Every time I go anywhere out of town on a plane I am obscenely early. If the recommended arrival time is two hours ahead, I will arrive three hours ahead. I don't like to be rushed.

The person I visit the most is my daughter Laura who lives in St. Louis and last week at Easter was no exception. I left late Wednesday, not late in the day, I mean late to get to the airport. I had been so busy that somehow packing to go kept getting pushed to the bottom of the "must do" list until finally I, who always has all my packing done a week ahead of time, was just throwing things into a suitcase.

Upon my arrival in Philadelphia, I found out that all of the Economy parking had been filled days before, meaning I had to park in the garage. Luckily I could go into the long term garage parking but it was almost double the Economy at $17 as compared to $9 a day. Still determined to have a great time and stay calm, I put out of my mind that my flight was scheduled to leave in 55 minutes. Check-in was amazingly quick despite the fact that virtually every human being in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas were on their way to Disney World. Security for Florida flights were taking 45 minutes to an hour to clear, security for St. Louis via Chicago 10 minutes, watching those people in lines that never seemed to move while mine raced through-priceless.

Direct flights on Southwest Airlines to St. Louis are few and far between, so I had a layover. The flight before mine had been booked solid however my own flight to Chicago/St. Louis had around 50 empty seats so that some of us didn't just get a couple of empty seats we got a whole empty row to ourselves.

Finally situated comfortably in my "personal" row, I began to think about the flight. I don't usually like to admit it but there is one reason I do love to fly into Chicago; it's because they film the A&E television show "Airline" at the Southwest terminals there. "Airline" as with many great television show concepts, started on the BBC as a reality show, featuring real situations at Heathrow Airport in London. Wildly successful, the concept was brought to the US with the same name, but now featuring upstart airline Southwest. The U.S. version became a tremendous success just like its counterpart "across the pond."

I have been at Midway twice when they have been filming. I didn't even make it into a background shot either time, but I decided that since my day had gotten off to a rocky start, I would perk it up by getting myself onto the show.

By the time we landed my makeup was thickly applied (remember you need more for TV). I immediately proceeded to my terminal and went to the counter where I engaged in unbelievably witty banter with the desk person. It went amazingly well, perfect in fact until a gentleman walked up and said "hey where they filming the TV show?" My banter mate replied "oh they're done here and they've moved to Texas."

You know what they say about the best laid plans-they often go kaput.

Shelley Castetter lives in Bart Township. Her e-mail address is southernexposure1@yahoo.com.

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