Holiday Airport Bingo

Bingo card played with bottle caps.

Buy another round! I just saw a Hello Kitty bag!

I remember playing license plate and travel bingo as a kid driving down I-65 to Grandma’s house. But that was before deregulation, when plane flights were more comfortable but a lot more expensive. With more families flying to Grandma’s house, airport bingo seems more on-target. A quick Google search will find all sorts of airport bingo cards with squares for things like “police dog” and “solo traveler” to help you  as one press release put it, “pass the time while not so patiently waiting to board.”

That’s OK for a start, I guess. But here at TravelCommons, we try to go to the next level of road warrior-ism, so here is an airport bingo card with a more realistic take at holiday air travel…

  1. 10-15 minute traffic jam on the airport access road — just long enough to get those stress hormones flowing
  2. You score a complimentary PreCheck notice on your boarding pass
  3. Guy in front of you in the PreCheck line walks through the metal detector with his smartphone. The alarm sounds. He stands there, puzzled. The TSA person rolls her eyes and asks, yet again, if he’d emptied his pockets. He looks surprised that his smartphone would set it off. She looks at her watch for how long ‘til her next break.
  4. Girl pulling a Hello Kitty kids-sized roller board on her way to Grandma’s. Hey, who said airport bingo had to be 100% snarky?
  5. Woman in front of you in the Starbucks line orders a half-decaf 3-pump no-foam vanilla latte, breaking the 3-adjective rule. It’s Sodexo, not your corner Starbucks. Keep it simple so the rest of us can order.
  6. Piano bar playing Christmas carols — or if you’re in Nashville airport, a country duo
  7. A family of four or more walking abreast, slowly, so that people racing for their gates drift into the on-coming traffic, or try to thread through the crowd in front of a boarding gate.
  8. Someone sprinting down the terminal
  9. Available rocking chair. More airports are scattering these around, in front of windows in terminal connectors, in random hallways. Bonus if it’s next to an open — and working — electrical outlet
  10. Craft beer bar with beers you haven’t had — get those stress hormones back under control
  11. Dueling gate announcements. Gates G20 and G22 are boarding at the same time, with each gate agent talking over the other one. You hear Boarding Group 3 called and hustle up to the door, only to be shunted over to wait in the shame station; the other gate called Boarding Group 3.
  12. One of the cabin cleaning crew is wearing reindeer antlers
  13. Free Space
  14. Passenger walking back up to the front of the plane because the bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead
  15. Boarding is complete and there’s an empty middle seat next to you!
  16. Missing crew. You’re next to an empty middle seat, but you have no crew. Their flight was late, and pulled into a gate two terminals over. They’re on their way, but now you’re worried that some stand-by will drop into that empty seat.
  17. Window seat passenger is startled by a direct hit from the de-icing fluid spray
  18. Someone in the row in front of you is watching a compilation of Game of Thrones sex scenes on a full-sized iPad
  19. Old school flight attendant hangs a coffee pack in the rear toilet as an air freshener
  20. Passenger wearing destination-inappropriate clothing (e.g., cargo shorts on a flight to Green Bay, Canada Goose jacket on a flight to Cancun)
  21. Passengers applaud the plane landing
  22. Early arrival!  Favorable winds put you on the ground 30 minutes early. You start to think that you should travel more often.
  23. The first restroom you walk past is closed for cleaning, maintenance, or the line is out the door
  24. Your luggage is one of the first 10 bags to appear on the belt
  25. Grandma’s car is there when you walk out of the terminal — and the airport police didn’t ticket her or make her recirculate

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