Friday, March 11, 2011

Moving into the Future

I've been spending a lot of time at the airport lately, mostly picking people up and, when you do that these days, you frequently end up having a lot of time to think about the sorry state that airports have fallen into.
You know what I'm talking about, right? There are all these hastily built walls that look like they were put up over night; signs that still point you toward places you haven't been able to get to in a decade; increasingly complicated security mazes to navigate; and shops and restaurants that are all--for the most part--on the far side of said mazes and, therefore, off limits to anyone not actually traveling. 
For those of us who are waiting for our travelers to return, there are not always a lot of amenities. with which to amuse yourself while you're waiting. If you're really unlucky--if, for example, your loved one had the incredibly poor judgment to arrive at SFO's Terminal 3 (AKA the gates of hell)--you have virtually NO amenities. There's nothing to do but sit and wait (and not much of a place to do that either, btw) and wish that there was somewhere you could go to buy a book...or a newspaper...or some gum; or that one of the two restaurants (and I use that word very loosely) that are there would actually be open, or not out of food, or vaguely interesting.
Sorry, Peets, I love you dearly and coffee is a lot of things to me, but it's not dinner, okay? Not all by itself. Not even with a package of cookies. Anyway, to get back to my point...
There's a very impermanent vibe to airports these days, an air of making-do in an emergency. And I realized recently that it's lulled me into making the assumption that all the inconvenience was temporary, that someday  the emergency would be over and things would go back to something approaching normal. Now I find myself wondering whether the airports haven't been making the same mistake.
That must be the case, right? Because, as bad as things are, there's still no sense that they're making plans to improve the situation. And they'd do that, wouldn't they? If they cared at all about their passengers' comfort?

Or is that too naive?
I'm as sentimental and nostalgic as the next person, but sometimes you just have to accept that what's gone is gone, put the past behind you and move on. I sure wish the airports would get that message soon .'Cause this holding pattern they're stuck in is the pits.


Meg Benjamin said...

We're lucky here in the Rocky Mountain Empire--DIA still has a "great hall" as you come in that's full of seating for people waiting. They were able to set up the two security gates at either end so that they're more or less out of sight. But yeah, lots of airports out there are about as welcoming as hospital wards (which they sort of resemble).

Kelly Jamieson said...

Our city is about to open a new airport terminal! It's very exciting. I thought I was going to by flying out of it to go to RT but constructions delays have pushed back the opening a bit. I hope it's much nicer than what you describe PG!