You might not expect to find kindness lurking in an international airport. Airports are notoriously me-focused with tempers creeping higher and higher as we navigate airport check-in, TSA, and every-seat-full airplanes.
My husband and I experienced a kindness that worked very much in our favor on our return flight from Las Vegas to Seattle earlier this week. In the pre-boarding area – Gate E15 – the Alaska Airlines employee kept encouraging passengers to check their large roller suitcases at the gate to allow for more space for everyone in the airplane. Those bags could be checked at the gate for no charge whatsoever (usually it’s $25 per bag).
I observed those who took Alaska up on their offer but many did not. I understand how difficult it is to part with one’s belongings. There might be something in that roller suitcase a person might need during the two and a quarter hour flight. (I’ve yet to see someone yank their roller bag out of the overhead during a flight however. Once it’s there, it is there to stay until the plane comes to a stop at the jetway, then people, like meercats, jump out of their seat, pop open the overhead bin, and are good and ready to steamroll themselves down the aisle out of the plane … even at the sacrifice of other’s toes.)
My husband and I have one carry-on each: a backpack. Our conservative manner of traveling paid off at McCarran International Airport. Instead of announcing rows – starting at the back of the plane – for passengers to start boarding, the Alaska agent said, “Anyone without a roller bag; anyone with a carry-on that fits under the seat in front of them may now board the plane.” And there you have it: a kindness was extended to us that might not have been a kindness to the remainder of the passengers with their roller bags but it was a kindness nonetheless.
It was a kindness of which we were able to take advantage; a kindness that rewarded us for traveling light.