gone. Safety now is numero uno, and I totally am okay with that. Now when my husband takes me to the airport (he HATES going to the airport), there is pretty much nothing for him to do till I depart, so he basically stops outside, opens the door and shoves me out at the curb with my luggage!! (JK)
This is not the case in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Going totally off point, did you know that the Teguz airport is the second most dangerous airport in the world? Yep, I am totally NOT kidding; look it up. It is because it has an unusually short runway. Ooh, I know, it's pretty scary! I did not know this the first time I landed there, but wondered why one of our flying buddies was so nervous. He told us later about the record this small airport holds, and a story about how one of the first airplanes to land there clipped the mountains when it landed. There was also a story of a pilot that tried to make a landing 10 times before he got up the nerve to go for it! Additions have helped in recent years to ensure a safer runway, but it is still common for the entire plane full of passengers to break into shouts and hand-clapping every time a plane lands in Tegucigalpa! Now, back on point: Even though you also cannot breach the security checkpoint with your loved ones, it is small enough that you can see the planes take off. It's also a different story when it comes to long waits on the tarmac. My last flight leaving Atlanta, our plane was 12th in line on the runway to take off. Needless to say, we spent the first 30 minutes of our flight time waiting. I have also heard horror stories of waiting on the tarmac for two hours for a gate to pull into. Not so in Teguz. Even though the small airport does not even compare to Atlanta Hartsfield or any other international airport for that matter, you'd be surprised at just how many planes take off and land while you're sitting there waiting on your flight to board. It's more than you would think, and they take off and land on the same runway. Well, techinically, I think there might be two, so don't quote me on that one. But once your plane taxis out to the runway, it's mere seconds until you're in the air. And, once your plane lands, it's again mere seconds before you reach your gate. There is also a great viewing window where family members can watch planes land and take off. Nice!
As I sat in the airport waiting to board my flight back to Atlanta, I was able to sit with Abbie for awhile as she waited to board her flight on another airline. Once she boarded, I snapped the image below of her plane which, within minutes of taking this picture, was airborne for Houston. As I watched her plane pound the runway, gaining enough speed for liftoff, I shed a tear and said a little prayer for safety. I thought about how the 21st century has changed the way people think about air travel. There are few places in the world you can go where you cannot probably be there within a 24-hour block of time. Wow, that still amazes me when I remember that air travel is not really that old in the total realm of things. As I watched the plane rise off the ground, I felt a sense of nostalgia for the old airport protocol of the sixties and seventies and felt I had gone back in time for a moment...except for the fact that my baby girl was on that flight and, in just a couple of hours, she would be in a place far away from me.
Posted by CC
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