Last week I flew coast to coast, from Oakland to New York, with a brief stop in Dallas and back home again. Yes, lots of flights in a few day period.

What amazed me is the amount of time I spent just hanging around at airports. I chalked up about 12 hours of my life last week in wait mode. That’s a long time – like almost a full waking day.

Sure, I do it to myself a little bit – anyone who’s ever missed a flight probably errs on the side of caution by showing up a little earlier. And I’m not one to add stress to my life by cutting it close in the first place. But, seriously, I think the reliability of flights has gone way down. I’m now shocked if a flight actually takes off on time, and I don’t mean the leave-the-gate-but-sit-on-the-tarmac type of airline “on time.”

So we wait.

And we…

look at strange sculptures like this castle at the new international terminal in DFW.

get some shut-eye, like this business traveler in Newark (top right)561168875_bb5a485998.jpg.

grab a beer, like Jason and me at Newark.

people watch, except in the wee morning hours at Oakland. Nobody’s home…
(click on the pic and check out the “Laptop Lane” – yes, you can rent a private laptop station in the airport to conduct business… while you wait of course)

try and locate missing bags (that never come), like at Newark baggage claim.

arrange transpo to NYC at 3am, like with our guy Smiley, my new favorite New Jersey limo.

All the while breaking out the work laptop, firing up the iTunes, thumbing on the blackberry and checking voicemail. One thing’s for certain: work doesn’t wait.