It is hard to believe that there was once a time when an airport was just a place to wait for your plane. Nowadays airports are as much about the food and shopping as they try to attract customers to fly through their locations. Some airports are even trying to become destinations for people who aren’t even traveling. The Frankfurt airport, for example, has a full shopping mall inside where people from the surrounding area can come to find the latest in fashion, electronics, and other items, claiming to be at discounted prices.
Not only do you have full service restaurants in airports these days, but you will have choices to choose from that include upscale to fast food. Don’t be surprised if you see a famous chef or celebrity’s name on the restaurant sign as they are cashing in on the captive audience and business travelers with corporate expense accounts. It seems as though almost every airport that we fly through these days is in the process of upgrading and adding even more shops and restaurants. Have an extra hour to kill, why not buy some couture clothing from a top designer?
In fact, if an airport doesn’t have all of these amenities, it feels as though you’ve stepped back into the dark ages. It doesn’t happen too often, but when we get to an airport ahead of a flight and can’t find more than a single choice to get a bite to eat, we are immediately frustrated. Yes, we’ve become spoiled by convenience and options that most airports offer these days. Living in Colorado, we fly out of DIA (Denver International Airport) frequently and we look forward to going to one of our favorite restaurants prior to most of our trips. Yes, one of our favorite restaurants is actually in an airport. It will be interesting to see how far airports take this trend or if at some point they will reduce the amount of goods and services that are offered. Who knew that people would look forward to being at the airport as much as they look forward to their destination.
We have been on work trips three out of the last four weeks, which is the complete opposite of traveling for pleasure. We have almost spent more time sitting in airports than we have in our own home, which is definitely not fun. Every airport is different in some ways and yet every airport is the same in many ways as well, especially in the United States. There can be a certain sense of comfort when you are in an airport, but there can also be a certain sense of apprehension as well. They can be euphoric as you anticipate the start of an adventure or they can just feel like a maze of confusion that needs to be navigated.
At times, airports can provide a sense of excitement and energetic motion as people scurry to get to their gates either embarking on a trip of a lifetime or just trying to make their way home. Unfortunately, we find that people suddenly lose all sense of their surroundings when they are in airports and they aimlessly wander in front of other people, suddenly stop in front of you, or make erratic changes in direction. We certainly understand that for people that don’t travel often, airports can be overwhelming and confusing, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t suddenly become oblivious to their surroundings. Late at night, though, airports can become rather eerie when the hustle and bustle is replaced with a graveyard-like silence. No longer are the overhead speakers constantly announcing planes being boarding, gate changes, or reminding you not to leave your bags unattended and your own footsteps echo through the empty hallways.
Obviously, if you have time, airports can be a great place to people watch as there is such a wide variety of people that make their way through these transportation hubs. You can see people from all cultures, ages, lifestyles, and personalities, all linked in a common pursuit, to make it to their destination. It is also the one place where you can see people sitting at a bar first thing in the morning and no one seems to judge them as they gather liquid courage before their flight. You can definitely see the anxiety on the faces of the people making their way to their gates. Will they miss their flight, will the flight be on time, will they get their carry-on bag onto the plane, who will they sit next to, will their be screaming children on the plane, etc. The last few weeks have given us all of these experiences and at the moment, we are hoping not to go to an airport until our next personal trip, which is in three weeks and is to Cairo, Egypt. Do you have a love/hate relationship with airports like we do?
Have you ever had a flight delayed or cancelled and had to go to the airline desk to see about getting on another flight? People can be so rude and angry with the staff at the desk who had nothing to do with what caused the issues with the flight. We see it almost every time we travel, someone is berating a poor attendant instead of treating them with respect and kindness. As if somehow, if they yell loud enough, their circumstances will suddenly change. We always try to be understanding and not take out frustrations on the employees or each other. It doesn’t mean that it is always easy, emotions can get the better of you, but you will be far happier and the people around you will be much happier if you keep your emotions in check. There have been more than a few times when there have been issues with our flight or hotel room and we have had to ask for assistance to get things fixed. On several of those occasions we have not only had our issue resolved, but they have even upgraded our seats or room. Granted, both us as well as the person helping us were pleasant with one another, so clearly it needs to be a two-way street. This week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is about Kind and Caring, so here are a few photos to help put you in a calmer mood for the next time you have to deal with an unfortunate situation. 🙂