How To Have A Successful Hangover At The Airport
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Politics and Activism

How To Have A Successful Hangover At The Airport

Going to the airport hungover is an adventure in itself.

How To Have A Successful Hangover At The Airport
The Huffington Post

What’s worse than an 8 a.m. class? An 8 a.m. flight!

The airport can be a scary place.

It’s full of expensive food, grumpy, tired strangers, and uncomfortable chairs in which you can’t sleep. This makes it all the more horrific when you happen to be hungover after a night of heavy drinking and dramatics. No one wants to lug a 50 lb. suitcase across white, sterile tile for an hour, no one wants to wait in line to buy a 10 dollar breakfast sandwich and 5 dollar coffee, and no one wants to develop chronic neck pain while waiting for their flight.

I’ve done all of these things, and more.

My typical hungover airport experience goes something like this:

Get There:

I call an Uber pool at 6:30 am and sit on my bed fully clothed waiting to leave. I stare at the wall, make tea, then proceed to not drink it. Today’s a lucky day because I got two hours of sleep. Sometimes it’s none. The Uber comes and my driver, Jeremy, wants to tell me about his story of how he immigrated to the U.S. from Yemen and how his kids always ask for expensive shoes but his wife Malia always defends them. He then gives me his solution for peace in the Middle East (surprise, it’s religion!). I haven’t spoken a word except for an occasional grunt or eye blink to show I’m listening. On any other day, I would really try to care about this kind, but, incredibly un-self-aware driver, but the sun hasn’t risen yet and my brain sounds like one monotone flatline.

Check In:

I thank the kind but un-self-aware Jeremy and wish him well. I lug my suitcase to the woman at the front desk. I scan my ticket five times only to realize that it’s upside down. The only bags I have now are under my eyes (and my 20 lb. backpack full of books).


This is going to be the hardest part of my triathlon obstacle course. I’ll have to stand on my weak dehydrated stump legs for what feels like a decade and move one step a minute. I might lean on the stanchion and pretend it’s a pillow, or simply try to sleep vertically. Either way, my eyes are closed and I’m entering zombie mode. I finally get my stuff through security and receive a most unaffectionate pat-down from a TSA agent with a slick-backed bun—it’s more like a firm spanking of the arms and legs. I walk over to my gate and sit down.

A Stranger Wants To Talk:

A stranger sits next to me amongst a row of empty seats and strikes up a conversation. I pretend to be concerned with the non-existent piece of lint on my shoe. Thankfully, it’s small talk. I go back to de-linting.


I see a Burger King in the distance like the oasis in the desert in "Space Jam." I run to it like a woman who’s just divorced her abusive husband of 20 years and she’s finally found her passion in line dancing. Electrolytes find their way into my bloodstream and I’m slowly regaining consciousness. Someone mentions tequila and I gag. I crawl back to my gate like a turtle on the run.

Wrong Gate:

I find out later when I try to board my flight that I’m at the wrong gate and I’ve missed my actual plane.
Well, that’s pretty much shit!
The twitching effects from the bean water help me to gesticulate to the airline employees I need a new flight.
I get a new flight—on the other side of the terminal. So now, I increase my turtle running pace and barely slide onto the plane, sweating and huffing.

Wrong Seat:

I collapse into the first seat I find available. It happens to be next to a middle-aged man that has an extreme case of nostalgia for his Peace Corps trip to Kenya in 1996. Once again, I am left to half-listen, half-blink to a story that is inordinately inspiring and interesting but I can’t quite consciously grasp because I spent too much time with Don Julio last night. I feel like a selfish American as he relays how he transported a woman bleeding from a botched abortion to the village hospital an hour away in the middle of the night. They tried to save her but she didn’t survive the surgery. He felt a deep grief and guilt for failing to rescue her. Now, he teaches at an ivy league and fights for women’s rights to birth control.

I ruminate…

Is there water on this plane?

I Almost Faint:



We land in Oakland an hour later and my hangover is pretty much gone. A little too late, I believe.

Concluding Thoughts:

Airport hangovers are inevitable in your 20s, but some truly magical encounters can occur when you’re barely hanging on. Just count on the fact that there’s a warm bed at the end of the drunken rainbow.

So, when you’re friend says to you, “Hey Emma, wanna get drunk tonight?”
Close your eyes, take a deep inhale, and say “Why, yes, of course.”
Just don’t forget to set your alarm. Cause I’ve done that too. But that’s a different story.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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