For some, airports are just an oversized waiting room where impatient travellers, tired parents and crying children are stuck sitting on rows and rows of uncomfortable seats. 

But for others — a very special few — the hustle and bustle of travellers paired with the inaudible murmur of the public address system — probably paging a guest spending a little too much time at the airport bar — evokes feelings of excited anticipation. 

For the airport aficionados like me there’s something magical about the wide, window-filled halls of the Calgary International Airport, YYC. Could it be its clean and reflective marble floors? Maybe the towering, modern pillars and ceilings? The super-sized boards used to track local departures and arrivals? Or is it the sense of adventure and the excitement of exploring a new or forever-cherished land? 

Each time I step through the motion sensored doors of Calgary’s airport, I feel a flutter in my heart and a tingle in my toes. The instant warmth that touches your skin upon entrance is almost radiating, like the travel hub is a snug embrace from a welcoming friend. While most airports remind me of adventure, none can replicate the inviting atmosphere I’m surrounded by when I visit YYC.

As I crane my head upwards, peering at the rotating lists of locations, gates and times, I imagine myself at each destination listed. 

So many flights, so many gates, so many potential tales to write. 

It’s easy to get stuck daydreaming about all the far-away destinations you can explore when starring up at departure screens in an airport. PHOTO: Matt DeMille

In October 2016, the Calgary International Airport added to its long-standing arsenal of aircraft gates and airport amenities as the site went through a $2.6 billion expansion that included a new terminal and matching runway.  

The additional two million square feet of airport real estate made way for 24 new gates solely meant for international travel — lucky me. The possibility of more frequent and farther travel opportunities was almost overwhelming.

Even from the exterior, YYC’s gates D and E are still as inviting and inciting as ever. PHOTO: Matt DeMille

The 2016 expansion also made the airport the third-busiest Canadian airport in 2020, with traffic exceeding five-million passengers. Following the $2.6 billion development and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport also saw an increased number of visitors on a year-by-year basis.

Now boasting an impressive 36 Canadian destinations, a rotating list of 29 American locations and 25 non-stop international routes, the limit to where Calgarians can’t explore has been minimized drastically.

So, I urge you, next time you’re waiting to catch a flight — impatiently, albeit — take a breath, look around and let your imagination run rampant. 

The beach, the countryside, the cityscape. 

There’s no limit to what you can see and no limit to where you can explore. It’s up to you to walk out of that mundane waiting room and into our big, vibrant world.

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Matt DeMille is an aspiring sports journalist entering his fourth year in Mount Royal University’s communication program. He is also the sports editor at The Reflector.