Frequent and recent travel brought up opinions in reference to various airports. There is a reason to believe some may change for the better if it has been decades since you’ve landed there. Constant travel, especially connected with your occupation, convey preference for ease of exiting the joint and layover conveniences. Globe trotters and the family group of vacation awe gawkers are busy with the entire airport experience by stopping in front of you when you’re imitating an OJ Simpson maneuver to catch a flight.
Way back in the college days, my friends and I would spend spring break in New York City. One reason was the drinking laws allowed 18 year old naive fools the ability to make asses of themselves. The Greater Pittsburgh International Airport seemed huge and intimidating to those of us who rarely or never had flown before. It had been entertainment to make a day trip to the airport to watch a plane take off or land. This airport became a hub of comfort and familiarity as we all became frequent fliers. Then all hell broke loose in 1992 when the shiny and bright new complex was opened at PIT. People are still moaning for the “old” airport. No one likes taking a tram or train from terminal to baggage. We liked walking up and down the steps, dragging our Samsonites to the back door to be picked up curbside.
Those spring break trips landed at LaGuardia Airport. It was as if you were landing in a black and white photo from the graphic artist’s point of view. In fact, it was reminiscent of the brochures female high school graduates received in the 70’s touting the glamorous life of becoming a “stewardess”. I did a layover at LaGuardia Airport the other day and was astounded at the revamp made to the gate areas. It looked like something out of George Jetson’s world. Every table seat had an IPad available. Crisp and swift wait people were serving food and the environment exuded the high end oyster bar or cafe’ titillation. Sure beats the days at Houston Hobby Airport, laying my sleeping toddlers on a blanket on the filthy floor and trying desperately to hold my breath in the restroom.
We used to gauge airports by the availability to get to a smoking area between flights or the ability to make a quick cab getaway to an outside eatery or bar. It is now a day trip to exit an airport in a timely fashion. Smoking is out of vogue and standing in a plexiglass room, filled with smoke is not conducive to smell like an ashtray at your 2:00 pm business meeting. It isn’t proper business etiquette to drink a beer at 7:45 am in the airport bar because you could smoke, if you purchased an alcoholic beverage!
Airport security is a touchy subject. It may look like you slept in your clothes when appearing at a meeting because the TSA tossed every item in your meticulously packed bag. I am always “randomly” selected to have every item I am carrying, carefully examined by security, especially when I am traveling with one of my kids. I was asked for my 9 year old niece’s identification, multiple times, when checking our bags curbside at Dulles International Airport. She wasn’t even big for her age and was carrying a Hello Kitty backpack. Maybe the checker didn’t understand the words, “She’s 9 years old!”. Co-workers intimately get to know you when a TSA associate is taking everything out of your bag and your dirty gutchies are out on the table.
Flying is an improvement when comparing it to a ship or Greyhound. Trains aren’t bad if the plan is to view the countryside. Local trips are still more efficient by car if the destination is within a 4 to 6 hour window. It saves time and you have a vehicle when you get there. Driving does insure that I’m not going to be wedged between 2 individuals with their elbows in my breasts, their dog breath blowing in my face and the window seat passenger’s incessant need to urinate every 12 minutes!