I often hear about the dry, re-circulated air in airplanes and how one should make an effort to stay hydrated during a flight. And I generally try to follow this advice, although, there’s also the downside of having to crawl over your fellow passengers too many times so you don’t really want to over hydrate either. So, as with so many things in life, finding the middle ground in this situation seems appropriate. Drink some water but not too much and you should be fine.
Unless your flight arrives late into SLC and you’ve only got 5 minutes to make your connection which, of course, departs from the other side of that fairly massive air complex.
Customer service isn’t what it used to be in airports. When we got off the plane we asked “a representative” what gate to head to and if she could let them know we were on our way. E63. And, no. You’ll have to run.
Um, run? I mean, I’m fine with that. Hil’s fine with that. But who else in this world in an airport is going to respond to that with enthusiasm? Something seems wrong with the system.
But we ran. With our heavy bags and coats flung over our shoulders – because no one can afford to check a bag anymore. I was wearing heavy hiking boots. Hil was wearing clogs. Hil said I looked like Santa Claus. I felt more like John Muir (having just spent the flight reading his book.) We both did our best OJ impression. Lots of dodging in and out of the many holiday travelers blocking our passage between the B and E concourses. No hurdling though – that seemed a little excessive. Some things only really happen in the commercials.
It was sort of a fun run. Challenging. Probably about 3/4 of a mile. Towards the end of the run I noticed my first symptom: cotton mouth. That’s weird, I thought. Not normal. We tried to compose ourselves as we arrived at E63 but soon encountered the next symptom: dry cough. Now that’s even weirder. We could barely speak. Half a sentence to the gate agent… interrupted by wheezing breath and searing throat and cough cough cough… second half of the sentence recovered by Hil or me back and forth – tag team communication.
It was crazy. The coughing just wouldn’t stop. I was convinced we’d run through some sort of chemical gas cloud leaking in from a jet refueling hose or some kind of industrial strength airport deodorizing agent.
Recovery was slow and agonizing. Water gargle beer water gargle beer, repeat.
The only explanation I’ve yet to come up with here is that we had severely dehydrated lungs and throat from the hour and a half plane ride in. We lived. Barely. But what would have happened to someone else? After this experience, despite the novelty and classic moment-ness of running through an airport, I have to advise all passengers against it no matter how much water you’ve been drinking or how fit you think you are. It’s just not worth it.
And besides, we missed our connecting flight.