One of the saddest things I have seen at airport arrivals is the expected arms of a loved one not being there to welcome a traveller home. When people start the walk from customs to freedom they are met by eyes looking back, eyes waiting for their own joyous moment to greet a missed relative. All the while your eyes are searching for your own recognition and although the waiting eyes aren’t directly upon you, they seem to drill deeper into your fearful state.

It’s the moment that after searching and checking all the expectant eyes, you realise your embrace, you’re welcome home smile is not there and those watching and waiting can’t help but feel emotion for these disappointed souls.

Landing solo and walking the path to the arrivals lounge, knowing no-one is there to meet you takes some effort. It takes a few flights to get use to it but this is achieved far more quickly when you are travelling with someone. Still, I find it a strangely embarrassing event.

It can be compared to walking from a portaloo at a festival. Everyone knows what you were doing, and although no-one is really watching you, it feels like that EVERYONE is watching.

But when someone is meant to meet you at the airport and they aren’t there, panic kicks in.

Many reasons can contribute to this, traffic jams, a plane landing early, people waiting at the wrong terminal. My advice is if you’re planning a trip to meet someone at an airport, give yourself a little more time to be sure not to let your loved one down. You’ll both feel better for it.

The monotony of meeting me every time I land back in the UK quickly became a chore for my family and friends. I now walk from customs with a skip in my step looking ever so slightly above the heads of the searching eyes. I too can walk with a whistle from the portaloo!



  1. How old are you today sir? Best wishes to you and yours.

  2. You are absolutely right about that feeling when you arrive and the person you expect to see isn’t there. I’ve been on both sides of the equation and the only thing worse than not finding the face you’re looking for is the guilt of being stuck in traffic, knowing the feeling of quasi-abandonment that the other person is feeling. For all the upsides of traveling, there are a lot of potential pitfalls.

    Thanks again for stopping by the 69 Love Stories Project.

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