User Stories

Sprinting through the Airport in the KSO Vibram Five Fingers

I nearly miss a flight but thanks to being able to sprint through airport security in my Vibram Five Fingers with our huge suitcase in tow, we make it to the gate in time for our departure!

We should know have known better. Memorial Day weekend is just about to begin, and if you have ever flown anywhere on this holiday, which we have on numerous occasions, the airports get a bit overwhelmed and things start going a little haywire.

So it went that we arrived at the Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson airport exactly (only!) an hour before our 4:15pm flight to DTW. We were immediately taken aback by lines at all kiosks, people everywhere, and just general airport chaos. We immediately marched back outside to the skycap check-in, which had no wait.

Only one problem. Our “Northwest” flight wasn’t showing up in their system. At this point, we were directed inside to the “Northwest Check-in,” or so we thought. It seems that there is an exceedingly complex relationship between what qualifies as a NWA flight and just a NWA-marketed flight. Furthermore, only official NWA flights can use the “Northwest Check-in.” Too bad you can’t determine if your NWA-booked tickets are officially NWA or not until you’ve waited in line and speak to an agent.

At this point, we try the kiosks. Yep, they tell us to seek out an agent, too. It’s now about 3:20 and we are tasked with standing in a snaking line that appears to be going nowhere fast.

I know, I know. You’ve all been there, right? Did I mention my wife is 29 weeks pregnant?

About ten minutes later a Delta employee (whose job title must be “Line Supervisor”) appeared. I informed her that our flight was supposed to leave in 45 minutes. I’m not sure I got the joke, but she muttered something, smirked, and then walked away.

The airport fire alarm starts going off at this point, and no one cared.

3:45 pm. After what feels like an eternity, we finally get to the agent. He tells us we are too late to check our 42 lb. suitcase (Numerous wedding outfits for all the weekend’s events: this is an Indian wedding) and that we will have to take it through security and check it at the gate.

Seeing the task before us, I grab the boarding passes, the huge suitcase, and my 20 lb. duffel. Preggers (yes she lets me call her that) grabs her rolling carry-on and we take off for security, fully expecting to lose all of our liquid and gel-based toiletries, accepting our fates whatever they may be.

In the interest of science, TSA experimentation, and time, I again chose to leave on my fivefinger KSOs. Furthermore, we left the toiletries bag in stow in the large suitcase and just rolled the dice.

And we made it through no questions asked.

Atlanta’s airport terminals are all connected by a subway. On the train, no fewer than three fellow passengers quizzed me about my “socks.” We were at the first terminal (A lucky break), and as soon as the subway doors slid open, I grabbed that forty pound suitcase and my duffel bag and took off.

I actually managed what I would consider a “run” up the extra-long escalator to the terminal. An adrenaline surge later I’m racing through the terminal and see our gate in the distance — but no people around it. Am I too late?

Relief. I made it. Bent over and panting as I greet the agent at the gate, she checks my bag (For free! I guess you don’t get charged for the bag when you lug it all the way to the gate!), a minute later my wife shows up, and we board the plane.

I’m guessing I’m presently around twenty or thirty thousand feet up in the air (I splurged on the airplane wifi), and we’re already making our initial descent.

A common joke in the paleo, primal, evolutionary fitness community is that you should “run like your life depends on it” or to “imagine a lion is chasing you.”

Well, in our modern day, it’s a rare time where we have to bust out an all out, spur-of-the-moment, adrenaline-pumped sprint, but I’m happy to say that when that time came today, I was ready. And whether or not my fivefingers saved me any time or made me any faster or more agile, it’s hard to say. What I do know is that my VFFs were a seamless part of my farmer-carry-style airport sprint, and that’s all that matters.

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

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