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Monday, November 03, 2003

Traveling vicariously through airports

Some travelers are really serious about their travel. Someone from Dubai asks today’s WashPost flight crew :

At what point can you say that you have 'been' someplace? Does a layover in London count as having been to Europe? Do you have to leave the airport? Do you have to stay a night?

Another from Washington writes:

Fallacy of life lists notwithstanding, I think you cannot say you have been there if you never left the airport. I have made a connection at the airport in Franfurt, but I have never "been to" Germany.

According to the flight crew, the basic answer is, just going to the airport does not constitute having visited the city, state, or country, in which the airport resides. For example (not in the article), just because you flew in and out of, say O’Hare, doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily been to Chicago, or Illinois, or even the United States.

There is one exception, though. And, this is my own personal exception. If some noteworthy event happens to you at the airport, you can claim it. For instance, I like to say I’ve been to Miami even though I’ve never actually been to Miami. Truth be told, I didn’t even get out of the plane.

It was a charter flight on the now defunct Ozark Airlines from the Bahamas to St. Louis. It was supposed to be a direct flight. But, something happened after takeoff that made them land the plane in Miami. What caused the stop-over, we could only guess because we were never told. The plane taxied out to some obscure tarmac far away from the terminal. Trucks were brought in with big lights. This happened in the middle of the night, by the way. The luggage compartments were emptied onto carts. Apparently, they were looking for something. Who knows if they found it or not. The passengers were kept on the plane the whole time. The luggage was put back on the plane. And, after about two hours on the ground, the plane took off again. That constitutes my big trip to Miami.

Posted by Marie at November 3, 2003 11:53 PM


Interesting. I don't count airport connections either. My rule of thumb is I've got to sleep there in order for me to count it as having been to some place. So while my only exposure to Chicago is really only O'Hare, I once was held up overnight due to weather. So I can tell people I've been to Chicago.

Posted by: Kem White at November 4, 2003 6:24 AM

If that's the case, I've never visited Philadelphia, Cincinatti, Dallas, or Rota Spain.


Posted by: ben at November 4, 2003 8:27 PM