Friday, December 22, 2006


Step back with me in time for a little while, not that many years ago. Do you remember how airports used to be? Remember the fun days of seeing someone off at the gate and watching them walk out of sight? Remember how sometimes you would stand there and wait to see if you can see them in one of the windows of the airplane? I remember doing that many, many times and I remember my heart aching when family member, a friend or girlfriend would be the one getting on that plane and I hated to see them go or wanted to go with them.

I remember going with friends out to the airport just to have dinner and than walk around the concourses watching people come and go. We used to wonder why one person would be leaving and the other staying behind or we would wonder where someone had been and how long they had been gone when we would see someone so excited to see them and occasionally have a sign saying welcome home. It was always fun to see.

We would sometimes drive our cars out to observation areas where we would sit near the runways and watch the planes come and go. There was one spot where you could sit at the end of a runway and the planes would go up and over you. It was always fun to watch something that big and just looks like it shouldn't fly go right over you with a roar.

Those days seem like they were decades ago and yet they feel like they were just a couple of years ago. I miss them and wish we could go back to those days. I'm not sure they were days of innocence for us all but I sure prefer to the way it is in the airports now. Please understand that I still love to travel and love to walk into the airport knowing that I am going somewhere for a great time or to work or whatever because as long as I'm getting on a plane...that is all that matters.

We have so much more craziness today to deal with and it makes people upset, nervous, tense and all sorts of feelings. That is why in airports around the world we are beginning to see things and businesses created to help deal with that. All airports are different but some now have sleeping pods where you can go for a nap when you have a long layover. Your legs will be outside of the pod but your upper body is in it and it keeps it nice and quiet and allows you to sleep without hearing all the noise that is really going on around you. I have read about airports in parts of Asia that are putting in pools, spas and places that I don't know if I could truly relax in because every little bit I would wanna know that status of my flight. Wait, maybe I wouldn't because I might want to just make that my destination.

So as things continue to pop-up to cater to our stressed out lives and to help us enjoy our times in the airports I am grateful but I think I would really just as soon go back to the days gone by and not have the travel stress we do now.

I know that the airlines don't help with the stress levels though because they don't keep a staff like they used to and we have to do self check-in and than we are fortunate enough to talk to someone and get our bags checked. I know keeping track of all the luggage that is checked in with them on a daily basis is a huge issue but if FedEx and UPS can track packages like they do than why can't the airlines? I have been very fortunate over my years of traveling that I have only had issues with my bag being lost or misdirected a couple of times but I still see how often it happens all the time.

While at work the other day I had a lady tell me about how she was hoping to get out a little early and asked if there was a chance she could switch to an earlier flight. They told her seats were available on a different flight but that it would cost an additional $600. She said there was no way she could pay that much of a difference and and she asked again if there were any unsold seats on the earlier flight. They told her again that there were seats available and that for an additional $600 she could be on that flight instead. Since it was a direct flight to Nashville and that was her destination she asked why she had to pay that much to get on an earlier flight and they told her that was just what they had to do. She ask them if they would rather let that plane fly out with empty seats before letting her on without the additional cost and they said yes, they would have to do that. I was stunned myself to hear this but in due respect to the airlines, I wasn't there but I hear horror stories about the airlines all the time as I talk to guests in our hotel.

I just long to be able to travel for a reasonable rate, know my luggage will arrive with me and keep there in a timely manner. If that doesn't happen, well than where can I find a massage therapist or a sleeping pod in the airport?

1 comment:

Lynnster said...

This really struck a chord with me. I have quite frequently been the one meeting whoever at the airport, and it used to be so much nicer when you could wait at the gate. I also had a friend who was frequently stopping in Memphis on cross country and transatlantic flights, and some of our friends and I would meet him inside the airport for Corky's BBQ. Can't do that now, since the Corky's (and most of the places one would want to eat) at the Memphis airport are past the security clearance sections. Nowadays, if I'm taking someone there and we have time to have lunch or dinner before the flight, we usually go elsewhere before getting to the airport.

My parents and I used to frequently go to various airport's restaurants just for lunch or dinner back in the old days as well.

Sad that it has all come to what it has. I know it's a necessity these days, but sad all the same.