I like to have hustle and bustle in the concourses, at the ticket counters (assuming I'm on time), and along moving walkways and trams. However, once I get to the gate, I tend to get there early and the specific gate is usually deserted, and it's a nice feeling to be able to relax after going through security and everything.
A couple of stories about various airports at night:
, the only flight arrival between midnight and 6 AM
(the window might even be larger) is a 2:30 AM
arrival on US Airways Express from LAS
. I was on this flight (as America West Express) last October, and I was seated in row one. I was basically the first one off the plane and I stepped out in to an abandoned COS
. Despite our arrival, it was down to security lights and was quite dim in the gate area with no one in sight. Once we got down the main concourse all the lights were on, but it was silent except for the sound of the escalator. Pretty cool.
, I arrived on a red-eye from PHX
) at 5 AM
, and the place was already pretty busy, although most of the restaurants and stores were closed for another hour. But it felt more like 7 AM
, just to show how busy ATL
is. Or maybe I'm just not used to being in east coast airports that have so many red-eye arrivals (which you don't see in PHX
at midnight is the opposite story. Flights are leaving all the time and it seems like 9 PM
, particularly in the HP
Getting on a late evening or red-eye flight is strange. Since food locations are generally all closed, almost everyone waits in the gate area as there is nowhere else to go. This generally makes boarding quick, as the gate agents don't need to wait for people who scatter around the concourse and show up just before the door closes.
My favorite airport story during a very quiet time of the night is when I wasn't a passenger. In summer '04, one of our friends was coming back from South Carolina for basic training in the National Guard, and about ten of us went to MSP
to wait for his late flight, a DL
connection flight from CVG
). It was so deserted, and his flight delayed, that we wound up playing with the wheelchairs intended for the disabled. Normally this wouldn't be allowed, but since hardly anyone was there at the time, the airport security guard (not the TSA
people, just the regular building security) simply warned us not to break them and let us be, so two of my friends got pushed all around the MSP
baggage claim area. That was a fun night - to be able to break different "rules" (not laws of course) of the airport simply due to the time of night. Too bad we were limited to the bag claim area, but it was fun anyway.