Monday, September 03, 2007

Spending the Night in Midway Airport

Last week I got stuck in Midway Airport for 15 hours. There was nonstop lightning and heavy rain all afternoon and evening, and by midnight the airplane crews were obligated to call it a night. My flight was cancelled, but they appropriated a new flight to handle all of the passengers from my airplane that was supposed to leave at 6:40 the next morning. So I decided to spend the night. They put out maybe a hundred cots that were all occupied by the time I decided to go looking for a place to sleep:

I wandered around the gates looking for a spot to set up a little bivouac, but all of the obvious spots (including everything near a wall outlet) were taken. After a couple of laps around the terminal, I spotted a small space behind a Northwest Airlines desk that was isolated and semi-private. When I walked back into the space to investigate, I found that it had a covered floor socket, and that someone had stashed a folded cot behind a storage locker. So I set up a little makeshift capsule hotel for myself and got some fitful sleep under the bright flourescent lights.

The cot had one absurd design flaw: whenever you shifted your position at all, it made a loud, comical squeaking/stretching sound. I managed to drive off a person who was sitting about 20 feet away by continually readjusting my position on the cot. And there was noticeable annoyance in the larger areas where the cots were assembled, because there was a loud squeaking always coming from some cot as people were trying to fall asleep.

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