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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take back the airports! 

Given your recent airline experience, Dawg, you'll love this -- Ken Levine writes an Open letter to airlines: we hate you
Major airlines spend billion of dollars annually on splashy ad campaigns trying to get our business. . . And no one’s buying it. In fact, we all hate you. Traveling is now an ordeal and you’re a big part of it. Security lines are a pain but that’s fifteen minutes. The rest of the six hour wisdom tooth extraction is all you.
Levine suggests some solutions -- like talking to customers, telling them the truth, radical stuff like that.
But I think there's more that could be done.
The first thing that air passengers have to do is take back the airports.
Airports have become their own little world, one that may as well have a sign pasted above the door --"abandon hope all ye who enter here". Airport managers have tried to buy us off by turning the airport hallways into shopping malls, but those are just a fancy sauce covering up a tasteless chop -- to the airport management, we're really just pieces of meat, and all they really want us to do is shut up and stand in line.
Long, uncomfortable, unfriendly, slow-moving lines, with no place to hang your coat or prop your bags or amuse your children.
And whenever we aren't standing in line, when we do get the chance to sit down, all the airports offer us are identical rows of goddawful bench-style pre-formed chairs -- impossible to relax in, lie down across, play bridge or board games, read comfortably, have a conversation with people beside or across from you, with no place to plug in your laptop or hang your coat or put your cup of coffee or park your carry-on bag.
Those seating areas seem to be purposefully designed by people who hate people. If their goal is to make airport customers feel irrelevant and burdensome and uncomfortable, its a message clearly received by the airline staff.
Did anyone running an airport ever think about how to make waiting into a less aggravating, more comfortable experience?
How about some signs -- "from this point, you will likely wait about 10 minutes"'
How about some small lightweight wheeled carts, available as we arrive at the airport, where we could keep our stuff until we get onto the plane?
How about waiting areas with normal furniture, like some arm chairs and some tables with chairs and some couches and some benches, so we could have a choice about what we sit in and how we arrange it?
How about some vendors moving around, selling drinks and snacks and newspapers to the people waiting, so we didn't have to pack everything up and carry it half a mile just to get a Coke.
Oh, dream on...

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