Monday, September 6, 2010

The Smallest Airport I've Ever Seen

Today I travelled from Pullman, WA back to Missoula, MT. Tiffany dropped me off at the Pullman/Moscow Airport, which is officially the smallest airport I have ever encountered. I’m actually surprised they even have an airport considering Pullman has less than 30,000 people, and Moscow isn’t too large either.

I walked up to the check-in counter, and the gentleman took my large suitcase from me. He then scoffed at my carry-on, telling me, “he’d let something that large slip this time.” I wanted to roll my eyes. My carry-on is on the larger size of carry-ons, but it is far under the 35 lb. weight limit, and I’ve never had a problem fitting it into the over head compartments of normal-sized planes. The planes flying out of airports like this are so tiny that no one can take a carry-on onto the flight and everyone leaves their bag at a cart on the tarmac anyway. No big deal.

After my check-in was complete I look over at the TSA security, which is apparently closed. I asked the man who has been helping me how security works here. He looks at me like I’m an idiot before explaining that security is only open 30 minutes before a flight is scheduled to depart. I take a seat with the approximately five other people who were presumably waiting for the same flight.

I went through security and the same man who checked me in was running security. He later would be the same person who directed the plane into the gate and removed luggage from the plane. I was actually surprised when he was not also the pilot. General boarding was called (these kind of flights ONLY have general boarding), and I was the first in line. When I boarded the plane, I was confused to see there were already about 30 people on the plane. An older gentleman sat next to me and made a comment about the flight going to Lewistown, Idaho. “Damn it, this flight goes to Lewistown (wherever that is)!? I am supposed to be on a flight to Seattle,” I thought.

I must have had a very concerned and confused look on my face because the gentleman next to me laughed.
Man Next to Me: “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Me: “No, I’m actually from Illinois.”
Man Next to Me: “Well, these ‘ole flights….they stop in every small airport ‘round these parts then head back to Seattle.”
Me (in confusion): “This is really new to me. So, it makes stops? People get on and off?”
Man Next to Me: “Sure does!”
Me (still baffled by this concept): “It’s like a bus…”

I started thinking of my plane as an “air bus”, which only made me laugh because an airbus is actually a type of plane: A huge plane—two floors across the whole thing—very unlike the tiny plane with visible propellers I was sitting on. Patrick, my younger brother, would be proud of me for knowing my types of planes.

…and I thought the Peoria Airport was small.

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