It’s finally time!  It’s time to hop on an airplane and take that getaway you’ve been waiting for all year.

You’ve worked hard, you’ve chosen your destination, planned your itinerary, and purchased your tickets.

Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at

You have shrink-wrapped all your clothes and crammed them and your essentials into a 9”x 14”x 22” carry-on bag, so that you won’t be charged an extra $25 each way for luggage, and so that your bag will be stored reassuringly above your own head and you won’t run the risk of checking it and having it wind up in Bogota, Colombia (which has happened).

You have parked your car in Row 64-G of the Wherez-My-Car lot, and you have stashed your ticket in a very special place that you will completely forget a week from now.

You have snaked through a security line so long that you became briefly comatose and then finally awoke expecting to see Splash Mountain in front of you.

You have escalated down and up and side to side and walked and trammed and shuttled and people-moved to your terminal.

You have found your gate and settled yourself in-between a teenager who is working his way through the jumbo bag of fried onion rings and a sleeping woman who is flying standby and has been there since last Tuesday.

At last, it’s time to board!

You listen as the flight attendant announces that the crew is now ready for “pre-board,” which allows mothers additional time to get on the plane with their young children who all happen to have ear-infections.  (I was one of those moms).

You check your ticket and wait your turn.  Now the flight attendant is calling for their Premium boarding: “All our Diamond members, Medallion members, Pendant members, Ornament members, Olympians, Super-Duper-Special-Elite Club members, Nobel Prize Winners and Poet Laureates may board.”

That’s not you.  You watch the crowd file into the jet bridge while an even larger crowd gathers, expectantly.

“It’s now time for Priority boarding: Our Platinum members and Gold members, our Comfort level, Cushy level, Posh level and also our Virgin Lithuanian Fly Club members, please come to the agent, with your tickets in hand.”

Moments pass.

“Zone One may now board: that’s Silver, Silver Medallion, Blue Silver, Flying Silver, Hi-Ho Silver, Corporate Silver and High Achievers.”
Still not you.

“Zone Two may now board: Nickel, Copper, Zinc, Aluminum, Magnesium, Germanium, Plebeians, and the Red Birds and Blue Birds reading groups.”

There’s only one zone left, and it’s got to be yours.

“Zone Three: Gallium, Boron, Silicon, and the rest of the Periodic Table may now board, plus Paper and Wood.

“There is no more room in the overhead compartment for your carry-on bags, Zone Three, but we will check them for you for your convenience.  We assure you that, although you will not find them in baggage claim at your destination, they will safely arrive in Bogota, Colombia.

“We hope you enjoy your flight.”

And so your trip begins.  Let’s hope the rest of your vacation is first class.

Robin Conte

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see