While we were on the ranch, I got a surprise Christmas present from my brother. He bought me plane tickets from San Antonio to Colorado Springs for a week in February. On the thirteenth of February, I would fly out of San Antonio and spend a week with Harrison and our friends the Keiters at the Keiters’ house in the Springs.
After Christmas, the one and a half months I had to wait seemed very, very long. I started counting how many more feedings I had to do rather than days.
When the day finally arrived, I was ready to go two and a half hours before we had to leave to drive to San Antonio. My plane left at 1:00 in the afternoon.
Inside the San Antonio airport, my mom got permission to go through security with me. She helped me find my gate and offered to stand in line with me until I was allowed to board, but I said, “No, really, I’m good.” I felt a lot more aware of my surroundings after being at the ranch. So she left me to wait. It wasn’t long at all until we were able to board.
I found my seat easily enough and threw my suitcase up above. An older woman sat next to me. The flight attendant said that the flight would take almost two hours. Then we would land in Denver, where I had a three hour layover before my plane left for the short jog to the Springs.
During the flight I read one of the many books I had brought with me. I had a soda on the plane and a small bag of some sort of snack mix. It was just a little bit better than the peanuts I had remembered getting on my most recent flight when I was ten.
I was waiting for the seatbelt light to go off so I could get up to the use the bathroom, but I guess the pilot forgot because the light stayed on for the entire flight. I think only three people got up to the use the bathroom at a time when they thought it was safe. However, the woman beside me slept during that part, and I didn’t want to wake her, so I just hoped I could hold it until we got the airport.
And, of course, we had technical difficulties on land before we got the gate, so I had to hold it even longer. Thankfully, there was a bathroom right across from my gate in Denver, and I made it. I occupied myself with staring at the beautiful snow-covered mountains outside the window.
I found a seat in the airport when I got out of the bathroom and called my brother, whom I hoped wasn’t in the air at the moment. He wasn’t. He was in Chicago. He told me to find a leaderboard to see which gate my flight was leaving out of. I looked around but didn’t see one. I talked to him for a little bit longer, then I looked up and saw a leaderboard directly above my head. I found the number on the plane, said goodbye to Harrison, and went to find my gate.
When I had gotten to the gate, I called Harrison again to tell him I had made it. Then I called my parents, to tell them that I made it. When I got off the phone with them, I found that I was very hungry. I was sitting behind a Starbucks, and decided it was time for my first Starbucks experience.
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Finally, the three-hours were up, and I boarded the plane to the Springs. This plane was small, and I had to check my suitcase because it wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartments.
On this flight I sat beside a larger man who read his book during the flight. I followed his example. I had finished one of my books in Denver, so I started a second one.
Once I got to the Colorado Springs airport, I waited for my bag. I have never had a suitcase checked in like that before, so I didn’t know what to do. I saw some other passengers coming out of the tunnel with their suitcases, so I went back into the tunnel and found mine. Then I walked out to the front doors, where I was greeted warmly by my friends. (More posts about my time there will be coming up soon, I hope.)
After my week vacation, I got up at 4:11 in the morning to make my plane back to Denver at 5:55. That flight wasn’t very smooth. There was quite a bit of turbulence. The guy sitting beside me was wearing a sweatshirt that said ‘Air Force Academy’ on the back. I felt very silly for gripping the armrest so tightly until we dipped down unexpectedly, and he grabbed his armrest, too. I was very happy when we finally landed.
This time I only had an hour lay over in Denver. I quickly found my gate, which was across from the one I had before flying out of Denver. I waited in line for Starbucks again and had a white chocolate mocha frappuccino (which I liked a lot more than my latte) and a cheese Danish. My gate finally started calling out boarding groups. There was another plane boarding at the same time, so it was more a big blob of people rather than neat lines. I heard one woman calling out, “This plane has very small over head compartments. Please check your bags in. When you arrive in Austin, you can wait for your bags outside the tunnel.”
Austin? I wasn’t going to Austin. I quickly checked my flight again and turned around. The other plane that was boarding was the plane I was supposed to be on, going to San Antonio. I quickly changed directions to make sure I was going to get on the right plane.
This time I used the bathroom liberally, since the girl beside me was just watching a movie on her tablet. When the flight attendant came by with her little drink cart, I just asked for something with caffeine.
The flight back to San Antonio seemed a lot longer than the flight away from it, but apparently we arrived twenty minutes earlier. I called my parents when I got to the front door. They had missed the exit, so I had to wait a little while before they came to get me.
I had an awesome time in Colorado, and flying by myself wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.