Why You Should Always Pack Food for an Airport Journey

Normally, I pack myself a lunch when I travel. The price gouging at airport restaurants is second only to amusement park restaurants, and I hate having such a large food tax added to my plane ticket. This weekend, I didn’t plan ahead quite as well as I normally do. My flight was leaving at 7:30 AM Saturday, and I just didn’t get up in time to make myself some food. What a mistake!

In case you missed it, there was a huge snowstorm across most of the Northeastern U.S. over the weekend. Pittsburgh was on the outskirts. Springfield, MA, where my parents live, was close to the center. That’s where I was trying to fly, to surprise my mother on the occasion of her 60th birthday party. I never made it.

US Airways had thousands of travelers stranded in the Philadelphia airport, and canceled many of its flights to and from Philly throughout the day. Unfortunately, they didn’t cancel my flight to there, but they did cancel pretty much all of the flights I could have taken out of there. Thus, I was stuck at the airport with neither food nor beverage (stupid no liquids rule!) in my carry-on bag. As a result, I got to taste some of the best and worst of what the Philly airport has to offer.

If you’re in PHL and you have a hankering for some hot apple cider, don’t go to Jazz & Java! I ordered their “apple cider” figuring that even if it was just steamed apple juice (such as Starbuck’s offers for their “apple cider”), it would be a nice relief for my parched throat as I sat in a 7-hour-long line in an attempt to get confirmed on a flight to Hartford. Their attendant disappeared around a corner, returned, and filled my travel mug with hot water. “You just put hot water in there,” I noted as he gave it back to me.

He made a motion as if he were pumping syrup from a bottle. “It’s not real cider,” he explained. I shrugged my shoulders, figuring that at least it was warm liquid. I went back to my place in line (when you’re in a 7-hour-long line, an honor system develops between you and your compatriots. You may go and return as you need, assured that your place will be safe) and took a couple of sips. I immediately left the line again.

“This is crap,” I told the guy behind the counter. He upgraded me to a chai at no extra charge, even though I was willing to pay the extra $1.10 for the more expensive beverage.

For a decent dinner, you should definitely check out the Asian bistro in the C-terminal. I can’t remember what it was called, but my Pad Thai was decent, and the sushi I saw others eating appeared to have been skillfully prepared. Just expect to pay out the nose for a beer: $5.25 for my Singha! No wonder they don’t list beer prices on the menu.

Somewhat related to the realm of food: PHL has recycling receptacles all over the B-terminal, next to signs proclaiming, “PHL Recycles!” with a diagram of which slot you should put your beverage containers in as opposed to your newspapers. In the C-terminal, there’s only one kind of refuse receptacle (and it isn’t for recycling). So, really, the signs in the B-Terminal ought to proclaim, “PHL Recycles in a Limited Portion of the Airport!” or something along those lines.

Around about 1 AM when the lack-of-customer service manager came around to my second 7-hour-long line to inform everyone in it that she was pulling her workers off of the job for the evening, another worker came by offering pillows, mylar emergency blankets, water, and cookies to everyone in line. A nice gesture, I suppose, but where was he during the rest of the day when we were all thirsty and hungry in our other lines? And couldn’t they hand out snack boxes like they used to on flights: a small sandwich, a pack of pretzels, some peanut butter crackers, and a yogurt? Or something more substantial than SoftBatch chocolate chip?

I mean, at that point, most of us had had at least three or four flights that we had been confirmed passengers on canceled. They could have shown us a little love. Instead, all over the airport at every gate, were signs that said “Thank you for choosing US Airways.” I couldn’t help but think they would have more appropriately read “F*ck you for choosing US Airways”…. After all, at 7:30 in the morning, they knew that they had a mess on their hands in Philly. They could have rerouted me from Pittsburgh instead of sending me to an overcrowded limbo for 24 hours. I never made it to Springfield. I hung out at PHL until they sent me back to Pittsburgh weary and upset at their logistical malfunctions.

4 Responses to “Why You Should Always Pack Food for an Airport Journey”

  1. Lydia Says:

    Nightmare. Maybe your mom would change her birthday to summer….

  2. kari Says:

    eek! that sounds so extra crummy. I wish your flight had transfered through nyc or newark, b/c then at least you could have come out to karaoke with me.

  3. serge Says:

    I was on a flight a few weeks, and the pilot made the best announcement ever:

    “On our flight today our underpaid flight attendant will offer you the choice of cold coffee, warm soda, and stale pretzels. We understand that you have a choice in bankrupt airlines, and we thank you for choosing Northwest.”

  4. Sydney Says:

    Just goes to show you that you should have stayed in New Orleans where there is plenty of food,WATER, and always limited air service. It saves you the disappointment!!

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