For students from the greater New York metropolitan area, returning home for October break may mean a simple train or car ride. Same goes for students from Boston, Philadelphia, Newark and other large Northeastern cities; options exist.
For students from farther-flung parts of the country, and the world, going home may not be an option. If it is, it means facing the gravest challenge known to modern humans: navigating an NYC airport. A feat of epic proportions by no stretch of the imagination, where countless Vassar souls have been mildly to exceptionally inconvenienced by ceaseless construction problems, eternal security lines and delayed or canceled flights.
Sophomore Horace Amphitryon of Cookeville, TN, is one student braving the tangled mess of traveling out of LaGuardia Airport (LGA) this fall.
“Getting an affordable ticket was nearly impossible. I found one that was pretty reasonable, but they wouldn’t let me put it on a credit card. I had to use the pelt of a lion, which like maybe that’s some new cryptocurrency and I just don’t get that technology, but it was fairly distressing to have to slay and skin a lion during midterms,” Amphitryon confessed to the Misc.
Amphitryon also felt targeted by certain airline rules. He claimed corruption and sneaky business practices are abetted by the companies’ abilities to hide information in fine print, particularly the conditions determining who is assigned a seat for the flight.
“I had to stand in the aisle because I wouldn’t clean the bathrooms. That was the worst. I kept getting bumped by the drink cart,” Amphitryon remembered.
This year, Amphitryon feels more prepared to battle the airport.
“I think I get what they’re doing. It kind of clicked for me when a gate agent told me I wouldn’t be allowed on the plane until I brought her the utility belt of a TSA security guard. The lion pelt, cleaning the bathrooms and the belt—it all came together for me. Thank god I’m a Greek and Roman studies major, otherwise I would never would’ve understood that each task mimicked the 12 Labors of Hercules,” said Amphitryon.
“So I worked ahead a little bit. I still have some hydra heads from when I slayed one to fly to my uncle’s funeral last February. Maybe having those will qualify me for pre-check, and I’ll be able to keep my shoes on. Chasing down a deer is much harder if you’re carrying luggage and trying to lace your Vans again.”
Amphitryon considered upgrading his ticket to the Premium package, which allows the passenger access to the Executive Lounge, free meals on all flights and a free pass through security.
“An extra $6,000 and the blood of my unborn first son seemed a little steep. I guess I’ll just have to try my luck stealing all those little courtesy shuttle carts they drive around sometimes,” Amphitryon exclaimed.
On the day of his flight, Amphitryon boarded the train and checked his phone to receive a slightly ominous email entitled “Policy Change Due to LGA Construction.” The lack of WiFi available on Metro-North trains prevented him from opening the email.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Amphitryon reassured himself. “I sent in the pelt, I have the hydra heads, I have a much bigger, stickier net for catching all the birds that flew inside the airport accidentally. How much more prepared can I be?”
Upon arrival at LaGuardia, Amphitryon found himself horribly confused by the detours and alternate routes createwwd by the ongoing construction.
“I don’t remember any of this. Where do I go? Why aren’t there any signs?”
Hours later, Amphitryon seemed to have made no progress toward check-in or the security line.
“I think I’ve been through here before, but I’m really not sure,” Amphitryon sighed, “the airport is a freaking labyrinth.”
Not much is known about his whereabouts anymore. The last anyone heard of Amphitryon, he was still stuck in the convoluted twists and turns of LaGuardia Airport, and was attempting to stave off a very large, very angry fellow customer whose flight had been canceled and who had not been offered a hotel voucher for the evening. We all wish him the best in making his flight.