For me, the most perfect airport breakup was the memorable departure scene in the film Casablanca, between Humphrey Bogart as Rick, the cynical owner of Rick’s Bar and his former lover, Ingrid Bergman, as Ilsa, the conflicted wife of Victor Laszlo, a notorious freedom fighter on the run from the Nazis in World War II.
This break up was unexpected, classy, heartfelt and totally believable. As Bogie in a few deft lines, expressed his love for Ilsa, but also persuasively explained why she must get on that plane without him. And never see him again.
Essential elements of an airport break-up.
1. It is a natural break
Your lover, soon to be your former partner, is about to board a plane, returning to their home, university or is going on a social or business trip. It is a natural break in the relationship. Also one of the best times to drop the break up bomb. Because:
2. It is public
Usually the airport is filled with hundreds of people of all sizes, ages and shapes. In such a public space, it is unlikely that your lover/friend will have a large and screaming meltdown in front of hundreds of strangers.
Dating Expert, Bonny Albo has written that like in real estate, one of the key elements of a successful break-up is location, location and location. And that “most of About.com’s Guide to Dating readers” also share this view that airports provide a superior break up venue.
At least your soon to be ex-lover or ex significant other, will think twice or three times before making a scene. And if there is a big scene, there are all kinds of security to protect oneself, in case things threaten to get physical.
3. It is time sensitive
You have been thinking how to broach the subject of breaking off this relationship for a quite awhile now. You gingerly introduce the subject on the ride to the airport.
You arrive at the airport. The plane is to leave in about 90 minutes.
Between the long check-in line and then clearing security, there is not much time for long farewells. That is the time to break off the relationship. No time for second thoughts-long heart- to-heart discussions- recriminations or reconcilation. Other important and practical matters intercede in order that your lover/friend not miss the flight. They occupy the person’s mind, and provide you with a quick exit and clean exit.
4. It is swift and clean
My father, a surgeon, always used to advise that when making your first incision, it should be quick, clean and decisive.
As in relationship break-ups, the first cut should be best the best cut. No dilly dallying around. Break off- quickly, decisively and cleanly.
5. It is final
When leaving the airport, never, ever, look back. The break is supposed to be final. It is final. No tears or regrets. Airplane departure is all about travel, moving on, new beginnings. And hope.
This is the perfect time and perfect place to move on and start afresh.
In Casablanca, one door closed on Rick, with the final departure of Ilsa, but another door opened, as Bogie (Rick) and Claude Rains (local Captain Louis Renault) walk off into the distance together, as best of friends, “Louis, this could become the start of a beautiful relationship.”
An airport break up could be viewed somewhat counter-intuitively, as a positive experience.
If you are the one who has been left at the departure gate- instead of crying in one’s beer, look around at the people in the departure gate or in the airplane itself. You may find your soul mate in the craziest of places. And a new beginning to a beautiful friendship.