Idiot Move of the Decade

This post is comin’ at you from the great state of Colorado, where I’m visiting my sister Sarah and her family, and, tomorrow, running the BolderBOULDER 10K race. I arrived the other day, and getting here was a hassle. And I have no one to blame but myself. Because I pulled the idiot move of the decade.

My flight to Denver was bright and early Friday morning – 8:15am departure. I packed the night before and laid out everything I needed in the morning, so all I had to do was wake up, take a quick shower, throw on my clothes, eat some breakfast (hard boiled eggs, veggies, an apple and an orange – all waiting for me on a plate in the fridge) and go.

I jumped in a cab (that I also arranged for the night before) and made it to the Burbank airport right on time. I was feeling very fancy because I had checked in online the night before, and opted, for the first time ever, to get a paperless ticket sent to my iPhone. So I sauntered up to the security checkpoint, which had no line whatsoever, handed over my iPhone and I.D., and smiled at the TSA Agent. She looked at my phone, and looked up at me. “Sir? It says here you’re flying out of LAX.”

Wait, what was that? Oh, shit.



There’s not many cities where you could pull an idiot move of this caliber, but Los Angeles is one of them. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is serviced by 5 airports: the massively huge LAX, plus smaller airports in Burbank, Long Beach, Ontario, and Santa Ana. I prefer flying out of Burbank because it’s literally 10 minutes from my house, and it’s tiny (only about 10 gates). My last apartment was even closer – I could walk to the airport to catch my flight. It took about 45 minutes. It was awesome.

I don’t know how I got the idea in my head that I was flying out of Burbank, but I was so certain that I never even questioned it. And I have never felt so stupid in my life. Because I wasn’t checking luggage and the Burbank airport is so small, I arrived only about 45 minutes before take-off – and there was no way I could make it to LAX (at least an hour away, especially in morning rush hour traffic) to catch my flight.

Thankfully, the women at the United ticketing counter were very helpful. “You’d be surprised how frequently this happens,” they told me after I hung my head and explained my predicament. They got me on the next flight to Denver, which left a few hours later from LAX, and somehow worked it so I only had to pay $75, instead of a $150 fee plus the difference in fare.

A few hours later, I was at LAX, and since I already had my boarding pass, I went straight to security. And the line was so long that it extended outside the terminal and across a skywalk, over 8 lanes of traffic.

A sinking feeling came over me: Am I going to miss this flight too? 

Thankfully, not long after I entered that line, they opened some more lanes, and I got through with plenty of time to get to my gate. And so, after 2 airports and 5 hours, I finally got on a plane headed to Denver.

Here’s the kicker: I’m never going to live this down with my sister Sarah, because on Thursday, she called me explicitly to check up on me before I flew:  “Do you have everything you need? You know when your flight leaves and where you’re going?” It was a phone call, so Sarah couldn’t see how I rolled my eyes, but she could certainly hear how I responded, said in the tone of voice of a sullen teenager who’s too cool for school: “Yes, mom. Jeez. I’ve been on an airplane before. Sheesh!” Yep. And then I went to the wrong airport. Smooth move.

There is an upside, I suppose. I didn’t have to rush right over to LAX, so I went home, changed, and went for a run. I was happy to get a workout in, and it turned out to be a pretty good run: I left my house at 8am, walked a handful of blocks to warm up, and started running at 8:15, well before it got unbearably hot. I ran for just under 49 minutes, went 4.8 miles, and averaged 5.95 mph, which is my fastest speed since last November. Here are my RunKeeper stats:

I just added this to my Running Chart.

Keep it up, David! (Not the wrong airport part.)

3 Responses to Idiot Move of the Decade

  1. Oh David, don’t worry, I am sure most of all can relate. How about getting to the airport 2 hours late when you confuse the boarding time with the flight number??? All I can say is I didn’t have my reading glasses and it was a last minute flight way back when there were no e-tickets.

  2. Carlen says:

    Well, at least it made for a funny story? hehe Toronto has three airports too but two of them are baby airports. 😛

  3. Caron says:

    Glad it worked out for you. We all do things we can’t believe we’d do. 🙂

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