#18 The Airport Pickup

You know what’s the worst?

Trying to figure out how to get somewhere in a city you’ve never been before.

Yes, strange bus routes, new taxi systems, and mazes of complex maps welcome you to your business trip, weekend getaway, or family vacation. When you arrive you’re confronted by a sea of steaming faces — baggage pickups are packed, customs desks have lines, and you’re scrambling to get your bearings while worrying about the time.

That’s why it’s beautiful scene when someone you love picks you up from the airport. Yes, when your teenage grandson, old college roommate, or church choir pal shows up it feels like you’re getting airlifted out of the jungle.

When you spot them waiting for you make sure to drop that suitcase and run with your bouncy backpack into a big beautiful airport hug. For just a moment everything fades to distant background blur as you’re picked up by an old friend in a new place…


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Photos from: here and here

40 thoughts on “#18 The Airport Pickup

  1. I remember when my parents and in laws picked us up from the airport after our honeymoon. It was so nice to see some familiar faces and hear the voices! – It nice when they speak your language too after staying in tahiti where french is their first language! :)

  2. If I ever go on a long, overseas holiday, I hope my loved ones are standing at the gate on my return, holding a sign with my name on it, chauffeur-style. ;)

    1. I thought this only happened in movies until my family and I went to Hawaii — there was a guy with our name on a sign and four leis waiting to greet us. It was most definitely awesome! :D

  3. It is totally awesome! I’m completely overwhelmed every time I go to a new airport and try to navigate where to go and what to do.

  4. When I am at the airport waiting to pick up a friend or family member who is flying in (or like today, flying out on business), I find myself in tears over and over at the repeatedly beautiful moment that plays out as those waiting see their loved one walking through that gate and into the general waiting area. It doesn’t have to be a family member- it can be friends who are seeing one another in a long time. Either way,it’s just as sweet to see.

    1. Yes! This is my favorite thing to do in the airport – watch the reunions with hugs and smiles and tears…

  5. My family never want to pay the car parking fees when they pick me up from the airport so I always end up hurtling across car parks, taxi queues and bus lanes with a zillion bags in the rain whilst they gesture frantically at me from the other side of the road…. Thanks guys!

    1. In honor of 1000 Awesome Things and all the airplane/airport related awesomeness, you will have to fly somewhere soon and then come back and relive all those awesome things from an experienced point of view! :)

  6. It’s when you clear customs or pass through baggage reclaim and walk through the sliding doors into the big wide world…. and you just see a sea of faces all peering and looking and then you see that one face, the one face out of the hundreds that you recognise, and they’ve spotted you too :-)

    That’s the best smile you get from someone in my book. Very awesome :-)

    1. YES!!! I love this so much. I always get a little teary, this post and your comment had the same affect :)

  7. This post is going to make me think of the movie Love Actually all day!! (Which by the way I love doing #53 with. Except its so hard not to say all the funny lines out loud and I don’t want to ruin the movie for the other person).

    “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” – Love Actually

    1. Perfect! That’s exactly the piece of dialogue that I had running through my head when I read this entry … “Love, Actually” is SUCH a good movie and now I think I’ll have to go home tonight and watch it again. I love the candid shots of the airport meetups; makes me cry every time I watch it!

  8. Wendy? Where are you??? Has anyone seen Wendy? I am sure she would have a few perfect tunes for this post… I can’t think of them, but she would.

    Wennndyyy. Please come back!

  9. I recall vividly being in Amesterdam with my sister. She went off to pick-up some tobacco for my father to take home leaving me in the departures area. When she got back my sister got a severe scolding “don’t ever leave me in the departures area again, it’s just too depressing. Next time make sure its arrivals. Much more uplifting!”

  10. Last year I joined the exclusive club of those that meet their loved ones in an airport. This year though, she has asked I step up my game, and meet in random underground stations in random cities I have never even been too before. Great reading about how others manage.

  11. Wonderful sentiment here…and don’t forget the agony of LOST LUGGAGE! While on vacation in Florida 3 years ago, my NAVY BLUE carryon was lost. It was too large for the overhead bins on the commuter from Charlotte to Tampa, so I was asked to check it.

    After filing a claim with Airtran, I was told, for some God forsaken reason, my bag had been mistakenly loaded onto a plane headed for ATLANTA. It had a $900 prescription in it (total cost w/out insurance…my co-pay is $50, but I’d just gotten it filled, so there was no way in hell they would’ve have covered it TWICE in one month).

    And THEN, they brought a PINK bag to my HOTEL 7 hours later and insisted it was mine because the claim check nos. supposedly matched! Ahem, I don’t OWN any PINK luggage! As per the description above, the missing bag was NAVY BLUE! Turned out, it belonged to a gay man on a cruise somewhere in the Caribbean! THEN, when the right bag finally returned from Atlanta 24 hours later, the delivery “girl” got lost trying to find my hotel, and I ended up going out into the street to FLAG HER DOWN!

    So, yes, seeing my husband after ALL THAT was definitely a JOYOUS event! :)

    Thanks for sharing,

    P.S. Additionally, lesson learned…I no longer travel with luggage that isn’t flowery/striped/or decorated with duck tape!

  12. I’m honestly surprised to be the first post on this who’s in a long distance relationship… nothing feels longer than that flight from New York to LA, but nothing in this world is sweeter than getting there~
    this post is spot on!

  13. Yes, exactly why I love going to the airports! Whether is it for a send-off or a welcome home! greeting, airports are such wonderful places…and even more so when we’re with our loved ones. :)

  14. My long term boyfriend is picking me up at the airport in two months. I’ve been in France for the past studying and working, and we haven’t seen each other at all in that time. Can not wait for this awesome!!

  15. I got one-Having someone continuously speak to you in french even though you don’t understand (thats how beautiful the language sounds!!!!!!!)Awesome

  16. A friend of mine is just arriving today. Though we are long distance friends and haven’t met in person before. Its his idea that I would show up at airport. Earlier I was a bit confused but after reading this post, my heart is pounding to feel this AWESOMENESS too…. Its great :)

  17. I had an especially awesome moment relating to this.

    It was late 2007, and I’d been dating my boyfriend since 2006. We were so in love! But alas, he was going to study abroad in France for a year, while I had just graduated high school. I decided, I am young and wish to travel, why not go with him? So I did!

    A month before our time was up, I went back home, because to be honest it was a hard stressful experience, not at all like we’d dreamed. So I experienced the longest month ever waiting for him to finish school and come back home to TN!

    Lo and behold, the day came. I waited anxiously in a new, cute outfit I’d bought, all dolled up for his return. I’m so nervous! Then I see him come down the escalator. I see him looking for me… I’m able to walk right up to him and shout the little nickname we used for each other. He looked right at me and tackled me, he was so happy! My shoe flew off from the impact, lol. And then, after we got his luggage, he got down on one knee and proposed. It was a beautiful little ring with a light blue gem (my favorite color). I said yes! Some flight attendants nearby saw the whole thing and ran over with tears in their eyes, congratulating us on our engagement.

    So yeah… very awesome indeed. I’ll never forget it. :)

  18. I only get home for a few weeks each year because of school. Nothing beats seeing the smiling faces of your family as you walk out of baggage claim. Second place, your Mom standing in line for baggage check and making sure you get through security (despite you being a fully grown woman).

  19. 33 hours on a flight from Sydney AUS where I live to NYC where my boyfriend is. I ran love actually style through JFK until I saw him standing at the end of the hall with a big goofy smile on his face. Running into his arms after 6 months apart and two days in travel was the greatest feeling ever.

  20. My beau is visiting from France in 2 weeks. I like the idea of “standing at the gate, holding a sign with his name on it, chauffeur-style.” How cute! I’ll do that :)

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