A few weeks ago my parents and my brother came to spend a week with us. That was one of the reasons for my lengthy absence from my blog, but that’s not the point of today’s post. What I would like to do today is share thoughts and feelings about my favorite place in airports: the arrival zones. In certain previous posts I’ve mentioned how I love flying, but have come to really dislike a lot of aspects of travelling because of increased security measures and lack of comfort on airplanes. What I didn’t mention, however, was that the one thing that has not changed in the travelling experience is the arrival areas and my love for them.

If I were to go through my experiences at arrivals, I would have to admit that not all of them were happy and easy. When we had just moved and we’re arriving in a totally foreign place, with no-one familiar to greet us and only unknowns on the horizon, it’s a terrifying and sad place to be. But those aren’t the memories that stick and come to mind when I think of the airport arrival zones. The first memories that come to mind are the times we flew to Montreal when we were kids – we never knew exactly who would be meeting us, but we knew we’d be greeted by several familiar and loving faces! Then I had so many memories of picking up loved ones: our cousins who came to visit us no matter where we lived, our grandparents and later my grandma who always came to see us all around the world. Waiting for them outside the arrivals doors was always a moment of joy and excitement. Running up to greet them with hugs and kisses, knowing more great memories will be made in the days to come was wonderful. When we were kids, we loved picking our dad up when he was coming home from business trips – the joy of seeing him walk through those doors after being gone for several days was immense. Once I was older, the arrival zones brought a different joy and a different side of things: they brought me and the man I love together many times through years of long distance. Even more recently, the arrivals area reserved new emotions and experiences – us picking up my family from the airport when they come to visit us. Waiting behind the railing for them and the excitement of seeing them walk out the doors was simply wonderful.

How could the arrivals zone not be a favorite? It’s the first place you get to hug and kiss the people you love after a period of separation.

I love watching people at the arrival zones – families, friends, lovers reunited. It’s a place filled with true, honest love that’s infinitely beautiful to behold. The smiles, the hugs, the kisses, the laughter that fills the air are heart-warming and are some of the loveliest sights I’ve ever seen. For any of you who have seen “Love Actually”, I absolutely adore the scenes at the arrivals zone and I wholeheartedly agree with the line “love actually is all around”.

If you need proof of that, go sit outside the arrivals area.


15 thoughts on “Arrivals

    1. 😀 That’s funny, but I’m not really surprised! 🙂 I’m happy you commented, you should do that more often (but only if you have something nice to say 😉 )


  1. You’re absolutely right about this … when I was about 20 my friend Carla and I would go out to the Seattle airport and sit and watch the planes come in. She’d make up stories about the people who were meeting there – the old friends, lost loves, husbands returning home to wives and children. I remember one man waiting there holding a red rose, and Carla had tears in her eyes just watching! Thanks for bringing back this memory, the “arrivals” area really is a wonderful place and even more so when there is a familiar face there to greet you!


    1. How I loved reading your comment, Paige! It’s such a lovely memory and I could picture the scene so vividly. We also love to think of the stories behind all the people meeting there – wondering if they’re family, lovers, how long it must have been since they last saw each other…I just love seeing the shining happiness on people’s faces when they embrace someone special after a time of absence. Thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment!


  2. Oh Dounia, that post really echoed with me! And what a lovely post by pnicholl (I like to imagine stories about passengers too). I actually love everything about airports, even the long and tedious security measures and unfriendly, scary border control officers. There’s such a thrill, a buzz of excitement in the airport! I remember the first time I flew back to Frankfurt after three years in Ecuador: a drizzly, wind-swept day, the sight of the little shuttles busily pottering back and forth with their loads of luggage, food trays and passengers almost dissolved me to tears! And while I agree that the arrival zone is wonderful, i find the departure gates even more of a sight: all the destinations listed and gradually flickering off the screens as the planes lift off, taking people to far-flung mysterious places, sounds of dismay as delays and cancellations appear on said screens… and I feel really moved at seeing people saying goodbye: loving couples embracing one last time, drying tears and walking off bravely before turning around for a last sad wave, little kids sauntering off excitedly not even realizing how sad their families are to see them go- it’s such a microcosm of human civilization. Indeed a great place to people watch! Thanks for giving me a great pretext to remember this!


    1. You’re so right that there is a certain thrill and buzz of excitement at the airport! And it’s wonderful to ‘people-watch’ anywhere in the airport, because there is so much to see. Seeing people at departures is heart-wrenching at times, and I’ve felt those same emotions so many times, which is why I love the happiness and excitement at the arrivals…but the emotions at departures tug at the heart and are beautiful to watch in a different way.

      Thanks for your comment, as always! I always look forward to comments from you! I’m happy I could bring back some good memories and give you a pretext to remember them! 🙂


      1. Always a treat to read your work, Dounia! thanks so much for maintaining this- i can’t imagine the effort that must represent, and you have to be so self-disciplined (a trait i admire enormosuly as i totally lack it- I’m supposed to be grading lab reports right now, not looking at blogs!).


  3. Some arrival zones are better than others. But I agree, it is always nice to see a familiar face waiting for you or come out of the gate. I think airports really were nicer places 15 years ago. Now they are more like bus stations.


    1. I definitely agree that some arrival zones are better than others! Are there any specific ones that you liked more, or just in general? And I do think the whole travel experience was nicer than it is now…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


      1. I was thinking more of the ones I didn’t like. For example Lagos Nigeria was pretty awful. One airport I always liked and still do is Schipol in the Netherlands.


        1. I was only in Schipol once, quite some years ago, on a stopover…I don’t remember very much, but I remember that I liked it, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it! And I’ve never been to Lagos, or anywhere in Africa actually – that’s one continent I have yet to visit…


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