Everyday Decisions: Should You Take the Train?


Here’s the scenario: you arrive very late at an airport you haven’t been to before. Security takes forever, but the flight is on time—which means you’re even more rushed.

You walk into the terminal and look for your gate: A70. Damn … you’re currently at A18. Above you is an “Express Train” that runs between A1 and A75 with an unknown number of intermediate stops.

You know if you take the escalator up to the train and catch a ride it could be faster—but remember, you’re unfamiliar with this airport.

Will you have to wait for the train to arrive? How much faster will it actually be? Might it be better to hoof it?

You can’t just stand there and think about it forever … remember, time is short. You have only ten minutes to get to A70 before they close the flight.

It’s up to you … what do you do?


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  • Kalen says:

    Although not as exotic, I ran into this problem the first time I was in the Houston airport. Actually, it was the first time I was ever switching gates just out of college.

    I ran. I ran right beside the train while a kid laughed at me in the window. Turns out it was a battle like the tortoise and the hare. The train had lots of intermediate stops so we both arrived at the gate at the same time.

    The problem was that the person beside me on the plane that was boarding when I arrived had to deal with me panting and sweating for about 10 minutes after taking my seat. I still feel bad about that because no one wants to be “that guy” on the plane.

    I am not sure if I learned a lesson or not. I still think it is a “game time” decision.

  • Stephen Ravndal says:

    It’s called the “Motor City” Chris, sounds to me like fate dictates that you take the Express Train! (Although the walk is certainly doable if you can resist stopping by one of the countless Coffee stands between the two gates!)

  • Maria Pere-Perez says:

    I’m a woman, so I would respond: it depends on how high my heels are. 🙂

    But seriously, for ANY airport…. A70 is not that far from A18. It’s about 4 gates every 50-60 feet. (2 gates on my left + 2 gates on my right spaced about 50-60 feet from the next set of 4). I can definitely do it in less than 10 minutes, even with heels.

  • Dave says:

    Walk. Time spent in motion is better (and less regrettable), than time spent waiting.

    You can walk faster; you can’t wait faster.

  • Pablo says:

    Walk fast and you can make it!

    The reality is that once you are checked-in in the airline system they will wait a few extra minutes after the usual ‘last-call’ for boarding because if a passenger doesnt show up they need to verify if you checked luggage… which in that case it turns into a ‘nightmare’ for the airline employees because the plane cannot take-off with luggage on the hold for a passenger that is missing.
    (part of the anti-terrorism law)

    So…. enjoy the walk all the way to A70, you may even end up with time to browse the duty free shops 🙂

    Happy new year!!

  • Adam says:


    Without knowing the details about an airport, it’s hard for me to justify attempting the train. I’d go with what I know, in this case…and I do know my legs can carry me quickly enough to travel 52 gates in less than 10 minutes.

  • CTKWingChun says:

    I would hoof it – it’s in my nature. Wouldn’t matter how awkward I was carrying all my baggage or flying down the walkway with a cart.

    I know that if I run for the gate, it’s on me. If I don’t make it, it’s on me; I don’t have to depend on someone else’s time (read: the unknown variables of an express train).

    Curiously, did this happen to you and what did YOU do?

  • Lukas says:

    Walk it! Every airport tells you how much time to each gate. Even if it doesn’t, it’s maximum 15min slow walk, so as you’re at A18 already, if you hurry up, make a run for it, you’ll be there in 5.

    Don’t take the train. it’ll probably take 5 mins to arrive and then 10 to get there. You’re better off relying on your own feet here 🙂

  • Deb Bohentin says:

    Sounds a little like Detroit. Well, I could run 18 gates back, wait for the train, get to the gate 75 and walk 5 gates back or run 52 gates among all the people. I vote for the express.

  • Sandy says:

    I’d find someone who seemed both knowledgeable and quick (maybe a store employee or something) ask them which one was faster. I’d take that.

  • Bruce says:

    Turn a bad situation into something super cool. I think in reality I’ve already missed my flight. Chances are catching the train or hoofing it will both fail. I stand for 30 seconds, take a deep breath, then return to the departure lounge and choose a new destination from the board. A new spontaneous holiday.

  • HJ says:

    It COULD be faster. Enough said! If you get onto the train and it ends up stopping at every gate, get out at the second stop and RUN. If it doesn’t, you just got yourself a less breathless way getting to your gate.

  • Taylor says:

    I take it by foot. Waiting for someone or something instead of taking control on your own just kills me.

  • Ann says:

    No question about it–take the option that gives me more control over the outcome and RUN. Hopefully I’ve been smart enough to have a very small, light carry-on.

  • Claire says:

    Take a second to stop, breathe, calm down. Check around for a “next train in XX minutes” sign. If it’s less than 5 minutes, take the train.

    If there’s no sign in sight, take the train anyway, especially if it’s a large airport. They tend to come in 5 min or less anyway. Yeah, you’re probably going to spend the whole time tapping your foot and looking at the second hand on your watch, but it will be faster, even if you have to back-track 5 gates. Especially(!) if this unknown airport is in the US. Americans still have not seemed to have figured out proper moving sidewalk etiquette (I’m American and this infuriates me). i.e. stay out of the left lane if you’re going to stop and have a chat (or text everyone you have ever met) and sprinting people always have the right of way. ha

  • jaime says:

    Assuming you are in the correct terminal then the gates are unlikely to be ridiculously spread out.

    2 choices:

    i) ask someone at gate A18 to radio gate A70 to tell them you are minutes away.
    ii) ask them how long it takes to run there/train there then take shortest option.

    alternatively if noone is around to ask just RUN. You can cover close to a mile. There will likely be moving walkways if its a real trek and running on these will get you there extremely quickly. You are also likely to be able to hear announcements (in the train its less likely), last minute changes etc. It’d be a shame to get to A70 to find it was departing from A60 all of a sudden.

  • Brett Henley says:

    Trust my instinct, which would be to walk. Too many outside variables with the train. Now, if this is a test to see who chooses the path with more unknown vs. known, then I’d simply offer that walking on my own two feet, when in doubt, is always a good option.

    If you can’t count on you, then who else?

  • Gillian @OneGiantStep says:

    I would hoof it…I know how fast I can walk/run/hump my bags. The thought of that train stopping at even every 10 gates would drive me crazy! At worst, if I thought I wasn’t going to make it I could stop at an inbetween gate and have them call ahead. Another reason to pack light!!

  • Andrew L says:

    I decide to hoof it because I think I’m in good shape and will be able to run faster than the train. Somewhere around gate 45, I run out of steam and hear the express train roar by above my head. Hopefully there’s another flight soon.

  • Chris Oakes says:

    Easy one – HOOF IT. That way, if I miss the flight, I can blame myself, rather than the train. That way, I’ll know I did everything within my own power to make it.

  • Paul Docherty says:

    I recall the way that time slows down when you’re somewhere unpleasant, and how distance means nothing between lovers. I quickly whip out my swiss army knife with the dentistry attachment and stab my gums with it while falling in love with Gate 70. I now have lots of time and no distance. I make the flight with 9 minutes to spare.

  • yliharma says:

    mmm it depends on the luggage you have to carry with you…if it’s a backpack, a light suitcase or no baggage at all I’d rather run, but if it’s a wheeled suitcase or an heavy one I’d take the train 🙂

  • Eurobubba says:

    Time yourself walking to the next train stop, counting how many gates you’ve passed, and calculate whether you’ve got enough time to safely make your flight walking. If so, it’s not worth the risk of waiting for the train.

  • Michal says:

    Run! Get there and relax when you are in your seat. Times like these are when it feels great to be in shape

  • Roxanne says:

    Oh you walk… You definitely walk. Even if you miss the flight, you will have seen — really seen — another airport and will get a few more hours to watch the world go by and maybe even take a few steps outside a terminal. What is the rush? Why are we always dashing to the finish line?

  • MQD says:

    I actually ran into this exact problem in Texas but with a connecting flight(San Francisco to Raleigh-Durham). I took the train. Everyone got off who were on my flight, I stayed on due to a moment of confusion. I got the flight, they all missed it. And the luck gods smiled upon me.
    Either way, take the train or not, it doesn’t matter. Make a choice and stick to it.

  • christiano kwena says:

    Just go with the first option coming to my mind and stick to it. I base this on the blink (book) by Malcom Gladwell.

  • Ruth says:

    I’ve had this situation occur so many times. I hoof it! I know I can run if I have to, rather be subjected to train stops, which get the blood pressure rising. I just ‘go’ and usually make it. Rule of thumb with traveling for this scenario is not to wear high heels and make sure the wheels of your carry on (if you have one) are good, or don’t bother with a carry on, zip up a large handbag which holds your Kindle/iPad and other essentials. Fine for a quick sprint. Last thing: learning how to say ‘excuse me’ in different languages is highly important when legging it.

  • nicolas says:

    I don’t take the train but walk the distance. Taking the train brings another factor in the equation that I have no information or control over.

  • Karen Marston says:

    I’d hoof it, and I’d make it. I’d feel more anxious standing around waiting for the escalator, train, stops, etc. Can you say panic attack? Ten minutes really isn’t very long, but I’d get my sprint on, and you can be damn sure I’d be running along those weird flat moving floor escalator things. A great work-out, a rush of an adrenaline, and almost certainly a more delicious taste of glory than I would’ve got even if I’d made it on time using the train.

  • Michael McCabe says:

    I would definitely NOT wait for the escalator! A light jog to the next gate would be sufficient to arrive at the gate in time to catch the flight. And if for some reason I did not make it in time, oh well. I would simply book the next flight and have something to eat at an airport restaurant while I waited. I might even take a nap. No worries!

  • long says:

    Unless you are fast enough to run from one gate to another within 8 seconds, then it would be wise to carefully read signs and get on the train. Running across 50 gates in 10 minutes just sounds like a bad idea.

    Certain airports transport people on those rider vehicles.

    I would heavily favor the train, because in our post 9/11 political climate, they might think you are a threat if you’re running anywhere too fast for an exteneded amount of time. Plus you risk running into people at a busy airport.

    Being late sucks but it is wiser to be safe no matter what you do.

  • mike choi says:

    The first thing I would do is look for information or a map on the train route particularly the direction. If the train runs in both directions in a circular route, I would get on the train that in the opposite direction since going backwards from A18 is less stops than A70 than in the other direction

  • Laurie says:

    I run!

  • Scott says:

    I’m a runner, so I do a pre-“If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit” O.J. and make for the gate on foot.

  • Jeff Carroll says:

    70 – 18 = 52 gates (if they are indeed laid out linearly, which due to space constraints they almost never are.) between me and success. I always travel with a light backpack, so I estimate 10 seconds (at most, less at full run) to move from gate to gate. 52 * 10 seconds = 520 seconds = 8.6 minutes. Since this is a known travel time for me versus the unknown of the train, I hoof it. I’m only wrong if the A70 gate is in another terminal, or if I have to pass through a very crowded hub that slows me down considerably.

  • Caroline says:

    Run! There are less unknowns with running than with the train, and no back tracking.

  • Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman says:

    I’m going to hoof it. Sure, a train might come in the next minute or two, but I have next-to-no patience for waiting, especially in a high anxiety situation. My feet might be – and usually are! – slower than a train, but at least they’re a known commodity… and one I am somewhat in control of at that.

  • GregN says:

    Take the chance and catch that train but make sure it is going in the right direction. If you miss the flight you miss the flight. More fun for you as you work through a ‘character-building’ experience.

  • Leon Adato says:

    Running the numbers, you’ve got to traverse 52 gates in 10 minutes, or 5.2 gates a minute. BUT WAIT – most terminals have gates on both sides. If that’s the case, everything is halved and you need to hike 26 gates in 10 minutes, or 2.6 gates a minute, or one gate every 23 seconds.

    So I have two answers (plus a bonus at the end): the generic and the specific.

    Generically, “it depends” – how in shape are you, how out of breath are you already, how heavy is the stuff you are carrying, etc. If you are not up to physical exertion because of age, health, etc then option 0 (not on this list, but not the bonus either) is to flag down one of those golf cart people because they are able to radio ahead and hold the flight. Option two is the express train, *because you are fairly sure you won’t make it on foot*. Option 3 is hoofing it.

    In my specific case, I always foot the ride – I’m a fast walker anyway.

    But really, in ANY situation where you seriously believe you are going to miss your flight, stop at ANY of the desks in-between where there is a staff person, and tell them your dilemma. They should be able to call ahead to your gate and let them know you are on your way.

  • Caro says:

    I’d rather run. Even if I have a huge luggage… Less unknown i guess.

  • Adrian says:

    You don’t have enough information to make the right choice so, unless you happen to be standing next to the airport information desk, relax, take the train and whistle a happy tune. Maybe start reading that book you’ve spent the last 30 minutes choosing in duty free…

  • Elizabeth says:

    I choose run. Even if I still miss the flight, at least I burned some calories and got some more half-marathon training done.

  • Sami says:

    I quickly find someone who works at the airport and ask them which is quicker. Then I take that option.

  • Jennifer B says:

    I run. I could use the exercise.

  • Amanda Greer says:

    I would hoof it! I wouldn’t want to chance the train because you never know what could happen and you’d have no control. If I was walking (or running) then at least I’m more in control.

  • Josh says:

    This weekend I flew back home through DIA and took the shuttle back to the park-and-ride where my car was parked. I managed to confuse row R with RR and got off the shuttle much much earlier than I should have. After I finally figured out where I was, I was too proud to get back on the shuttle so I hoofed it all the way across the lot and I ended up beating the original shuttle by a few minutes!

    So I say walk, you can always make your legs go faster but you can’t make that train go faster.

  • Michi says:

    I wouldn’t take the train. It would only make sense if the gates were much further apart, otherwise it doesn’t seem worth it. I would just run the 52 gates because it would just mean I’d be less likely to miss my flight.

  • Aaron says:

    Neither. You fake an injury and call for the cart. Beep! Beep!

  • Whitney says:

    Take the train. Your brain is already going a thousand miles an hour because of the delay/time crunch stress, and the few minutes of physical rest you’ll likely get on the train (while still making progress toward the destination) will allow you to calm your mind a bit and will surely serve you well – particularly if the travel gods throw you another curveball when you arrive at the gate.

  • Amanda says:

    This is exactly why I prefer to travel light. So I can haul ass through the airport if necessary. I run to the gate. Trains. Pfff.

  • John says:

    Run; but first tell the nearest agent to call ahead to your gate. This must be my character flaw of needing to control the situation. Running to the next gate allows me to blame myself for not making the next flight rather than on blaming the train for making 5 stops along the way.

  • Joanna June says:

    I would definitely walk/run. Strides forward are always preferable then standing and waiting. Besides you do enough being still and motor-moved by someone else when you are traveling anyway.
    I often walk from my gate to the main terminal at ATL rather than take the underground train — even though I know the train is faster when it eventually comes, I rather stretch my legs a little and keep getting closer to my destination.
    And please tell me this is the start of a “choose your own adventure series.”

  • JoAnna Jackson Garnto says:

    I say “haul ass”…there’s nothing worse than being in a rush and waiting on something that’s outside of your control. At least you can choose your speed of walking (running) to some degree.

  • Oliver says:

    If I can’t ask anybody, I work the path by foot. At least that way I have the feeling it was in my hands. That said, I agree with Leon Adato.

  • Dean says:

    @Leon Adato, I agree. With one more likely bonus: chances are good that the gate layout will fork so that Gates 19-40 (for example) will be a left turn and the rest a right turn, so that many gates can be bypassed altogether. I would walk.

  • Annie says:

    I’d not even stop to consider the train. I’d check the nearest airport map or ask nearest airport staff person to make sure I’m running in the right direction and then hoof it like there’s no tomorrow, haha.

  • Jenny says:

    Well, first, I would consult the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, just enough to reiterate the words “Don’t Panic!” Then I would double check that my towel is in place. Then swear at myself for having left my babel fish home.
    Next, with great bravado, I would shuffle up the stairs and escalators with as much gusto as I can manage, excusing myself in every language I know, “me scusi! excuse me! kortord ka! perdona me!” While pushing, inching, and wedging myself through the crowds.
    In between huffing, puffing and downright running I would mutter things about an emergency, running late, in Spanglish, combining my two most fluent languages, which naturally flow out in event of emergency.
    If possible I would highjack an airport golf cart, citing a family emergency and willing tears if necessary. If airport personnel were willing to drive that would be acceptable.
    I would continue to run, duck and weave in my ridiculous bird-duck-walk-run; and if my gate was closed by the time I got there I would whip out my best pretty please don’t I look just like a pouty kitty face.
    And I guess we’d see from there.
    I’ve got control over my own two feet, but not the train.

  • Alejandra says:

    Oooh good question. If the train is already there or arriving quickly, I’d hop on it. If not, I’d run for it. It’s probably not as far as it seems and I’ll get there quickly because of the adrenaline rush.

  • Rachel says:

    This is why I am always very early to airports. Those who are prepared have a lot less stress and then can get something meaningful done while waiting for the plane, or make new friends chatting in the airport bar.

    Of course, you can’t control connection times sometimes, but I tend to book those with distance between because I like relaxing in airports and don’t like the stress of running to the gate.

    That being said, I always wear comfortable shoes and pack only as much as I can carry while running.


  • Aaron V says:

    Is the airport in a country that speaks your native language? Quick look will tell you if an airport employee is close to the train entrance..ask how often it stops. If it is a) every 20-30 gates or so and 2) the train isnt slammed, TAKE it!

    If this option doesn’t exist and can’t be taken advantage of in 1 minute, HOOF it! Rely on your own two feet and not someone else.

    Hit every moving walkway until you see an open attendant at a gate desk that could call ahead, or someone driving the golf cart shuttles where you can hitch a ride.

  • Ana says:

    I would take the escalator.

    I am a fast walker and a great runner so, If I know that If I take the escalator up to the train and catch a ride I could be faster, then I am taking the escalator!. And sorry but I have to rush now before I miss the flight!

  • Randall says:

    Isn’t it always that decision? whether to switch flights to go around weather, to stay put when you’re not feeling it, to bus rather than rental car into the city? Always?

    And then there are the people we meet, the ones we wouldn’t have met otherwise, the worlds that open up to us.

    Nando Parrado could have sat anywhere on his 1972 flight over the Andes, he chose 9A – the plane broke in half at row ten.

    Chris, I’d love to hear more of your heart-travels, of how the travel is changing you from the neck down. Who did you meet when you took the train? What was he or she like? Did you have a sense of providence in the meeting, did he run an article on you in his magazine or was she your new publicist? Do you believe Chatwin’s ranting about salvation in the road?

  • Laura Johnson says:

    I would walk/run. I love being in control of my own destiny even in small outcomes.

    I also enjoy the thrill of trying to get around/through crowds without getting stopped… almost like a much less physical game of football.

  • Scott McMurren says:

    I still remember trying to catch a flight in SEA. The little train actually BROKE DOWN. It never does that–but it did for me. On the other hand, I’ve been hobbled with too many kids and too many bags more than once. Sometimes it’s all I can do to herd the cats into a pile and pray that the train makes it. HA.

  • Jennifer says:

    Hoof It!

    Sure, you could take the train, but why? Think if all the things you’d miss if you always took the fast track or easy way. The juice is in the struggle! I say hoof it, enjoy the exercise and challenge, and if the plane is still there it’s an added bonus!

  • Sam says:

    The McNamara terminal in Detroit is the best. I would still run it though – because they have those little people mover belts along the way. That’s my home airport so I can say that the shuttle is mighty fast but jogging will get you to the gate just as fast.

  • Caitlin says:

    I know the Detroit airport intimately after connecting through it every week for two years straight. Trust me, it’s not faster to take that tram! I used to walk every week no matter how many gates! 🙂

  • James Clark says:

    I love walking briskly on travelators (yes, I’m easily amused). I usually do a few laps of the travelators at HKIA when I am on a lay over, to get my legs moving again. Same before a flight, I like to move as much as possible before getting on.

    As for the train, I wouldn’t take it.

  • Kate says:

    Run! Why not? I’m capable and I think I could make it. Waiting there would be horrible!!

  • Lynda says:

    I would absolutely without hesitation RUN!!! I’m a practicing “take responsibility for where I want to end up kind of person” and I don’t like depending on someone else to get me where I need to be…….especially on something important and something of value……RUN, yes absolutely RUNNNNN!!!! 🙂

  • Katie says:

    Whenever I am in this situation, I run. I am in good shape and don’t mind a little exercise. Plus, I don’t know how long that train really will take/

  • Nephele says:

    I would definitely run for it. The train might or might not be faster, but I’m sure I can cover the length of an airport terminal in under ten minutes regardless. Plus it’s good exercise before sitting on a cramped flight for however long.

  • Chris says:

    A veteran flyer myself, I would run for it. Not enough time to evaluate the train exits vs your destination. Can cover lots of ground by running. Hopefully I just have my backpack and not roller board luggage. Just last week, went down to the trains in ATL – door open, people in them. Waited, waited – the train was messed up and all the people were just standing there like sheep. After 2 minutes, left and ran to my terminal in the oh so beautiful basement passage. Found out from the gate agent, the trains had been stuck all day. No telling how long some of those people stayed waiting. Kind of funny – unless you were unable to walk/run.

  • Mary says:

    I’m an out-of-shape, klutz so I would take the escalator and the train because if I tried to run for it I would either have a heart attack or trip and break something. Besides I hate to sweat — it makes me look less lovely :o)

  • Trisha Trixie says:

    IF this were a metaphor and knowing your blogs that I have read most likely I think it is. So with that in mind I would think this.

    To me here is the analogy:

    Life is the walking. Sometimes you have to go around do it that way. Opportunities are the Train and you never know what is going to happen of if it will or won’t get you there in time, how many stops you are going have deal with before you get there and is it worth it.

    I say yes.

    I have been on a the train of opportunity a few times and I got off thinking how it would be faster to walk. It wasn’t.

    On the train I meet new people (go to networking events), come to a few stops (issues, money, bills, divorce, etc), some stops are fruitful (talking time to go back to school, e courses, learn something), but in the end I know it will get me there and I may end up on a better flight or a better seat or sitting next to the EXACT person I need to move forward and get to my FINAL destination.

    So for me…yes…I take the train.

  • Michele says:

    I am taking the train. Walking/running feels like you are in more control, but I think the express train is going to be way more efficient. “If I miss my plane at least I got some exercise”…REALLY? That thought would never, in a million years, occur to me. I’ll get my exercise elsewhere, like when I reach my destination!

  • Chris Faddis says:

    I’ve encountered this several times and have responded both ways with mixed results. I think if I was alone, I would run. Who cares if i’m huffing and puffing. But if I’m w/my family – it’s the train all the way.

    Side note – I once did this in Dallas because our gate had changed. While I was taking the train the flight switched gates again. We missed the flight and I was pissed!

  • valbona says:

    I would just try to go for the gate. There are too many unknowns with the gate while you usually can trust your own legs. Hopefully the gate sees that I am checked in and gives me a couple of extra minutes to make it there.

  • Jennifer Bennett says:

    Take the train and note the time it takes from the first stop to the second. If it seems unlikely that I’ll get to my destination at this rate, then I’ll hop off the train and run the rest of the way. But if the train is zooming right along, I’m golden! Can’t make a decision like this without some trial and error!

  • Roxana Lewis says:

    I would ask the Gate Agent at A18 to call Gate A70 and alert them there is a “runner” enroute. This will give me the latitude to at least retain my reserved seat from the 10-minute cancel rule and perhaps save me from having the jetway door shut in my face. I would then race for the train.

  • Satusirkku Minor says:

    I’d be hoofing it defenitely, my carry-on is on wheels, I am in a good shape, I can use the exercise before the flight and if I am a minute late, there is a chance that the attendant at the gate might have mercy on me. I’ve been here many times, and a couple of times I got a ride in the cart, too. I have only missed two flights so far, once the airline put me up in a nice hotel in London for the night- which was awesome- and the other time I slept at the airport in Toronto.

  • Adam Kolosik says:

    Simple answer. You are a runner. I am a runner. Do what you know, and run. It’s consistent, and it’s you, and you make it more relaxed, because I don’t stress every time the train stops. No one enjoys that heightened pulse rate every time the train stops and you wait for the automated voice saying it’s about to close. Run.

  • Deb Cooper-Asberry says:

    Perfect scenario for many of life’s ‘which way to go’ decisions! Right now I’m struggling with whether or not to do a spot on a reality TV show that could catapult my business into the spotlight! The downside is it’ll cost me financially to do it and it’s not ‘exactly’ my target market. But, on the other hand, I’ll never have an opportunity like this again and the payback could be enormous! Only a couple days to decide cause the network needs to schedule the taping… arrrgggh!

    I usually just run when running late for a flight because it gives you the most ‘control’. Maybe that says something about my decision making style and I can use it to make the choice about what to do with the TV show appearance.

  • Dusana says:

    Depends if the terminals skip numbers or not. If it’s within eye-sight or just beyond I say run for it. And are there electric sidewalks? Are they crowded? Running on these is usually the quickest option, but if it’s really as far as it sounds and it seems like a confusing airport- train it! Getting lost is always the slowest option.

  • Jenni says:

    If I’m late, I would probably run. Hopefully on those moving sidewalks (if there aren’t too many people!). It would drive me bonkers to wait for/on a train-even if it is faster-and I would spend the whole time fidgeting and willing it to go faster!

  • Marvin says:

    This is a coin toss. In fact, you don’t know whether either choice will deliver you to the gate on time. You might have missed the flight regardless.

    And if you’re not careful, you’ll get caught in the fruitless self-blame game of “I should have taken the train instead of running!” or vice-versa…not knowing that both options would have failed.

    Having said that, I would run for the gate. I feel better being an active participant in the outcome, rather than testing the reliability of the train schedule. But I would accept whatever the outcome is, constantly reminding myself that I had the courage to quickly make the best decision I could in the face of an uncertain outcome.

  • Kaushik says:

    If you can see your destination gate, run for it, if you cannot see it take the train is my rule. Either option may cause you to make or miss the flight. If you miss the flight you will have enough time now to learn this airport and to think about all that you could have done to make it to the airport on time that day. If you make it kudos, buy a beer for $5 on that flight unless you are in first class where you can switch it up to a scotch!! 🙂

    We could make good arguments for either side and until recently having been in a travel job with spending many hours at airports weekly I have done both at Detroit and have missed and made my flight with both options. At an airport the variables are just too many, including times when the crew decides that they would rather put this one lone last min passenger on a next flight 45 mins later and close the aircraft door on late night flights. (Happened to me in Calgary!!)

  • Jill Fellman says:

    RUN!!!! 🙂

  • Joeann Fossland says:

    Depends on what I am hauling and the high heels, but running would be my first choice. Or finding a cart. Being an almost Senior citizen helps with that (and going to the gym helps with the running part!). And if you miss the flight, there’s probably some cool adventure that will ensue! After all isn’t life about the journey, not the destination?

  • Jessica J says:

    I would probably decide to go as fast as I could on my feet and stick to the signs directing me to my gate. If there was an available clerk standing near a terminal, I would stop off and say that I was on my way to a particular gate so they wouldn’t leave without me. As a general rule, I wear shoes that I could comfortably run in at all times. (I equate it to always wearing a seat belt.) Also, my main suitcase with wheels can also be worn as a backpack so that I can maneuver if necessary (which was VERY helpful on a trip to Paris with my Mother, as I was able to also pull her suitcase, as she had difficulty maneuvering it on and off escalators and stairs as we navigated the airport and subways!)

    The reasons why I would probably run rather than walk, even if I was reasonably sure I could get there within 10 minutes, are mostly the reasons that don’t occur to me. There usually seems to be something I have thought of, so instead of trying to think of it, I simply try to put myself in the best position to deal with it. If nothing gets in the way, I have more time to recover before take-off. 🙂

  • Donna Carty says:

    I’d walk up to the nearest person who works at the airport, whoever that is, and ask them which is likely to be fastest.

    If there were no such person, I’d take the train. At an unfamiliar airport, you don’t know the map of the gates and could easily rush past an important branching. The train won’t do that.

  • Anita says:

    So many of these comments made me laugh. Me? Well I would run. I would be muttering ‘sh*t, sh*t, sh*t’ under my breath the whole time whilst I cursed the size of my heavy bag. At least by running I would know I had genuinely tried my hardest to get there. And then, as the flight departed without me, I would gaze forlornly out the window and quietly whisper ‘Girl, you shoulda caught that train.’

  • Adam says:

    I’d run – you can control how fast you run, but not how fast the train goes.

  • Alain B says:

    In my sweet Dutch accent Spanish, I would flirt a bit with the ground stewardess from an unknown Latin American Airline. She would go for my lightblue eyes and give me a ride in the little Airport Golfcar look a like.

    Result, I board in time, I have have the ride of my life in a funny cabriolet, and I have the phonenumber of an exotic Latina telling me:
    ” Alan, que la próxima vez que visite la ciudad, llama me! ” .

  • Ben Greenfield says:

    Step 1. Sit down.

    Step 2. Speed dial O.J. Simpson.

    Step 3. Learn from O.J. how to run fast and hurdle luggage/chairs

    Step 4. Implement

  • Jason @ Stop & Breathe says:

    It doesn’t matter. Just don’t wast time deciding. You don’t know which is faster, so just decide and accept the outcome. Go with the flow and don’t stress over it.

  • Shasta Zielke says:

    I would run! I know how fast I’ll get there running, and I’m not sure how long the train will take. I’ll take my chances with myself rather than letting unknown variables dictate if I miss my flight or not. Good question!

  • Laura says:

    Run! I want to own my success or failure.

  • Sean says:

    Combine the two! Get on the train and run back and forth! Best of both worlds! Get there twice as fast!

    I also recommend running down the aisles of the plane, in direction of the cockpit of course.

  • john says:

    Get to the airport earlier…. relax….. ;^)


  • star says:

    It depends!

    How fast and far can I walk/jog – what shoes I am wearing and the amount of stuff I’m lugging.

    I would ask as many airport personal, security officers, and other passengers in line will waiting for security for the quickest way to get to A70.
    Based on the best, most popular, most believable answer and my ability to walk long distances then make a choice.

  • raztine says:

    Walk of course.

    what if the train have to stop for a long period of time…

    Anyway, i prefer beign in motion and in control of my action. Walk!


  • Alexander says:

    Flip a coin. Since there’s no way of knowing which option will have the best outcome the choice is of no importance.

  • Stevie says:

    Walk. At least you’re in motion.

  • Steve says:

    Run – I’d at least feel like I was doing something; it would be a challenge and I’m up for challenges.

  • David W says:

    I grab my bag and run. All the way to the nearest bar. I order a whiskey on the rocks, and sit and enjoy the warm butter of makers mark slipping down my gullet. My plane may be gone before I get there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Kate says:

    Intuition all the way baby! I’d stop for a second, listen to what my gut says and go with it.

    Looking at the situation logically, I would see if I could see the platform or crowds heading for the train if I couldn’t see arrival times. You can usually tell by the number of people and their urgency whether the train is close by. I would probably leg it though. As a number of other people have said, that way you are in control, or seemingly so. Sometimes fate doesn’t work to plan and no amount of seeming “control” is going to get your butt on that plane. Making it may not equal success, not making it may not be failure. Bigger picture time. 🙂

  • Sara says:

    I’ve been faced with this very scenario several times, and I’ve always bolted for the gate. That has made all the difference: never missed a flight I’ve run for, but I’ve definitely missed flights where I’ve been required to utilize the “people movers” and shuttle trains. This pattern of success will probably be my downfall one day, when one of those options would be the best choice, and I choose to run for it because of that.

  • John Gideon Howard says:

    You can’t dwindle in indecision, so take a moment to breathe one deep breath and project your determination… Then just GO-one quick step in front of the other. You don’t have to run, people will be more likely to get out of your way if you just flow like water. This is why we travel light. The plane will wait if you’re checked in, so just stay on point, quick step it up, show respect to those getting you on board, and don’t forget to breathe.

  • Markus says:

    Funny to see, HOW MUCH this seems to be a ‘I have to be in control’ (RUN) and ‘I dare to trust the UNknown’ (TRAIN) question.

    I would go with JENNIFER BENNETT – take the train, see how it goes, I can still leave the train, if necessary and run the rest *smile*

    Have a great day and safe travels with lots of UNknowns, which broaden our minds and personalities.

  • Bill says:

    1st, survey the surroundings. Does this “look” like an airport where trains run on time? 2nd, review mental database of the country you are in. What do you know about the “timeliness” factor of this country’s culture? 3rd, Look for someone who might know the airport–gate agent, airport personnel, pilots walking through the airport, etc. Ask them a pointed question with a friendly and a little desperate look about the train’s timeliness. 4th, Assimilate acquired data. 5th, determine if you want to run. And, last and certainly not least, RELAX. If you miss the flight–big deal!!! It is what it is. If you miss it, SIT DOWN and SHUT UP (or at least that is what you tell your anxious mind). And, go to Plan B. ENJOY THE JOURNEY… let go, if you can, on the focus of the destination.

  • Steve M says:

    As has already been said, I would run. I can control how fast I move, not how fast the train moves. I’d rather have the anxiety and move with it than stand still in a train and hope that I it arrives on time.

    Good post.

  • Jim Krenz says:

    One detail that would matter to me: What is my schedule like on the other end of the flight. If missing the flight will cause me to lose business, then I would quickly ask a flight attendant about the viability of the train and take it if any indication infers that it is better than getting there by foot.

    If my schedule is open at my destination, then I would walk it for the challenge. And if I miss the flight, I get to explore the new airport.


  • Maria says:

    I spend enough time cursing trains during my daily commute…running is a far better option than standing around waiting on trains

  • Patrick Brown says:

    Stop, look around and find any airport employee.

    Genuinely ask them how their morning, day, evening is going.

    Then tell them your situation and ask them the best way to get where you need to go.

    Thank the employee and wish them well.

  • Earl says:

    Leg it! If I’m going to miss the flight, it won’t be for lack of trying; the variables in depending on someone/something else to get me where I need to go are far too great to rely upon. Besides, I _like_ walking, and at 6’4″, my strides cover a lot of ground!

    Of course, I also could leave for the airport earlier… Or just roll with what happens, and totally not stress over it. At the end of the game, the King and the Pawn go back in the same box.

  • Scott Brock says:

    I do what my gut says. In a situation where I’m not sure what to do. My first instinct is right (or at least better than my emtional decision). Just do what you got to do to make things happen.

  • Mike K says:

    Last time I was in Detroit, I had that same choice …. so I ran up the stairs to the train, felt lucky that a train had just arrived, so I got on a train that was there, and found out after passing a few gates that I was going the wrong way! Needless to say, I got off at the next stop, WAITED for the next train going the right way, rode it to the end, and missed the flight. Of course, other times I have run full speed and missed flights too.
    Why they don’t hold the flight a few minutes when they know I just got off a late connecting flight (theirs) and I am rushing to the gate… that’s the true mystery.

  • April says:

    I walk (or run, but usually just walk), almost every time. The movement calms me, and offers something to do with my body and some scenery to digest. I’m always better prepared for whatever’s waiting when I’ve been in motion than when I’ve been in a vehicle.

  • Adina says:

    I’d ask the person driving one of those golf carts like things if he/she is going in the direction I want to go and hitch a ride as far as possible and then hoof it. The one time I asked I got a ride straight to the gate.

  • Julie Hedlund says:

    I actually made this decision a couple of months ago. I took the train in Dallas, and as a result, I missed my flight.

    I did, however, meet a nice fellow traveler at the bar as I wiled away the two hours until the next flight left. So maybe it worked out…

  • Marie says:

    I’ve had this happen. Get off a flight at Detroit, and do a double-take when I look at the gate number. Last time is was something like A7 to B24.

    I did glance up at the tram, but then I remembered that I can powerwalk a mile in 12 minutes (from an exercise DVD) so while I’m not a jogger, just a slightly out of shape middle aged woman, I can make it from point A to point B in a relatively short amount of time. Then when I get there, I grab something to drink from a local vendor.

    Plus, if I’ve just been sitting on a plane for a few hours, I need the exercise!

  • Mathieu Jarry says:

    I secure my backpack and I make a mad dash for it. Too many what if’s for the express train… what if I have to wait, what if there are stops, what if its delayed, what if I can’t even find it?

    Airline staff find it amusing to see someone running all out to catch their flight…

  • Sergio Felix says:

    Run forrest, RUUUUUN!!!

    I would be banging my head to the wall if I took the train only to notice it barely moves.

    If it gets past me and I can hop on it later, then I’d just jump on it in the first chance.


  • Chantal says:

    Run Forest, run.
    Run halfway (close enough to hear page), stop for water if you have none, run again if you need to.
    Boarding closing and everyone stashing bags and finding seats are not the same time.
    Stand in the aisle drinking your water, be done with the heart rate elevation by the time you get to your seat.
    Yes, this is a proven method.

  • Nancy Roe says:

    I would definitely walk fast. I would much rather be in motion and have control over my situation than wait to see what happens with a train.

  • gwyn says:

    Hoof it, with no hesitation!!!

  • Ryan Victoria says:

    Run. Just be sure to run in the right direction 😉

  • Lauren says:

    I would run. The train sounds nice but I’ve had to run before many times in an airport and am quite confident in my ability to hoof it. Why wait around and leave whether or not I make my flight up to fate on the train when I can take it into my own hands, or feet.

  • Drew T says:

    Don’t take the train. Run or ask airport staff with a utility cart to escort you (you should also ask them to notify the gate so they can expect you). Fein an injury if you have to but get to the gate on time – it’s not nice to keep the entire plane waiting if you’re going to be more than a minute or two late.

  • Don Suttajit says:

    By the time you have walked pass the first couple of gates, you should already know how long it takes from gate to gate. With that duration in mind, you should be able to formulate or estimate of how long it will take to get to gate A70 from A18. If your estimate is more than 10 minutes, then go ahead and take the train because you already have no choice as option A (running) chances of sucess is already at 0% or somewhere pretty low. At least option B (train) still gives you a 50/50 shot. But if you are 80 or 90 percent sure that you can make it running, then do that because its still higher than 50 percent.

    Basically, the way I see it, you’ve already loss a couple of points at “sucess” (suceeding to get on the plane) when you arrived late. So it’s about finding any chance that will keep your chance of “success” alive. Try anything…something…until there’s no chance left.

  • Karen says:

    At a stop in one of the Washington DC airports I was struggling to find my gate. A kind security guard told me to go out the exit and down the terminal. “But, I’ll have to go thru security again and I don’t have much time.” Guard – “Well, you could take the tram but you’ll miss your flight for sure.” Huh, lesson learned!

    Having said that, if in Atlanta two or more terminals from where I need to be and short on time, the train is definitely faster. If I have time I prefer to walk it… yes, even in heels!

  • Eddy Azar says:

    Run. This is why everything I own fits into a backpack; So I can do anything I want/need to do without preparation.

    Use the speed walks when you can, freerun over obstacles if your that cool, and dodge around the old and slow. When your relaxing in your seat, reward yourself with a whiskey and share your story with your row.

    Cheers to adventure,
    – Eddy

  • Amber J Gardner says:

    If the train is already there, I’d take the train. If I missed it, I’d run.

    It also depends on my luggage. If I know it’ll slow me down way too much, I’d also take the train.

  • Jackie says:

    I’d run, assuming that I really wanted to make the plane. Otherwise I’d walk briskly & try to flag down a cart on the way. It doesn’t sound like the gate is that far, and I’ve got more options if I don’t get on the train.

  • Darlene says:

    I’ve done a very similar dash, in several different airports. I’m sure you’ve been to Auckland international, where I appreciate their little signs telling you how many minutes to certain gates so you can judge if you have to pick up the pace or not. They should all have that.

    I’ve run through Toronto airport in the middle of construction and changed terminals. Denver more times than I can count. Yes Detroit too. So yeah I’d run and reply on myself. If you’re carrying so much carry on luggage that you can’t make it then you need to seriously downsize next trip.

    I agree with whoever said that once you’re checked in with luggage they have to wait for you is partly true. I’ve known people that missed their flight sitting in the lounge because their flight was delayed, then put back on in a hurry and their name was called but pronounced wrong and they didn’t get it was them – and they ran to the gate to find the plane had gone! So it does happen. But I’d run none the less. Then apologize to your seat partner for sweating on them.

  • Kate B says:

    This happened in Atlanta… I slipped off my heels and RAN. Still missed my flight but I got good workout and an hour and a half to catch my breath before the next flight. What I learned – pack lighter and always have a plan B.

  • Angelwins says:

    For Heaven’s sake, take the train!

  • Patricia says:

    I would probably take the train would not want to subject myself to all that stress and running and then miss the flight. One can always make other plans and maybe the airlines will be accommodating, I once stayed overnight at a four star hotel.

  • Jermaine Jay Lane says:

    I can’t tell her I got lost trying to get here, spankin’ GPS. Let’s see, I’m at A18, I need to get too…oh crap. I’m nowhere near A70. Think think…there’s a sign: Take Stairs to Train for A1-A75. That’s not going to work. Ok, lean in and move it son. There’s an ATM, $40 cash should work. Alright, now find someone who works here and looks friendly…her, yes! Excuse me ma’am, I’m late for my flight to the (summit, conference, retreat, my momma’s house) and I need some help. I have $20 cash if you can help me out. She says Carl is driving the train today and it’s an express route. We take the stairs, the train comes in 2 min. “Hey Carl, this guy needs to get to A70 like 10 minutes ago.” I give her the cash, get a contact email, board the train and it’s on and crackin’. In the short train ride, I notice Carl’s Superman tattoo and we get into a spirited discussion on who is better(#batman4ever). I get to A70 with minutes to spare, give Carl the extra $20, contact email, fistbump, and I’m running to the gate. I get to my seat, think about my two new friends and text my boo so she knows I made it and boarded the flight no problems 😉

  • Christina S. says:

    Run. Or more likely, a brisk walk. The gates aren’t really that far apart, at most airports. Also, at least if I’m moving, I feel like I can control whether I make the flight or not. If I’m depending on the train, it’s totally out of my hands (talk about control issues!)

  • Chelsea Rae Schmidt says:

    Ideally, I’d find an airport employee and ask which is faster. Unfortunately, they seem to always be busy with other people when you need them. Second option would be to run… that is why it’s best to always travel light.

  • Tom Owens says:

    I’d run, figuring that panic-mode would increase my speed. However, I’d be tempted to invoke the spirit of Charles Kuralt from CBS. He wrote once that he carried an adhesive bandage. During such time crunches, he’d wrap his knee and invoke the sympathy of an airport luggage cart driver for an express ride!

  • Brad Kynoch says:

    Walk or run. There are fewer uncertainties with getting there on your own. And if you’re wearing heels, pull them off and run barefoot. Getting sweaty, wrecking a pair of stockings, and getting glared at are better than missing a flight because of a train that stopped too many times. Same goes for commuting in a city; if driving or transit will take almost the same amount of time as walking, just walk! There are no traffic jams when you walk. 🙂

  • Grace says:

    This is kind of funny, because airports are their own insular universe with their own set of rules, and I love it.

    If I’m at A18, I hoof it. I never carry anything heavy with me, because that’s annoying, so the carry-on wouldn’t impede me much.

    And there is nothing as helplessly frustrating as being stuck on slow public transportation.

    And! Nobody yells at you for booking it through an airport.

  • Rhianne says:

    I would walk quickly! If you are in a rush, it is always better to be in control of your own fate. Even if you arrive slightly after the train, you will feel less anxious upon arrival (and almost certainly still in time for your flight)!

  • Laura says:

    Without knowing exactly how much time I have before takeoff, it’s hard to say. But, assuming they are boarding my plane or near takeoff, I would hoof it to A70/my gate. It’s not as far as going to another terminal at least. And, then I’m not frustrated waiting for the train or taking too long to get to the train on the escalator. And, then it’s under my control, as much as it could be, to get there expediently.

    And, as I’m hoofing it, I’ll remind myself that even if I were to miss my plane, it’s not the end of the world. Things work out for the best for me, whether it seems like it in the moment or not.

  • Peggy says:

    Running is the only option for me. It is in my nature to be actively moving forward. Wait on the train?…no way.

  • Erica says:

    It’s a tough question, but I’d probably hoof it rather than take a chance on the train. I’m learning to go light with carryons, so it shouldn’t be too hard to do, even as out-of-shape as I am.

  • Bert McDert says:

    I see that I am in the minority here, but then since when is that news? I say act on the assumption that you’re going to take the train. Both because trains are awesome and just based on a literal reading of the problem as stated.

    If it’s billing itself honestly as an ‘express’ train, then the number of intermediate stops ought to be low. If I scurry up the alligator (as we call it in my family to highlight the risk of stray laces getting eaten), I can see for myself how far I am from the next stop. And presumably I can run the same distance to A70 on that level once that’s where I am. So based on how far I have to go to get to the next stop, I can handicap the odds about how far apart the stops are. I could run to the *second* stop, for that matter, if I desire a more accurate stop count. Either way, I can change my mind about riding at any point if that starts to seem less than prudent, and just train-race. Which I can just decide will be fun.

    If I’m *really* clever, I can even time myself running between stops, then time the train itself getting to the next stop once I’m on it. If I can do better on foot, I reserve that right. But if I can go 50 or so stops in express fashion, I’ll be alright vis a vis boarding, and won’t be a sweaty hyperventilating hot mess stinkin’ up coach.

    Besides! Once I’ve committed to the train and it’s officially out of my hands, I can relax and do some deep breathing — maybe even rock out to my Train Song playlist (which no self-respecting overgrown kid should ever be without). And if I’m lucky and this airport hasn’t ditched their Transformer-voiced automated stop announcer, I can relive one of my favorite things from my youth — memorizing and reciting the little spiel they do at all the stops […the colorcoded maps inside the vehicle match the station colors. pleeease mooove to the center of the vehicle and awaaaay from the doors].

    Assuming there *are* stops, that is, which really there shouldn’t be if it is in fact an *express* train.

    But the real answer to this conundrum is much simpler. Yes. Take the train. Like, for reals. As in, bypass the airport altogether. As anyone who’s been in an airport since late 2001 knows, it’s a paranoid nightmare. And it’s only getting worse. The traveling itself should be enjoyable, so why not just *take the train*?

  • Omkari says:

    I’m a New Yorker and have probably spent years of my life leaning over the edge of the subway platform to see if the train was coming. So I definitely run, even if I have to take off my heels and do it in stockings, I run. Being totally out of control of the situation would make me crazy, or maybe I should say crazier. I am from Manhattan after all.

  • Jason Ford says:

    Run like the wind baby! In fact, I am so bad about being on time that my carryon is a backpack which I purposely use so that I can run faster if I’m late. I’ve been getting better at not being late, though. At some point the “I’m about to miss my flight” panic gets old. Perhaps its a maturing thing.

  • David V says:

    RUN, don’t walk. RUN, don’t wait. We nearly missed our connecting flights to/from Lisbon in the Madrid airport by waiting for the train.

  • bruce crews says:

    I would run to the nearest knowledgeable person who would be able to quickly and concisely share with me which option works out best. If that option isn’t available due to language barriers, no one able to help, etc – I would run.

    I’m not a patient person, and the time spent on the train would only frustrate me. Even if I ran, and missed the flight, I would still feel like I tried to succeed.

  • Sherice S says:

    I’d pull out my running shoes (you know the ones with the wheels on the soles?), which I’ve wisely packed for occasions such as this and skate my way across the airport :). Ok, I don’t really own them now but after seeing how many people have had this experience, I think I’ll invest in a pair LOL

  • Clare says:

    I’d wait for the train. They usually come quick enough to beat walking.

  • Andy Green says:

    I would run! I have ran through many airports. You never know when the train might make a crazy detour to another terminal or just might skip right past your stop. Plus it is good exercise.

  • Hannah says:


  • David McDevitt says:

    I’ve run into this problem several times in my life.

    The best thing is to pre-plan to assure enough time between landing of one flight to departure of the next. Of course, this is not really the question.

    So, the question to take the interterminal train or not is critical to making the cutoff time for the departing flight.

    There is not absolute answer because regardless the consequences must be dealt with. If you make it, you’ll be panting… If you don’t make it, the airline may have to re-ticket you to the next flight.

    More importantly, whatever your choice is, you must fully commit to the choice once it is made. No decision is a decision too.

  • Dan Lack says:


    First – look to see if there’s one of those airport cars/buggies that drives people who can’t walk fast distances. Fake a sprained ankle and give the driver a $20 and say “STEP ON IT!”

    Second – if there’s no airport cars/buggies nearby, snag an empty wheel chair and start spinning the wheels! (wheels move faster than feet).

    Lastly – if neither of the first two options are close by, find a large sized man, one who looks like he used to be a Defensive Lineman in the NFL, slip him a $20, jump on his back, and have him sprint to your gate (they are used to things like this!).

  • Kristen says:

    Have a little faith, these trains are engineered with these goals in mind. Not to mention the airline should be nice enough to get you on an upcoming flight unless its the holidays and then you might want to save your energy on the train and then haul a$* when you get to a stop that has a million people waiting to jump on.

  • Linda says:

    Take the train. The first time I ever flew I went to Buenos Aires (from Seattle, although I live in Victoria BC). I had to make that exact decision and without hesitation took the train. It proved to be the quickest way to get from my terminal to the next. It only took a few moments, even with stops in between. I’d have missed my flight if I had tried to walk. Never underestimate the weight of your carry-on when you try to rush! It gets heavier the further you have to go :}

  • Alissa says:

    Since there’s no guarantee either way, I’d take my fate in my hands and go on foot. Standing and waiting for the train would be too much anxiety. But when I’m moving myself, at least I’ll feel like I was accomplishing something. Who knows, maybe the train will catch up with me and I’ll get to ride partway.

    Plus, free exercise. 🙂

  • Gayle says:

    I RUN! If I am at 18 and I have to get to 70 and there are 2 terminals on each side then I have to run past 26 terminals and hope there aren’t a lot of shops or restaurants …….. I would just rather trust myself than a train where it could stop often. If, while I am running I notice another plan then I can change but I would hustle over there right away.

  • David Yakobovitch says:

    Your life is a journey. Along that journey you will experience checkpoints.
    The new airport in Burundi – a checkpoint. Security – a checkpoint. There are also stops.

    Stops let you take action. Arbitrary, unknowing, and trusting. That express train could skip your gate or open at A70. You could save or lose precious seconds. You don’t know.

    The beauty of the unknown – you can control your destiny. This unknown stop at terminal A occurred for a reason. Your decision will make all the difference.

    Those few extra seconds you waited for an Express Train were enough to observe the violinist performing in the corner. That seemingly slow ride on the train? It inspired you to chat with a single parent. You made her day. And giving up the last outlet at gate A70 to charge your iPad? A college student saved enough juice to call his family in Spain before the flight. His parents smiled when he called.

    These pauses matter. Perhaps, they caused you to miss your flight. An inconvenience at worst, the experience on your journey made all the difference.

    Your journey matters. Take the intuitive choice. Discard all regrets. You’ll be alright. Even if your next flight is in 8 hours at A18.

  • Carly-Ann says:

    Walk. Without question. The movement would take care of the panic in my mind. Sitting idly, my fate left to something outside my control would kill me!

  • Michel says:

    ASK ! Look around you for an airport employee, janitor, cleaner, Air crew, other passengers heading towards the train… and simply ask which is faster.

  • Jonathan says:

    Here’s what you do.

    Start running next to the train track. If a train arrives, get on for a breather. As long as the train doesn’t stop too much, enjoy the ride. But if it stops more than 2 times, get off and run. Never stop moving! You’ll be sitting between a couple sweaty old men before you know it.

  • ekbmills says:

    I’m disabled. Walker bound. So, I walk. sometimes I’ve been lucky and a drive by agent will appear, but I never count on that. I ask them to hold at the gate but seldom that works. Deep breath. Prepare to miss it and be surprised and cheered if I don’t.

  • Taryn says:

    This sounds like the first time I was at Heathrow on my return trip to the states (first time abroad). Whenever confronted by an “Uhh, what do I do” situation, I take the time to deep breath. Then I ask myself, “This or that,” and I listen to what my body says and do it.

    That first time I choose to walk briskly and arrived in good time and not a sweat-a-saur. :). I agree with others, even if I missed the plane, I’ve have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.

  • Leon says:

    I agree with the walkers, but there are some ways to speed up the trip or slow down the timer:

    1. If you see a cart, flag it down and claim that you’ve injured your foot or leg and need assistance getting to your terminal in time.

    2. If a cart is already carrying a passenger, see if you can hop on the back so far as they’re going the same direction as yourself.

    3. If there are vendors about, find one in the area of least surveillance, then buy a pre-paid phone card with cash, handle it with gloves, call in a bomb scare concerning the plane at your gate, then go to the restroom and dispose of the phone where there *shouldn’t be* any cameras. This is obviously an anti-social solution…but it could certainly buy the time you need to get on the flight, especially if your plane was evacuated before being allowed to depart.

  • Stephanie Holcombe says:

    I always trust myself over depending on someone else…..Run! and enjoy the free exercise!

  • Clara says:

    No doubt somebody’s done research on how many times people choose the train over walking, and come up with probabilities that link it to how risk averse we are or how we make decisions about when to buy and when to sell stocks 😉 As for me, it’s a case by case decision, usually based on my energy level. Flying completely blind, ‘though, I’d be hopeful and take the train.

  • chardonnay says:

    Dude take the express train. Because if you have luck like mine after running to the gate you will find out the gate has been changed and now you are outta steam to get to the ‘other’ gate!

  • Chris Forsyth says:

    Walk. KISS

  • Bob Burke says:

    HEAD SCRATCHER: “You walk into the terminal?” That doesn’t sound like me! If I’m late – and I do tend to push time limits – I run from the moment I clear security until I get to my gate. Running the entire length of even the longest terminals with carryon baggage takes less than ten minutes.

    Skip any express trains or shuttles unless they are required to pass on the airside of security in an airport. Also bypass moving sidewalks and esclators (take the stairs!). Run, run, run!

    Since you run half-marathons, Chris, I assume this is part of your calculus. I run marathons and ultramarathons as I travel the planet, so I’m going to consider the airport one more training opportunity!

    The ONLY time a healthy, able-bodied person should consider express trains and shuttles to catch a flight is when he or she needs to move between terminals without re-screening through security.

  • Fiona says:

    I’d walk fast/run. There are usually travellators here in Asia in most major IXL airports to speed things up.

    I’d also locate airline ground staff dotted all round. The best is HK IXL Airport and esp. if you fly Cathay Pacific. You can inform any one of them and they will radio to the gate that you are on the way.

    They can even radio ahead for you at the check-in counter already.

    I once had CX Marco Polo on the phone all the way from the taxi to the airport as I was soooo late. I barely made the HK – LAX flight, they held the check-in counter open just for me for an addtl 5 – 10 minutes! (Yes, I was “that last person”) I had to give up my original seat of course but it was wonderful to have that kind of service. If you’re a frequent traveller and have those Club privileges here in Asia, use that access.

  • Anita C says:

    I would run for it! Why wait when you could be moving forward (which is kind of how I try to live my life). Unless I am in a really bad neighborhood, if I am at a bus stop and I don’t see a bus, I will walk to the next stop and check again. Since I walk at a pace that some people have to jog to keep up with, I generally make it a few stops before the bus catches up with me. So I feel fairly confident I could make the plane, and if I didn’t, it would be on me. Otherwise, I would be impatient and annoying myself and others on the express train if it was not moving quickly enough. 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Definitely apparate. Fastest option available.

  • Amy Laurita says:

    Ah, Detroit. I see my fellow non-conformists have also done a number of dashes down the mad hallway that calls itself an airport.

    I ran from gate 5 to 65, if I remember correctly, missed the door by three minutes but still beat the tram. The airport employee at the gate felt so sorry for my breathless, sweaty self that she gave me a $10 food voucher. So even though I had to sit around the airport for a few hours waiting for the next flight, I considered it a win.

  • Alex says:

    You hoof it every day of the week. You know what your body can and cannot do, and you can’t entrust this situation to anyone else, but yourself. You commit to making it happen, and you do it. You own the situation (didn’t you get yourself here in the first place by not leaving enough time) and you own the outcome. If you take the train, you place it is someone else’s hands, and you get the convenient excuse of blaming others if you don’t make it. OWN IT!

  • Kelly Graham says:

    Advice From 11-Year Old Oliver in 1999

    Let’s say you’re at the Dallas–Fort Worth airport, and you have to change planes. You have landed at Gate 50 and you have to get on another plane at Gate 52. You come out of Gate 50 and look around. You see Gate 52 but it’s at least 100 yards away. You’re tired and it looks like a long walk right now. Suddenly you see a tram right next to Gate 50. The tram sign says it takes you to every gate. You feel lucky because you’ll be able to ride instead of walk. So you get on the tram, which is like a little railroad, and you take off. At the second stop you see that you’re at Gate 48 instead of Gate 52. That’s when you realize that it’s a one-way tram, and you’re going the wrong way. If you don’t get off now, just sit back and relax, because you’re going on a long ride. Enjoy the scenery as the tram circles the outside of the entire airport for miles. You’ll see parked airplanes, large buildings, freeways and traffic. You’ll make a number of stops as people get on and off. Finally, after a long time, you arrive at Gate 52. Of course, you could have walked to Gate 52 in a couple of minutes, but then you would have missed that ten-mile tram tour of Texas!

  • Deborah Lynn says:

    Walking it @ a fast pace
    to give my adrenaline something to do
    other than fret!

  • Uma says:

    I would go up the escalator and run along the train track! An intuitive trust in the universal common sense would lead me to take this decision. If there was a flight in a few minutes, I would believe that there will be a train that would be scheduled to reach A70 in time for the flight. I will get the train and catch my flight too!

  • Andrea Ballard says:

    I’d definitely hoof it! You can always walk faster but once you’re on a train you’re under someone else’s control.

  • calceola says:

    Ich denke auch meine Entscheidung wäre es zu laufen/gehen/rennen. Damit hätte ich es in der Hand wie schnell ich mich vorwärts bewege. Zumal 52 Gates sind nicht so viele, als das man dies in 10Minuten nicht locker machen kann.

    Okay mit Kinder und drölfzig Koffern, würde ich auf den nächsten Flug warten.

  • barbara says:

    I would hoof it and hope for the best. But, knowing me, neither option would probably work.. I would be running to the terminal, but in my head wondering when the next train would be. And would probaby be sleeping in the terminal. Waiting for the next train.

  • Megan (Verbal) Kensington says:

    I am familiar with the heft and weight of my baggage, and I know the confident rhythm of my footfalls. I walk at a naturally swift pace, mindful of my breath, remembering that there is always time for everything I want and need to accomplish. If I meet the plane, I’ll do it gracefully, and on my own terms. I’ve traveled enough to know that I’ll reach my destination eventually, no regardless – and that what begins with a missed connection, often morphs into inspiration.

    *much love*

  • Alex Newell says:

    I’d charge up the escalator – if the train is due or very soon, take it. If not then a quick walk and hope for the best.


  • JoeSindorf says:

    Simple… it really doesn’t matter! Whichever solution you pick will probably turn out to be the wrong one. (Yes, Murphy wrote the laws that impact travel.)

    I fly no less than 2 times a week – often much more. And in my experience, here’s how my decision tree would work:

    1) If the train/tram boarding area is right where you are, like less than a minute walk, then take the ride. I do this because I hate getting sweaty and then having to sit next to someone. Even getting bumped up, it’s too close to be sweaty next to someone (unless it’s a special someone, and then a bit of perspiration might be understandable).

    2) If the train/tram boarding area is not in plain view, then flag down one of those annoying white people moving carts – you know the ones that are designed for old and handicapped people. Give the guy a 5 and tell him to step on it.

    3) If there are no carts in sight, then walk fast, using every one of those moving walkways possible. Walking quickly on those puppies can really work — just repeat clearly and calmly “excuse me, please”.

    Hopefully you’ll have enough status to entice the gate agent to hold the door an extra couple of minutes for you… just in case.

  • JH says:

    If you’re healthy and you somehow can’t learn anything more: run. More things can go wrong with trains, and airport trains are usually designed to assist in getting between different concourses and/or convenience – not to help late passengers. If you’re already in the correct concourse, you’re usually good to go.

    But I think information is key here. If you’re unfamiliar with the airport, and you’re somehow set up with a mysterious Door A and mysterious Door B situation, neither choice is a smart one or a dumb one – it’s just a coin toss and the answer is there is no best decision. You go with your gut and face the consequences.

    However, in my experience, there are always signs available that can inform you which path to choose.

    That’s why the best decision is to not panic and invest up to 30 seconds increasing your information. How long is the hallway? What’s the farthest gate you can see? Does it look like you’ll have to wind through many hallways and atria and food courts on your way to A70? Are there maps around? Available staff people to ask? How much can you learn about the incoming train in 30 seconds? Will you be able to leave the platform if it’s a bad idea?

  • Morgan says:

    I trust myself more than I trust public transportation. Run (awkwardly, as one does in an airport).

  • Mia says:

    I travel with one “bag”- my backpack- and I always take it as my carry-on. I would buckle up, take a moment to ask someone who works there my fastest connection, letting them know my time limit, then measure it against my gut feeling and GO. Most of the time things line up just right- even missed connections can be blessings. **I have even been given a ride by a golf cart driver as she said I would never make it any other way.** People are usually very helpful if you smile and are kind when asking for advice.

  • Oya says:

    Run, with added confidence because:

    a) I have been running for most of 2011 and have really upped my fitness in the last year.
    b) I always wear sensible shoes while travelling.
    c) I am a master at packing and this, coupled with the ‘one piece of hand-luggage only’ policy on most airlines I fly with means I know I’ll be able to handle my bag.

  • Erin Margaret says:

    thankfully (hopefully) most airports that size will have those fancy moving walkways.
    10 minuets between A18 and A70 means you have to pass roughtly 5 1/2 gates every minuet. A little sprinting some brisk walking and hopefully the help of a moving walkway to two and you should exceed that no problem.

  • ashley says:

    woah lots of comments already! i agree with the guy about the houston terminal…hobby is insanely confusing – had to get my plane ticket in termial A, but my flight was in terminal B, which was accessible by train. that was a nightmare…and i was running low on time.

    i agree with a lot of the comments i’ve read – run! or go on those cute little moving floor things. i hate taking trains anyway, and i’ll walk for 30 minutes with heavy luggage first – its just more fun to me – especially to people watch while you’re being like them and running to your next destination.

  • Jack Peirson says:

    I would choose to make the walk/run. If you go back 18 gates to catch the train, then ride it 5 gates past your gates you are walking 23 gates no matter what. The difference between walking the 23 gates, to go back to 1 and then from 75 to 70 or just walking from 18 to 70, would be minimal. In order for the train to be the right choice you would have to be able to board immediately, without any waiting at the gate. Make the walk/run and you are controlling from the beginning to end and are not waiting, take charge of the situation.

  • Éric Mérandon says:

    I would run on a general case.

    But in your case, as it’s about Terminal A, I’ll follow Billy Strayhorn & Dule Ellington’s advice to Take The A Train!

  • Brett Wilkes says:

    I would run. Then, if I noticed the train passing me on the way, I’d get on asap.

  • eric says:

    It does indeed sound like DTW…
    I say take a brisk walk – get your blood pumping before sitting x hours in a plane!

  • Caroline says:

    As a marathoner……I would just bolt on my own two feet!

  • thrashsoundly says:

    Given my large gait, I walk/run the distance. Short people may have another opinion. Taking the train is obvious if you know the system, but it seems like in some airports it takes just as long to walk to the train as it does to get to the gate. Besides you run every day, right? Isn’t this what you’re training for?

  • Kris Boesch says:

    (All the while singing REM’s “I am, I am Superman, and I can do anything” in my head)

  • Rachel says:

    Make sure your backpack is strapped on tight, your shoe laces are tied… and START RUNNING!!

    Life is WAY too short to wait for transport that you have no control over~ I prefer my feet to any man made machine (and coming from a Los Angeleno, that’s saying a lot!)

    BONUS: you’re burning off the calories from eating that bag of peanut m&m’s you couldn’t resist at Hudson News !

  • Chris Forsyth says:

    Walk. KISS.

  • Rob says:

    Run (but grab a drink at the bar on your way).

  • Van Benschoten says:

    I vote for (and second) the response from @Maria Pere-Perez. Depends on the heels…but I would most likely stay off the train. Even if it is irrational, the movement/effort would provide comfort that I’m taking action to deal with the situation myself. Sometimes you can’t delegate actions in important & urgent situations to a third party (or train).

  • Amber says:

    if my baggage load is manageable (and even if it’s not), i will haul-ass myself, at least I am somewhat in control of the outcome here… I’d hate to be sitting around on a train hoping it gets me there in time. I like to be in control of my destiny in a way, and If i’m in a hurry & i know it will be close, i hate depending on others to get me there timely. cabs, trains, buses… I just want to kick out the drivers and take-over.
    At least if I’m in the drivers seat, or running there on my own, I will know I did everything I could to make it. So it it doesn’t work out, I can accept it and move on to plan B.

  • Sandy says:

    Hoof it! Like many people here I’ve been in a similar situation. I’ve dragged my luggage from terminals on a busy road rather than wait for a shuttle bus. This is a high anxiety situation and the running will help there as well.

  • Katherine Bates says:

    What is the SMART thing to do? Ask an airline worker for advice on my options, the frequency of the trains, whatever.

    What would I ACTUALLY do? Sweating and gasping like a wildebeest fleeing a lion, I would tear through the halls of the airport, suitcase wobbling behind me, face locked in a snarl of grim determination, eyes bugging wide with anxiety.

    Efficient? No. Dignified? No. Effective? Probably not even that. But like Frank Sinatra, I have to do it My Way.

  • LeMinxxx says:


    Catching an express train doesn’t mean that something may not happen & you are stuck on it.

    My son & I were in Rome & had to sprint from one side of the train terminal to the next in less then 10 minutes. It was insane! We were in Italy for the month. I was hauling both our suitcases & keeping my eye on him (only 7 years old) with his little backpack.

    The train was tootin’ away & I threw him on board and as the train was moving I threw the suitcases in & jumped in. It was just like in a movie 😉

    We made it! And he still remembers that experience because it was probably the hottest day & of course we forgot our Peach Iced Tea at the hotel in the refrigerator & we end up on a train without AC. Truly unforgettable but we made it.

  • Sarah says:

    I feel like by saying “walk/run” I am walking into some kind of metaphor trap of being a person who doesn’t take risks or something, but in this case, the benefits of the train are questionable at best; it may get there faster, I may not be sweaty when I get there, I may save myself some discomfort. If I walk/run though, I can be pretty sure I’ll make the plane, the sweat will dry soon enough and I got some exercise… how often does that happen on a travel day? So yeah, while I’m all for hacks and working smarter, in this case I’d go for the good old fashion route.

  • IPBrian says:

    I would walk…I always want more exercise, if I am in more of a hurry run. Unless there is a moving sidewalk involved, then I run on that, because moving sidewalks make me feel like I have a superpower!

  • Greg says:

    First I would not stop and blog for advice on what to do. You probably missed the flight by now reading all these comments.

    Just kidding,

    My instinct would be to pull up an app on my smartphone that would help, either showing the train times or the map of the airport to get my bearings (isn’t Google offering maps inside buidlings now?). But if I couldn’t find those straight away…

    I’d pick up my wheely bag and get a runnin’.

  • Meghan McLean says:

    Hoof it.

    Earlier in the year I almost missed my flight to Iceland. Not only did I misread the departure time (1pm is waaaaay different than 11pm!), I was dropped off at the United section of SFO, not realizing that Icelandair works in tandem with Alaska. So there I was, thankful that I shelled out the money for the luggage cart, running between terminals.

    I made it to my flight tired, albeit sweaty, but I slept great on the flight!

  • Neal says:

    Did you know Americans are the only society that uses devices such as escalators, trains in airports, as rides rather than tools to help them arrive to their destination more quickly? Watch next time you’re in an airport or mall using the escalator…

    Too many variables & people to use the train…Unpack your Nikes and book it. At least you know if you miss it running…the pro – you can only blame yourself and laugh because you know you need to start exercising again : )

  • Sarah says:

    If I am completely unfamiliar with an airport, I would take the train.

    I would go up the escalator and hop on the train. The train would only take me from point A to B, with point B being very close to my gate. If I ran it, I’d be running, and stopping to look at maps, and having to back-track and waste just as much time.

  • Josh says:

    I think the answer really depends on your body type and social perception.

    Given that I’ve always been athletic and running comes easily, I’ve always hoofed it in these situations since I know what I can deliver. Also, I could care less about what others think in public situations, so I don’t care if I’m wearing a suit and have a roller bag and laptop satchel and look ridiculous with all of it running down the corridor.

    Maybe this has caused me to get into more pickles like this than I should because I just thought about half a dozen cases like this that I’ve had to run long distances between gates.

    For those less agile and/or more concerned with how others think about them, I think this situation would be more of a quandary.

  • Leonard says:

    This is all to familiar for me, but I prefer to walk. Knowing that I will be seating on the plane for a long period of time, it give me some good cardiovascular exercise before boarding. Which I need.

  • Eileen D. says:

    This has happened to me; although it may not have been as close of a call as described. I would (and did) definitely make a run for it. I trust my feet more than a train (especially because I am a runner). Plus it’s a good way to get in some extra excercise and your heart rate up. Not to mention you’ll feel like you are in some exciting movie scene.

  • Pod says:

    You let fate dictate. After standing still and freaking out for a little while remind yourself that wherever you are is exactly where you need to be in the moment. You decide to take the express train (you’re feeling a little lazy and want to check the view rather than look like a crazed tourist sprinting with an oversized bag through the terminal). Maybe you get the flight, which is cool or maybe you don’t in which case you stop off for a latte and plan your next step. Equally cool.

  • Sol says:

    There’s nothing like running in an airport.

    It’s 2:45 in the morning and all is quiet. There are a few bleary-eyed travelers trying to catch some zzz’s before their flight (good luck). There’s the maintenance guy about to start the power sweeper (sorry sleepyheads). Then there’s you– flying down the terminal, gates whipping by left and right, and the wind at your face.

    You’ve never felt more alive.

    Besides, if you take the train, you’ll be spending the whole ride thinking about how you could have been RUNNING IN AN AIRPORT.

  • Sudha says:

    I would actually walk. Take a deep breathe and start walking. The gates aren’t usually far in most airports. Having seen SF airport which is quite huge compared to others, I am pretty sure the distance between A18 and A70 would be less than 10 minutes as long as you know the direction to go.

    Trains although faster might not necessarily drop you exactly at A70 and you might still need to walk once you get down.

  • Ashley F says:

    Definitely hoof it! Though the risk could pay off in the end by taking the train, you have more control over the situation if you run. I’m definitely a control freak though, so it would make sense that I would pick that one over taking the risk 🙂

  • Toby Scott says:

    By running you are trying your personal best to forge the result you wish for.

    By taking the train you are dependant on others to get to that outcome…

    Believe in yourself and start running!

    Best of luck


  • Saralee says:

    Walk confidently at a comfortably pace grateful for the ability and the fact that I have the freedom to travel.

  • Christina says:

    Run, without a doubt. The train is an unknown quantity on the best day. And, even more importantly, it is completely out of your control. It could take forever. It could break down between stops and trap you indefinitely. If you’re running, you are using your own power to get yourself there and the only real limitation is your physical prowess and willingness to sweat and look like a goofball, which is nothing compared with the headache of missing a flight.

  • Denise says:

    I’d hoof it mainly because I can depend on myself to keep moving but I have no control over the train’s schedule.

  • Charles says:

    I don’t know if they’d do it, but I’d ask the people at the gate to delay the flight, and let ’em know I’m coming! Walk or train, at this point it doesn’t matter. I’d walk for the exercise.

  • Sophia says:

    I favor the walking option, as it puts things in my control (no delayed train, potential breakdown of train, etc).

  • Jeff Freeman says:

    I’d hoof it–on the double. Especially since I’m packed into a single roller that converts to a backpack for obstacle course challenges. 🙂

  • Michael Day says:

    I like what somebody said earlier: you can walk faster, but you can’t wait faster. If I have no idea how long the train will actually take, or how long I will have to wait for it, I would rather walk for sure.

  • Hutchy says:

    In one reality you ran, in another you took the train and in another you bought us all lindt chocolates.

    It doesn’t matter what option you choose…you’ll always end up where you need to be unless you got us chocolate of course!

    What do i do? Sometimes i walk, sometimes i take the train and most times i’m never late.

  • William says:

    i would walk. i tend to like walking, doing so i meet more people and see more things.

    if i do happen to miss my flight, well… i missed it and will take the next one. its an airport, there will be more planes.

    most of the major airlines are very accommodating when it comes to missing a flight.

  • Kami says:

    I’d book it to the gate! Waiting for the train is too risky.

  • Kyle says:

    That would be a very quick decision for me. I don’t know how long the train will take, but I know how fast my feet can move. I’d go by foot, very-fast foot. One of my biggest pet peeves is waiting during a time crunch. I can’t stand watching the time go by waiting for something that is supposed to save the very thing it’s wasting. After many experiences with anxiety due to procrastination, I’ve learned that the quickest way to alleviate it, is to get started, make progress, take that first step. Don’t wait and worry. Once you take the first step, the worry washes away and is replaced with determination.

  • Katie says:

    In every airport I’ve ever been in they have odd numbered gates on one side of the terminal and even on the other, so that’s only 26 gates, which just isn’t all that far. I’d walk. Taking the train just sounds like way too much work for a distance that manageable. If it were further or in a different terminal, I’d probably take the train, but same terminal and not very many gates I just can’t get all that excited about.

  • Melissa says:

    Run like hell, swear like a sailor when you miss the train and go rent a car.

  • Brigitte Lyons says:

    Haha! I’ve been in this situation. I took the train. But first, I asked an airport employee which would get me there on time.

  • JASMIN says:

    Hoof it.


    Because when you hoof it, you’re in control of how fast you get there (you can choose to sprint) whereas on the train you cannot make it go any faster than whatever speed it’s going at (which at this point is an unknown to you.)

    I’m all for exploring the unknown – when time is not a factor. But when it is, I recommend staying away from the scenic route and going with what you know.


  • Lithia says:

    I prefer moving to waiting any day. However, I have also learned to be flexible and the fact that the airport has built a train tells me it’s a long run. If I can be on the train and moving within three minutes, I’ll take it. If not, I will RUN.

  • Nancy Weed says:

    I have two airline cards with over 1,000,000 miles each on them. My best advice is have the “oh well” attitude, make a choice based on the excellent suggestions above, assume you will make it, but know what to do if you do not. (lots of other airlines happy to take your ticket, let you board immediately, etc). The most important thing is to realize that this is not “an end of the world” decision although it seems to feel like it to some people. So what if you miss the plane – there are plenty of others coming and in my experience I’ve quite often ended up on better flights with better seats on the few occasions I missed a plane. I’m not sure the purpose of your question but it is anxiety related to these really little decisions whose consequences are rarely even a blip on the radar that can make our leaves seem out of control and anxiety ridden. And if you do run, be sure that you are not endangering yourself (if not in shape, carrying too much, might trip) or others — knocking over, bumping, or frightening disabled or elderly people, families with children, or anyone else is not a good karma thing to do – even if you can say “I win!” when you catch the plane.

  • Kristen says:

    Hoof it–definitely. I can rely on my legs to get me there–and I’m in control of my own destiny. I only have myself to consider and to blame if I don’t make it.

  • Sheri says:

    I’m a spontaneous type. I would have to be there in the moment and go with my gut instinct. So far, it has served me well.

  • Elena says:

    The time is too short to stop and analyze all the possibilities and decide which option is actually better.
    I would rather take the train.
    Since I haven’t been to this airport before, I don’t know how it is structured, and I have no time to look for a plan or ask for informations.
    If there is an Express Train, there should be a reason. There are usually no express trains in airports where the gates are very close to each other and in the same building.
    By taking the train, I would be sure that I won’t get lost or slowed down by the crowd. Walking, or running, would carry much more uncertainties than taking the train.
    Besides that, every time I tried walking or running in order not to wait for the bus, I lost the race and arrived after the bus. Trains are usually faster than buses and I don’t actualy know how far is terminal 70.

  • ashley says:

    i would jump on the train, then ask someone who looks as if they travel that route often how long they think it will take. if there is no person to ask/who knows, i ride for just under 5 minutes and see how far i got. if i made it halfway, keep riding. if not, RUN!!!!!

  • Benny says:

    Ive been in this situation before and ran! So I would definitely run as fast as I could.

  • Joe C. says:

    I’d use my status to change the flight for free, stroll to the nearest lounge and grab a beer.

  • George Brett says:

    Yumping Yiminy — so many answers already. Oh well, here is my two cents. In the case presented I’d take the time to go to the train loading point which most likely will have a diagram of how many stops there are (e.g., lots at DFW and only 3 at DTW) and then decide whether to run on any moving walkways provided or wait 30 secs to 5 minutes for next train. More gray than black & white decision for me.
    – George

  • Krista B. says:

    1. Ask someone about the train stops if that is an option. If it truly is an express train, take it.
    2. If there is one of the golf carts nearby–tell a convincing tale and hitch a ride.
    3. Run and while running, see if you can call ahead to the gate.

  • Angela says:

    Go by foot! That way your destiny is more within your own control. I always try to hoof it as much as possible within airports to try and offset all the sitting time.

  • Heather says:

    Well, I think you have your answer, Chris. You attract a very independent, control-issue group of people :-).

    I have the bad luck of having Denver as my home airport and we don’t have a choice to hoof it or take the train (except for “A” gates). My son decided to pack his toy pistol on the way to grandma’s this holiday season – it is metal, it triggered a full-on bag search and delayed us to the very last second. We had no choice but to take the train with 5 kids in tow … and I made each and every one of them haul ass to our gate. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to have security radio ahead, but they were about to close the gate when we showed up.

    Luckily too, security confiscated the toy gun otherwise I may have been tempted to use it on my son … and he saw the look in my eyes and believed every word of that threat :-).

  • Christine J. Dimon says:

    Well, I’m not a Doctor, and I’m in no rush to get to no-where fast, so I’m gonna have a daiquiri…tomorrow happens with or without me!

  • Mónia Camacho says:

    Well since i travel light and my knoledge about my physical condition is better then my knoledge on the train I would run… But I could mesure the distance between A18 and the next gate and from there calculate the distance till my gate.
    Last time i made a run was in Madrid because i didn’t see i had to check in luggage again… Now i only travel with a hand bag. Problem solved.

  • Mike Flynn says:

    I think that the choice here say’s something about my personality – trusting (take the train) vs. controlling (run like the wind). Running and making it would give me a much better feeling of accomplishment and running and missing it would leave me knowing that I did everything I could. In the end, I’d probably get to same place at nearly the same time. The upside in my mood for both making it and missing it are better if I take the action. I’d be interested in the stats on the response to this and would be incredibly surprised if a majority of AONC readers didn’t choose to run.

  • Sabine B. says:

    I would hoof it – maybe only because I love this expression so much!!
    I’m into horses and it sounds like I had my “oats motor on four feet” with me 😉 – hoofing it with him, no one would beat me to the gate. I regret, he doesn’t love flying as much as I do and the airlines continue to refuse: he may not join the cabin – I can’t figure out why …? :-)))
    By the time I will arrive at my Gate A70, I will look like I had a good exercise because I decided to walk (or run) as fast as I can on two feet only. But I vote that’s better than waiting for the train and getting increasingly nervous and then angry because of not moving for an awful long five minutes or so.
    Motto: Always have fun while traveling, no matter what!!

  • Sparrow Morgan says:

    In my younger days I would’ve hoofed it, but now I’d wait for the train and try to find someone to call the gate and tell them I’m on my way… The few times this has happened to me, the travel stars have aligned and I’ve made it to the gate just in the nick of time, but oh it’s always nerve-wracking.

  • Mikos says:

    Try to detect a traveller familiar with the airport (not always the businessman in suit), ask her or his advice… Remember, most people are friendly and will love to help!

  • Terri R. Munro says:

    Train it –

    If it’s cutting too close, get off at a stop and run the rest of the way!


  • Chea says:

    The advice I’d give for you would be to take a deep breath and WALK briskly, do not run. This is why it’s always a good idea to travel light and wear sensible shoes. You’ll get to the gate on time.

    Do have the first gate agent you see call ahead to your gate to let them know you’re coming. You may have to shout at them as you whiz past…

    There’s nothing worse on your blood pressure than waiting for a train and not knowing exactly where to get off it, either.

    I always leave extra time to get to the airport and be processed. Then I can relax, do a tarot reading about the flight and enjoy watching the rushed and stressed out passengers fly by…

  • @meditatecreate says:

    This question obviously struck a chord with many people. It sharply bring to focus the the lifetime seesaw we ride between balancing risk and control. Run, at least your in control of the speed of your legs, catch the train and once you step in you’re giving up control. Stepping more into the unknown. I would stop, take a moment to breathe, remind myself of the worst case scenario (missing the plane) and realize either way it’s not a catastrophe but rather an inconvenience or maybe an unexpected adventure and go with my gut which would be run. As a spiritual mentor laibl wolf once told me experience is what you get when you get what you dont want. thanks for your compelling reads, no matter how long always seem to get to the bottom of your posts, amazing given the attention economy we now live in. Happy 2012!

  • Ari says:

    Hop the train. Look at the map. Find an appropriate stop to disembark. Preference goes to any stop from around A55-on. Orient yourself, stay near the door, and get ready to run.

  • Kathryn Brown says:

    Definitely running… to the nearest baggage motorcart and working a little femme magic with the driver. Clearly my high heels and oversized backpack will qualify me for a pity ride, right? Purty please?? *big eyelashy blink blink…* If not, I’ve been known to travel some remarkable distances in high heels even with big bags. Worst case, pretend you’re filming the last scene in some incredible romance film and make a heels-in-hand barefoot sprint for the gate… never know, your true love might even still be waiting there (impatiently trying to take your ticket and get that big ol’ bag on board in time for takeoff, haha). Now wouldn’t that be a nice adventurous start to your travels?

  • Maltchinski Felix says:

    I would take the train to the gate.

  • Nicolas DORIER says:

    … I would ask people around me, if it does not work, I would go to the gate by walking and trying to find an airport employees to help me.

  • Renea Hanna says:

    i don’t like the stress of rush, so i’d view it as an opportunity to savor the moment. i’d pull up a stool at the nearest airport watering hole and order their darkest beer, pull out my phone or laptop and make the necessary adjustments to fly standby on the next available flight. in the meantime, i’d strike up a conversation with a fellow traveler and see what kind of stories they’ve got to share. i’ll be the richer for it, in the end.

  • Lisa says:

    I trust my feet more than a train, so I’d definitely run! But, I think it also depends on what country you’re in. I’ve sprinted for last minute calls before, only to find that there is a certain flexibility in departure times in some countries… so, you could quite possibly find yourself arriving out of breath at the gate, well before pre-boarding begins, and plenty of time for a cup of delicious local beverage. 🙂 May everyone’s 2012 be full of adventure, delight and not too many flight layovers!

  • Christine Myers says:

    Power walk! It’s how I get my exercise on travel days, stretch my legs between flights, and release some of the travel stress. It does get tricky when I’m navigating my legally blind husband and suitcases but it’s still my preferred option.

  • Karolina says:

    Run, of course. It’s not that far and I’d know I did what I could.

  • Si Hui says:

    I would make a run for it, assuming I didn’t have too many things to carry. From experience “express trains” differ from airport to airport and I’m not the kind of person who likes to stand waiting idly.

  • Joe says:

    Hoof it. You can control how fast you run. You can’t control what happens with the train. As long as things are in your control, you can make anything happen (as long as it’s physically possible … and 52 gates in 10 minutes is very possible). At that moment, there isn’t even enough time to think about the train and sit there and wait for it. You just gotta go. Best chance with your own fate in hand. What is meant to happen will happen after that and something good will happen no matter what. It always does if you let it.

  • David Atman says:

    Give’r on the shoelace express!

  • Lora Barthelman says:

    Take the risk! Walk! I would grab the opportunity to take control, rather than letting the moments pass slowly by. Of course good sign reading, good shoes, and a light carry-on would be vital.

  • nostalgique says:

    Walk, or rather run!

  • Dan says:

    Run for it! There’s nothing worse than waiting for a train when you’re running late, knowing that you could be a lot closer by now if you had gone on foot. Don’t leave it up to chance, take control and give it everything you’ve got!

  • Anne Burner says:

    I hoof it. Given the sheer amount of *possible* stops between A18 and A75, I’m better off relying on my own two feet. Even if I’m unfamiliar with this specific airport, I travel enough to know to wear comfy shoes. And if there are this many gates on this terminal, odds are there are people movers somewhere along the way, which would speed things up a bit.

    Asking for help is always a plus. Some of the other commentors mentioned stoping at gates (best to choose one of the same airline, if possible) to see if the agent could call ahead. Contacting your airline’s customer service number might help as well – if you don’t have to stop to do so.

  • Cynthia Morris says:

    Depending on how much stuff you have – hopefully very little – I’d hoof it. I count on airports to give me opportunities for exercise and I count on my speed more than on the reliability of a train.

    I also feel better in action than passively waiting and hoping.

  • Deb @ Home life simplified says:

    I would run to the gate rather than risk the unknown of the train. Given the urgency I would keep it simple – I don’t know if i can run there fast enough nor do i know anything about the train, but since i am already at the gates, and there is a simple path, running makes the most sense. Under pressure you would be amazed how fast you can run a sprint!

  • Katie says:

    If the airport is big enough to have wings with alphabetical labels and 75+ gates on each of those, its developed enough to have a reliable express shuttle that will get you there in 5 minutes with a wait of under 5 mins. So I’m heading for the train.

  • Lara says:

    I’m already expecting to run to the gate, and suddenly the train option pops up. I’ve found that if takes me longer than 5 seconds to decide, then I go with my initial plan. Which in this case is to run. If I can look at the train option and it seems like a good option within that 5 second time frame, then I’ll go with the train. Like if the train had just pulled up and was boarding right as I was going by, I’d probably have no problem deciding to jump on.

    The only wrong decision is too much hesitation. You don’t learn how to make quick decisions and you don’t make your plane on time. Any other choice is a winner because you’ll either make your plane, learn something, or both. If my decision was wrong, then I file it into my knowledgebase and try something new next time. I get better at making decisions this way.

  • Brandy says:

    My instinct right now tells me to take the train. Escalators and trains are more fun than running. Unless running includes those flat escalators. I LOVE those things! Way more fun than trains.

    It would also depend on where I was going. And how bad I wanted to get there. I think the honest answer is that in that moment I’d feel it out, say a little pray, and go with my gut.

    My gut is quite intelligent.

  • Vinay says:

    I will prefer walking….with all those stops for train between A18 and A75, I am sure I’ll reach the gate before train does. Another reason I can do this as I travel light (mostly with just a backpack) 🙂

  • Victoria says:

    I’d be tempted for a moment by the promise of the Express Train, but choose to power walk with a vengeance instead!

  • Nick says:

    Take the train. Most airport trains have frequent departures and get you to your destination much faster than you could by foot – even for a runner like yourself.

  • Marcella Kearns says:

    Be glad you wore comfortable tie shoes for traveling!
    Cinch up the straps on the backpack or let loose the longest handle on the carry-on to roll.
    Watch the signs and make sure you’re jogging towards A70 and not A1.
    You won’t get another chance for a workout if it’s a long travel day.
    It can be done.
    If you DO miss the flight, at least the workout’s gotten some blood to the brain to figure out the next step.

  • Jan Bourdo says:

    It depends if I am leaving for my destination or returning.
    If leaving I would run… my pack is lighter and I want to get where I’m going.
    If coming home my pack is alot heavier and I might have another adventure…train.

  • Katherine Bowers says:

    Because I’m a Libra and having red everyone’s comments, I agree with all scenarios. I would do one or the other, on alternating trips.

  • Jeremy says:

    There is a reason that the airport built the train over there, and the reason is that it makes it easier, faster and more trustworthy to get from place to place in the growing terminals of this century, especially when you have no idea how far it might be to your gate.
    Have some faith in the designers and engineers who built the airport, that they know what they are doing.
    Yes, one or two of the responders here once encountered a stuck train, but 99.99% of the time they run like clockwork making everything more efficient for everybody.

    I take the train – That’s why it’s there!

  • Laureen Marchand says:

    I’m already running. It’s the unconventional solution. Faster or slower, successful or not, I get to be the one who decides. Which is the way I like it!

  • dara says:

    Easy. I run my ass off! And hopefully I have my ipod handy so that I can pretend along to the perfect song that I am in a scene from a Leonardo DiCaprio movie… (he seems like a good fit for a run your ass off through the airport movie scene.) He would of course be waiting for me at the gate and would then accompany me the rest of the way to the plane. And then we’d plop down into our seats and he’d look out the window, still panting, then over at me nervously smiling and say, “man… that was close” as he reclined with visible relief as we took off.

  • Ian says:

    Run like hell. Too many variables in waiting.

  • vikingpet says:

    Hmm, this scenario has mutiple options.

    First being logic. Unless you are in Frankfurt (am Main) someone put that train there for a reason. This reason probably being a faster and more convenient way of traveling to your gate.

    Second option is gamble. You recognize you have two options and no time to make a solide decision, so you might as well throw a coin. After all, everything happens for a reason. So a missed plane is perhaps the start of a greater adventure.

    Third option is called keep your cools. You recognize that your at Gate A18 and you got some distance to go. Walk over to Gate A18 and ask the gate-operator to phone up Gate A70 to let them know your on the way. Let the Gate-operate know that he/she may have an awesome day, while you walk of to the gate (briskly to show some respect).

    Fourth option is Samuel Jackson. Grap a pay phone, throw in 2 euros and phone up the airport desk. Let them know that there are Mothafucking snakes on the Gate A70 plane about to taxi to the run way and you had it with snakes on a plane. That should buy you another 30-60 mins getting there.

    You could also take the real train and ditch the plane!

  • Sharon says:

    Depends on how tired / motivated I am.
    if I’m tired and my bag is heavy – train it is.
    if not – I would rather trust myself to run fast enough..

  • Brian says:

    Easy. Jump on the nearest persons back, slap them in the butt, and yell “Giddy Up!!!” but this is probably get you in some trouble with security….or the government.

  • Tristan says:

    First, I’d ask someone from the airport how long the train takes. If they don’t give me the right answer, or there’s no one around, I’d leg it.

  • Richard Bannister says:

    I can rely on myself and I travel light, so I would immediately start walking; I walk at a very fast clip besides…

  • Lisa says:

    My first thought would be to just walk seeing as though I’m a ‘walker’ anyway but then I would also speak to someone at gate 18 because i’m also a ‘talker’ and find out if I could walk it in ten minutes!

  • Nathan Agin says:

    Unless I know the train is arriving at that moment (meaning, I can SEE the train), I use my own two feet, and I move FAST.

    Now, that’s assuming I know which direction to head. I’ll ask directions if I need to, but I can’t waste anytime with wrong turns (probably why the train is there to begin with).

    If there’s another opportunity for me to hop on the train, I will – but for me, the point is to make progress.

    Another option: flag down one of those guys with the golf carts!

  • Sandy Panda says:

    At least 3-5 minutes are wasted getting to, and boarding the train. Now, if the train needs to stop even once, you’re in trouble?

    I say walk…You’ll be sitting on the plane for a long, long time. It’s always better to get in a little exercise before a trip.

  • Sara says:

    I walk (or run!). There’s nothing worse than standing around, wondering if you made the right decision by waiting… time ticks on, you agonise… I’d rather make a decision and walk: I’ll either be right or I’ll be wrong, but either way I’ll have done something about my situation. And on the bright side, I might be sweaty by the time I arrive at the gate but I’ll have had some exercise before I sit on the plane!

  • Joana says:

    Man, I wish you had been born in Brazil. Travel hacking and unconventional guide to publishing? I wish you could teach us how to do it here.

  • Lisa Capehart says:

    I lived in Atlanta for many years and the train in the airport was always the best choice over walking or taking the “moving walkway” down the very long terminals. So, without much thought, I’d take the train. 🙂

  • Grace Mndz says:

    I would take a deep breath and speed walk alternating with some running if needed.

  • Jim Johnson says:

    Assuming my baggage is just my small/medium backpack, I’d run – I have control over that, and I know my speed fairly well. If I were a heavy baggage person, I’d probably take the train because it eliminates the running option…

  • Brian Holiman says:

    If I am tired, ride, if I am feeling great, walk. I’ve NEVER missed a flight due to this scenario and I’ve flown all over the world and both walked and rode. If I am with my family, sometimes its easier to ride, if its just me, I speed walk.

  • Tim says:

    Been there. Done that.

    1. Quickly locate a map, which you should have already loaded on your phone.

    2. Estimate the distance to run it, taking the amount of your carry-on luggage you will be sprinting with into account.

    3. Locate the train stops. Are they in weird places forcing you to backtrack?

    4. Make your decision and SPRINT! If you see a car, hop on. If you chose to catch the train, read on…

    5. If you get to a train stop and you’ve just missed the boarding, RUN!

    6. Pray while running.

  • Sarah Kathleen Peck says:

    Run, run, run! I run like the wind, like a fun game, like a play, like a chance to move through the world. I love transportation, but if the options are open, I choose the feet I know well: my own, and the benefit of being able to exercise and move. If I missed the flight from running, then I’d park my butt and do yoga in the corner and read books.

    Another question: without the time pressure, which do you do? If you have that choice and all the time in the world, does the answer change?

  • Richard Uren says:

    Run. I would rather rely on myself, than be a passenger. The situation where its not so much fun is when you’re carrying luggage as well ..

  • Shari says:

    I need the exercise. I’ll hoof it. Later I won’t have to run on the treadmill. I’ll have had a better work out, working more muscles, because of all the dodging and weaving and because I’m pulling a 25-lb weight.

  • Bill says:

    I would take the train…you could always get off at the next stop if you suddenly realize it was a bad idea.

  • jon says:

    Walk or run. It won’t take that long.

  • Jack says:

    Tie my shoes, take a deep breath, and pound out 5.2 gates per minute on foot. Smile at the gate agent, fill my lungs with air, and feel glad to be alive and on the way to my next destination.

  • Crystal says:

    I like to wait until the very last minute. It’s pretty much my favorite minute ever. So this happened to me recently. Now where was I? Ah yes, Denver. I was on my way to accept the Nobel Prize for my work in the field of Attractiveness. I believe I was wearing patent leather pumps at the time, although that’s not important. What is important is that I got them on sale… and also that I made it to the gate on time, thanks to the brilliant strategy laid out above by Jonathan.

    “Start running next to the train track. If a train arrives, get on for a breather. As long as the train doesn’t stop too much, enjoy the ride. But if it stops more than 2 times, get off and run. Never stop moving!”

    See, you always wanna go for the train option first. Because let’s assume I try to run– what happens if I can’t do it? I don’t think my fragile self-esteem could handle a blow like that. I mean, it’s bad enough I’m made up entirely of Nutella and sloth; I don’t also want to be a failure.

  • Tara says:

    There are too many variables with the train and very few with walking (can I walk? Am I heading in the right direction) and they are easily assessed.
    Plus, I find the “am I heading the right way? Is this my stop? Why isn’t it moving?!” much more stressful than just walking and seeing the gates get closer and closer.

  • Cory says:

    Personally, I would take a few seconds to further access the situation. Things such as the amount of “stuff” I am carrying with me, my mood, the look and layout of the airport, if I am alone or with another, the amount of time I have to board the plane, etc.

    For me, however, the decision itself holds minimum relevance. There is no room in life to reevaluate “if’s”, especially in such minor instances. When traveling, as with anything, the important thing for me, isn’t making a decision between a set of opportunities, but enjoying the results of each decision I make whether it be a cognizant or subconscious.

    Pick one, go, and life enjoy.

  • Peggy says:

    You wouldn’t have to imitate O.J. Simpson to get there on foot. And trains have a nasty habit of breaking down, usually when you want them the most.

    The only exception would be if the gates were in different terminals, which I assume is not the case here, since they’re both A gates.

  • Travis says:

    This is the Art of Non-Conformity site, right? Why are all the answers so conforming?

    Walk it – BACKWARDS. You’re either going to make the flight, or not, big deal. But imagine how many people you give a story to as they watch you pass by walking backwards in a crowded airport with all your luggage.

    Making people happy is more important than getting on a flight.

  • Dan Holterhaus says:

    I’m going on foot because I have more control that way. I don’t want to let a train dictate whether I will be late or not. I’d rather my foot speed be the deciding factor!

  • Elizabeth Ewing says:

    Run for it! I may not be the fastest person on the planet, but personally I feel a lot less stressed as long as I am moving forward. In college if I was running late to a class on the other side of campus 9/10 I would walk the 10-15 minutes instead of waiting for the bus. Maybe it’s because I feel like I can depend on my legs, where another transportation device could fail me. Hmmm…

  • Nicki says:

    I would walk briskly and hope that despite my lack of fitness would be compensated for by my freakishly long legs and preference for sneakers when traveling. Also, panic situations (such as this) significantly reduce my timid nature, allowing several loud exclamations such as “Excuse me,” “I’m late for my flight,” and the perfect imitation of a bike bell (which I now need to develop).

    The train, which would provide less stress on my joints, would also provide an excessive amount of stressful worry. I’d rather worry and run (walk).

  • Ron Hogan says:

    At the first nearby gate that doesn’t have a line of people at the counter, ask the person there to call your gate and confirm with them that you are on your way, then find out from that person what the best, quickest way to get to A70 would be.

  • claire says:

    I’ve got long legs, so I would hoof it. I can always pick up my pace if I need to but would have no control over the train.

  • Mike Choi says:

    I’m going to elaborate on what I wrote earlier now that I’m using a real keyboard instead of a mobile device.

    The first thing I would do is check the airport map to determine if the concourse is setup in a circular direction. And if there’s another train running in opposite directions so that getting on the train in the opposite direction is quicker. So, assuming the train is going in a circular direction, it’s much quicker to get on the train that is running in the opposite direction. In this case, it’s much quicker going from the A18 to A17 direction to get to A70 than it is to get on the train that’s going in the A18 to A19 direction to get to A70.

    Two airports that come to mind are JFK going from Term 1 to Term 8 and DFW getting from concourse A to E. In either airports, it’s much faster to take the train than it is to just hoof it!

  • Carol says:

    I haven’t taken a plane since before security got so tight but one time I had to change planes in O’Hare on a trip from Tampa to Minneapolis. On the first plane I had my ticket in one hand and a map of O’Hare in the other. An attendant came by and I asked if I could get from here to there in 8 minutes. She looked at it and said, “Um, nope, especially with the construction going on.” She came back in a couple of minutes and told me a cart would be waiting when I deplaned, but if I didn’t hurry off the plane and to the cart, I’d still miss it. They called ahead and told the 2nd plane I was on my way, but I had 15 seconds or so to spare.

  • Ileana says:

    I’ll probably wait 2 minutes for the train to come. If it doesn’t come till then, I’ll ask the nearest airport staff on how far the gate is and how long it takes to get there – some gates are not directly connected (for example one needs to take the aerotrain in KLIA and Changi). If its near enough I’ll run it, if its too far, I’ll tell them I’m running for my flight and they’ll probably give you a ride to the gate (at least I know that happens in KLIA – Malaysia)

  • Meredydd says:

    Assuming that I was traveling light — and if I’m not, then shame on me — then I would:

    1) start scurrying toward Gate 78, while

    2) keeping an eye open for a gate agent who doesn’t have a line (probably doing post-boarding paperwork), and when I find him/her,

    3) asking them to radio gate 78 that I’m on my way

    The folks who said ask the agent at Gate 18 to radio assume that there is no line at Gate 18. Not a good assumption, so that’s why I say start hoofing, and only stop for a gate agent who can address my problem right away.

    By hoofing it I keep as much control as possible of the situation. By hoofing it and watching at the same time for an available agent, I optimize my utilization of minutes by not wasting any time in line.

    Besides, by running and dodging and feinting among the crowd, you can fantasize about being a super hero or secret agent or NFL running back…

  • Daniel Lee says:

    10 minutes is definitely a very long time although it may not seem that way. 52 gates away means you would need to walk past at least 5 gates a minute and it’s very much doable assuming it is a normal-sized airport with 2 gates on each side at every 10m intervals. I think there’s still time to just drop by my favourite coffee stand and get a cup!

    Life in this fast-tracked world tells us 10 minutes is a very short time but in actual fact, you can actually do a lot in 10 minutes so do not be alarmed!

  • Chris says:

    This is easy. If I have no clue about the train schedule and what it MIGHT do to MY schedule I would walk. I know I have ten minutes to get to the gate but I also know that I have no control over what happens on the express train. By walking I can come to know whether my walking pace will get me there before the plane departs the gate or whether I need to start running! There is no guess work involved with the original people mover (your legs). And if I don’t get there in time — it’s MY fault, and that’s fine by me.

    -Chris, Portland OR (but not YOU! hahaha)

  • Roger Lord Zeck says:

    plan better, arrive earlier: it’s much less stress. Then take the train and peoplewatch

  • Sara Chumbley says:

    Stop thinking! Run! Fast!!!!

    Most flights close boarding doors 30 mins before departure so you might already be too late. If many others are late the airline staff may hold the flight. But not for long, so hurry!

  • Stephanie says:

    RUN!! If you feel the train is beating you, hop on at the next stop.

  • Dayna says:

    It does sound like Detroit. Hoof it, you’ll get there faster.

  • Sheryl says:

    I’d haul ass! Knowing my luck the train would make 7 million stops and I’d be left at the airport wishing I did what I needed to do to make it to the gate on time. I’ve been stuck in airports (LAX for 12 grueling hours and DTW overnight and vowed to never miss a plane again. Great Questions Chris. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  • Dave says:

    I’m a fast runner and don’t mind looking silly if it means I’ll catch my plane. I’ll take the relative certainty of sprinting for the gate with arms pumping and carry-on bag flapping over fidgeting impatiently while waiting for the relative uncertainty of the train. Plus A70 won’t be that far from A18 unless the airport planners have done something *really* interesting…

  • Kay says:

    I vote for my feet! It seems to me that I would feel more in control of my fate – plus it could be kinda fun! When my kids and I made a break for it through the Amsterdam airport, we didn’t make the flight, but we sure had a great time trying! We even had some help from perfect strangers which made it all the more fun!

  • Rhea says:

    I would run like the wind! And stay off of all the moving sidewalks, that is where all the slow walkers are! The adrenaline will kick in and it will happen.

  • sarah says:

    walk, for sure. i’m naturally a quick walker, and this is doable without a doubt. may be a case of going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t. i trust my legs more than a train, and prefer to be in control.

  • Lynelle says:

    Nut up and run. Forget the train.

  • Polly says:

    Hoof it! One never knows what the train may or may not bring. I’m in good shape so a fast walk or even a jog through the terminal isn’t going to mess me up. In terms of “being in the airline system”, that’s no guarantee that they won’t give your seat away. In October I was making a connection at ORD to SAN. I left the airline club a little later then I should have and stopped to get food for the flight. I get to the gate about 10 minutes before scheduled departure, and gate agent told me they gave my seat to a standby. Ack! The door has closed and she tells me she’ll be back to look for an available flight in few minutes. I’m freaking at this point. A few minutes later the gate door opens and two people come out. It seems they changed their minds about taking that flight so I got my seat back. Phew! However I won’t make that mistake again!

  • Sandy says:

    On foot is the best bet in my opinion. I’d write something clever, but Paul Docherty beat me to it! I vote his comment as the winner.

  • Andrea says:

    Run baby run! Run on moving walkways and potentially use my rollerboard suitcase as some kind of makeshift skateboard/ windsurfing device. I ran into this problem once, raced all the way there, made it just in the nick of time… just to discover they’d changed the gate to basically back where I’d started. Luckily it turned out that they’d changed the gate because of a last minute malfunction and it was now delayed… and I ended up getting to take a bump for a flight credit *sweet!*

  • Daniel Peckham says:

    I can’t believe how many responses you’ve received! 🙂

    My answer: Run! You’re in control when you get there with your own 2 feet. Otherwise you’re at the mercy of the train which might make extra stops. Besides, you’re going to be be sitting on that plane anyway.

  • Mary says:

    Back in the good ol’ days, I would have asked the arrival gate crew to let the departure gate crew know that I am coming. I still might do that when flying Southwest- because their crews are still cordial. The crews of other airlines that I fly with all seem to be in pretty foul moods most of the time. Regardless of air crew morale, I would hoof it. For one thing, if I can navigate the concourse, the physical activity helps fight jet lag. Or maybe it is just from watching too many commercials as a kid; I still get a thrill O.J.-ing through the airport.

  • Janet says:

    I, too, pictured the upper-level tram on Detroit’s A Concourse. From a practical standpoint, you lose time going up to the tram level and looking to see where the cars are. So, I usually walk it but I use the moving sidewalk to make my walking more efficient. Ten minutes is enough to go from the B concourse entrance to either end of the A concourse. Metaphorically speaking, however … I would still walk, choosing the reality I see over the potential I can’t see.

  • jonelle summerfield says:

    Definitely run. It takes time to figure out unfamiliar transportation. Plus, sitting on an airplane is much more bearable after getting some exercise. Always wear comfortable shoes while traveling!

  • Janna says:

    Run! And consider it my sprint workout for the day.

    Actually, I did this last December when I was in the Barcelona airport, heading back to central Spain from Denmark. Unfortunately I had missed a series of trains BEFORE arriving at the airport which caused me to cut it extremely close, and there was no other option but to run with all my stuff.

    Conveniently, this was a few days before I ran my first half-marathon, and I hadn’t had time to do my speed training workouts while I was in Denmark for a few days battling the snow and freezing temperatures.

    So it actually became a very efficient experience of cutting it close: I got my marathon training in at the airport! It sure felt good to be the last person walking on that plane after being convinced before that there was no way I would make it.

    I did feel a little bad for the person sitting next to me having to deal with my heavy breathing and sweating…but not really 🙂

  • Melissa Jaine says:

    Hoof it!
    No doubt that is my answer because I am a control freak – train equals too many uncertainties. 🙂

  • Judi Vreeland says:

    I am not athletic. Next week I am going to be 66. BUT I’d still run for it. I would rather take a chance on me. Carpe’ diem!!! Run for it –you can do it!!!!!

  • Yasmin says:

    This is like a “Choose your own adventure” book – and I used to love them as a kid! Seeing as I am followinr the ANC guidelines – travel light, travel smart and keep fit – I would run…..I can always catch my breath at the gate!

  • Fyodor says:

    1st of all – contact the airport services for the further information and then take a decision. Fairly speaking, il worth to calculate the time better before precipitating to the trip.

  • ballerina girl says:

    ‘This train is leaving the station. Either you’re on board or I’m leaving you behind…’ Keep moving. Get on the train.

  • Michelle says:

    Walk fast and pray for slow boarding.

  • Archer's Mom says:

    Hurry up, slow down! When you rush, you risk poor decisions, mistakes or accidents. Sometimes, a combination of those three can result in a positive outcome (ie, business or personal matters) but not in this scenario. Have pep in your step and walk, but don’t be rude to others in your efforts to get to the gate, and don’t expect any favors getting there (I’ve enviably eyed those ‘assist carts’ that go 30 mph). Dignity is all I have to offer and in self reliance, I’ve never let myself down. Get there graciously. Know your style in doing so will be enough karma to either make your flight or make up the consequences for missing your flight. But if I learned one thing as a New Yorker, it was this, NEVER get off a train that is moving in the direction you want to go. That express train might sound better than the local, but it could always go out of service. Whatever you choose, certainly don’t saunter within sight line of A70’s gate agents.

  • Robin says:

    I would run!

  • Adelina says:

    I would probably run as far as I could, then walk the rest of the way. Waiting while in motion makes time go faster. At least you are doing something. Whereas just waiting for the train makes time go slower and makes you feel like you’re doing nothing to help the situation. I rather be in control then to leave it up to the train.

  • Jørgen says:


    I’d start speed-walking, and trying to keep track of how fast I was advancing. As it has been said here, you can walk faster, but you can’t wait faster….

    If it turned out I was still running behind when the minutes started to tick down, I’d run the last few gates. I prefer making my flight and being the somewhat sweaty guy, than missing my flight.

    In my experience, when in a rush, you see what at the surface looks like quicker ways all around you. But in the end, only a handful of these actually are, you just tend to forget about the drawbacks when you’re looking to speed up.

  • Dave says:

    First thing I’d do is check my bag, if they take that bag then you just bought yourself at least an extra 10 minutes before they decide to offload your bags.

    After that take the train, either the train gets you there really quick (awesome) or it’s a slow train in which case jump off at the very next stop then hoof it. For extra points find a way to get a ride on one of the golf buggy’s they use.

    I’ve used combinations of all of the above during my travels & if you do miss it ah well, you now have time for a beer!

  • Eva says:

    Walk quickly, keeping an eye open for any airline personnel who might be able to let the departure gate personnel know I’m en route. Average walking speed is about 3mph – so 10 minutes worth of striding out will get you pretty far. Those 2 gates aren’t that far apart, and moreover airlines are reluctant to ‘really’ close gates if passengers are missing, because they have to go through the palaver of off-loading that person’s luggage. Also, if I were running that late (unlikely) I’d have given the airline personnel a heads-up at check-in.

  • Jasley McSaveney says:

    Start running…

  • Rui says:

    Walk for it is something I can do right way about it that will put me closer to where I wanna go.

  • William says:

    Gather the data:
    Is there a stated frequency of trains?
    Is there a transit time stated?
    Estimate worst case time – if you can’t then walk
    What is the distance from one gate to the next – i.e. how far away is A19 – worst case will be that A75 is 57times (unlikely) this distance/time
    Estimate worst case time

    Make your decision on the best worst case.

    Should take less than 60 seconds.

  • Kerry Murray says:

    Loved reading the comments. Chris, you have smart, savvy and some really funny readers. I love Maria Pere-Perez comment about the height of her heels determining her choice. 🙂

    My issue would be if I was traveling with my 6.5 year old son or not. With son, I would take the train. Without son, I would hoof it.

    On my way back to Cape Town from WDS last year, my son and I were traveling PHX-IAH-LHR-CPT The PHX flight was late AND they changed our gate so that we arrived in a different terminal at IAH then our departing LHR flight. A train would have been great. Instead, me and the freshly turned 6 year old ran as fast as possible to our gate. I had to walk that balance between spurring my son on and not stressing out all over him or scaring him with my urgency. We got to the gate, hot and sweaty but fairly in control, and the doors to the plane were closed. Fortunately, I was in some pretty serious flow from WDS, my son and I adopted our most helpless look, and the senior gate attendant took over from the newbie (who was denying us access and sending us off to customer service) and re-opened the door, walked us to the plane, where they re-opened the plane door for us!

  • John says:

    Always run!
    You should choose the option over which you have 100% control.

    I face the same problem regularly; I am often in central London for a night out, & need to get to Waterloo train station to get the last train home. I am faced with the choice of getting the tube to the train station (3 or 4 stops), or running.

    From experience I know it is usually a much better idea to run. If I rely on the tube, it will often be delayed / cancelled for no apparent reason / the tube drivers might be on strike / etc…

    Plus when you do make it you will feel like you’ve had a mini work-out, & will have a greater sense of achievement!

  • alua says:

    Would run. Not patient enough for waiting for the train! And I’m a good runner.

  • Rob Barrett says:

    Run Forest run! Start moving fast, keep your thumb out and try to hitch a lift on the way!

  • Rhodamac says:

    Oh, this senario has happened to me so many times – mostly when there is no train option though – so not quite the same. Hiking to the gate is the only option. funnily enough the only time i’ve ever been bumpfed off a flight for getting to the gate late was when I was flying home to the Hebrides (Scotland) and a number of things conspired against me – my flares which tangled in my legs as i ran/jogged to the gate and the fact that my ticket was booked under Lady MacDonald (i justed fancied picking one of the many titles available to BMI frequent fliers so I became a Lady) – didn’t me any favours and I was told when I got there that my bags had been taken off the flight – goodbye! haha, i laugh now…

  • Shaz says:

    Easy – the night before I’d have sussed out the airport layout and rough timings, and would have map on phone.
    On arrival at airport and check in, knowing I was late, I’d ask the staff to call ahead to say I was on my way and asked there the fastest way to go. Probably the train.
    I’d take the train, stay chilled, and having planned so well ahead, if the train should break down, then I’d look on that as ‘life’, so would see what ‘life’ had in store for me and not worry about missing the plane.
    Possibility A – plane would be delayed anyway, so it’s not an issue, B – plane goes without me but I meet people who change my life, C – I have to get another plane, which leads to another adventure!

    So, I plan ahead (thoroughly, so things just flow), and if ‘life’ changes my plans, just go with the new flow and see what happens! No point in stressing about things you can’t change 🙂

  • John says:

    First I’d like to say that I like the post of DAVID YAKOBOVITCH and vote for him.

    Here’s my answer:
    1. Find a wormhole, blackhole, and dark energy and build a time machine.
    2. Use the time machine to go back in time and get to the airport ahead of schedule.
    3. Get to your flight on time.
    4. Make sure you don’t run into yourself during the process as you’ll need to make sure your younger self is late for his flight and sufficiently frustrated so that he can be motivated to create this posting, from which he will get encouragement from me that he should build a time machine.
    5. Go back to 1885 to rescue Doc Brown and return him to his own timeline. (optional)

  • Michael Wilson says:

    My experience of public transport is that it can be both erratic and unreliable. The experience of my own two feet less so. I walk, I jog, I run but I get there and adjust my speed based on the distance I am from gate A70 and the time remaining.

  • Bret Shroyer says:

    Take the escalator to the train and look: if the train is there, or if the sign says it’s arriving in seconds, then take the train. Otherwise, turn and run.

  • Cat says:

    I always trust my feet, especially for a distance that can be travelled in 10 minutes or less.

  • Quintin says:

    Train. If I know approximately as much about my ability to run to the gate as I do about when the train will get me there, I’d take the less sweaty option. If the probability of success or failure is the same (equally unknown), then at least I can take comfort in keeping my poise. What’s worse than missing your plane? Being that sweaty guy who obviously just missed his plane.

  • Alex says:

    Will I be feeling lucky? That’s the question. Our decisions vary according to the state of mind we’re in at the time, and I believe that that’s the essence of being unconventional. There is no one answer for anything in life when you have decided to challenge the establishment. Are you in love? Then take the train. Your optimism will energize your brain and save precious seconds which are beneficial in a situation like this. As you’re running, you’re thinking: If I end up at 75, that’s only 4 over and that I’ll be able to run down to A70 in no time.

    Alternatively, will your mother-in-law soon be crashing at your place for the weekend? Has your boss decided to express a Julius Caesar complex? Did your partner adopt a baby pig, without telling you; and worse, has the pig made its into your closet and declared it its kingdom? Hoof it. It’ll be an outward expression of the unspeakable frustrations coming from the depths of your soul and if you miss that flight, you can buy yourself a good book and a latte at the airport cafe. During that specific moment in time, remind yourself that the coolest thing about traveling isn’t always getting to your destination, but accepting the journey.

  • Nelu says:

    I would hoof it down to A70 like when Usain Bolt has to go to the bathroom really bad. With the advent of rolly-wheeled suitcases and my dedication to taking a yoga class every 17-23 days, I am pretty sure I would make it as quickly as that train would. Also, if I wasn’t so fast, my loud vocal pleas to hold the plane would carry in the terminal, hopefully landing in the ears of someone who could help me. Like those staffers who drive the golf carts around or a kid with a hover board. There’s no more frustrating a feeling than not being in control of your mobility and even if the train was reliable, I’d still feel agitated as it stopped and waited for people to board, pressing my face to the window with silent agonizing desperation (come onnnnnn!). Until I learn how to master my stress (note to self: take yoga classes more frequently), that’s a situation I’d rather avoid. A better use of my energy would be to be in action, running like the whimsical world voyager I am. The lesson of course would be to let go of any negative thoughts in either situation and KNOW you’re going to make that flight. Intention is power.

  • Lisa says:

    Run! 99% of the time I choose the option I can control, especially in time-tight situations. I can’t control how long the train takes to arrive or how many stops or how long the journey is. But I can run my butt off and at least know that I did what I could to make it happen!

  • Muna Abdurrahman says:

    It’s simple, just ask for direction!
    No place in the world doesn’t have a few people to help when you need them.
    I think It’s easier to follow your intuition in cases like this one. And trust your thoughts because it’ll tell you the right thing to do in any stressful situation!
    So what would I do is to run as fast as I can and take a few seconds to ask anyone how to reach A70 gate!

  • Melissa says:

    I always walk over the train/tram. We did this in Disney for new years. Family insisted on waiting for the tram- three trams came before we even got on, and husband and I had been consistently beating or arriving at the same time as the tram we left behind.

    And, if I need to run, I’m a runner. I can do it.

  • Shteffi says:

    A year ago, I would have certainly run like a madwoman. These days, I would simply walk very quickly, maybe jog a bit, and if I saw one of those go cart trams try briefly to convince the driver to help me out. Either way, I would never take an intra-airport train with only 10 minutes to spare. I trust my own two legs more than a train.

    I was lucky enough to miss a flight for the first time in my local airport, which ended up being a good experience because it taught me that such a mistake was not the end of the world. Also, it made me miss Day One of my family reunion, so the requisite emotional turmoil lasted one less day 🙂

    I made so many similar mistakes during my backpacking tour of Europe this summer, nearly all of which ended up making my journey more fun and teaching me some valuable lessons.

    If I don’t make the flight, so be it. It’s not worth stressing over, and coming up with plan B will be an adventure! Some of the places I cherish most were seen only because I took the wrong train or made a reservation for the wrong day. Whether you have a good time or not depends largely on how you choose to view these situations… and I choose to enjoy life!

  • Mary K says:

    I always run. I’ve actually recreated the Heathrow Airport running scene from “Love Actually” with the exception of not actually jumping the security guards.

    And I did it without shoes on as I heard final boarding call being announced through the airport.

  • Ryan says:

    that’s an easy one: 1) set up your rolling bag so that it rides like a skateboard; 2) grab one of the passing passenger airline golf carts and grab hold of the back of it (a la marty mcfly).

  • Brent says:

    Google it while walking to your gate. A gentleman will walk but never run.

  • Oliver says:

    I would make a run for it. I rather try it and know I at least tried my best to get to my flight even if I miss it. I’ll just make the best of the situation. Seek out the opportunities that are there and just stay in the present.

  • Lauren says:

    Screw walking – I’d grab my bags and run! These sorts of situations are a great testimony to packing light (my husband and I now travel with one carry-on sized backpack each). It’s also a good reason to stay in shape; not only will all the walking and hiking involved in sightseeing be easier, but you can race the “express tram” to the correct gate Superman-style. If the directional signage is confusing, a quick inquiry to just about any worker will get you pointed in the right direction.

  • Leah McClellan says:

    Run. Run. Run. Even in ordinary situations I wouldn’t bother with a train, except maybe for the novelty of it or if I don’t feel well. A18 – A70 doesn’t sound like a long distance, anyway. Hop, skip, jump. I can’t imagine taking a train for that.

    And if I miss the flight? Oh well! I tried my best. As I did at CDG one time, go get a beer and figure out what to do next 🙂

  • Joanie says:

    I would pretend a sprained ankle and hopefully airport staff would be alerted and explain my flight problem and get a delay or a ride. LOL

  • Jennifer says:

    Say screw it, hope for a later flight and find a place to sit, get something to eat and relax.

  • Paul Atfield says:

    Get to the nearest desk and tell them you are Richard Bransons PA, he is on the flight under a different name, is on his way and it would be a real disaster if he missed this connecting flight, especially as he is thinking about a possible merger which could be worth big bonuses for all the staff………….so ask if they can delay until he gets there, give them your name and then run like hell through the terminal.

  • Prairie Dawn says:

    I look at the time, give it the old college try, and if I’m late, I change the flight, catch a cab and go sight-seeing for another day. Never question fate. If I were meant to be in that flight, I would have been. (Coincidentally, though…. this is why I drive or rail it everywhere. I hate feeling like a sardine.) So, how’s about that $50… I can use another tank of gas. 😉

  • Juan says:

    Nothing but a swift run will do. I know that I can make it running as for the train…. you just don’t know. I have had to do this in Houston and in Madrid Barajas airport. I made it both times with a little bit of time to spare. I usually carry a backpack and always wear running shoes when I travel since I like to go running in new cities. I enjoy the exercise and I like to see the city from a different perspective. Run Forrest, Run!!!!

  • valerie says:

    i am of the mindset that when two options suck, there is a third and better option waiting around the corner. in this case, i would ask an airport employee what they thought. people who work there will know much better than i if the train runs on time. this worked for me when i accidentally took a bus from nyc to philly instead of to boston, arrived at midnight having no idea where i was. two questions to the bus driver and to a helpful amtrak employee and i was, in the space of five minutes, on the last train out to boston. i made it in just in time to go straight to work the next morning. its amazing how people help once i learned how to ask.

  • djstarr says:

    I´d haul butt like O.J. Simpson, leaping over trash cans and small children and “power walk” myself to the gate. That, or I´d feign pregnancy and commandeer one of the disabled shuttle cart drivers to get me there! Shameless!

  • Elaine says:

    It doesn’t matter whether I choose to run or take the train. What matters is, I know that whatever outcome the decision I made produced, I can accept that it is meant to be.

    By having that thought activated in my mind, I let my body decide whether to run or to take the train, in other words, go with the flow accordingly. I would let go of control (of wanting to board the flight) and see what the future enfolds and turn this uneventful airport time into a meaningful life lessons for me to contemplate later.

    Who knows, I may be able to board the plane in time and lived happily ever after. Or.. I may have missed the flight, and bumped into someone special who would play a very important role in my life due to the extra time I have in the airport. Or.. I would learn a wonderful lesson in time management, and I may also learn something about budgeting for emergency funds for times like this, which I never master.

    Life is a box of chocolates!

  • Joy says:

    I had this happen once in ATL. I took the tram..and it broke down one minute into the ride. I missed the flight and had to leave the next day. I’ve learned through airport confusion that strangers can be a very good resource. I’ve been late to a flight that was boarding to Madrid, I had no clue where my gate was. Luckily a guy on my connecting flight knew and ran through the airport with me to show me the fastest way there. If this happened again I would find the friendliest looking traveler and make a run for it. Since my my tram incident I always ask people when I need help. Just like driving – ask for directions! It will save you time, frustration, and you may also make some new friends.

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