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Proving Once Again USA Today is Just Colorful TP June 10, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in In the News/Blogosphere, Somebody Else's Stuff, Transportation.
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I ran across this one while perusing Fark:

Readers’ picks: Best airport restaurants, shops and services

I was all about looking for additional armament for my quiver of super secret road warrior weapons.  Heck, I travel a LOT but am always learning.  So what erudite wisdom pours forth from the scribe but this steaming pile of epic fail:

“In years past, an airport was just a place to travel through,” says George Geary of Corona, Calif., who was in airports more than 125 days last year. “But the past five years, they’ve become more of a destination, a place you do not mind spending time in.”

Geary, a culinary teacher and cookbook writer, says he looks forward to visiting Denver International and sometimes leaves time to get a massage there before a connecting flight.

“There is nothing like a quick chair massage and oxygen before or after a flight,” says Lauren Fix, an automotive analyst in Clarence, N.Y., who’s a fan of OraOxygen at Detroit’s airport. “Sometimes things get stressful on the road, and this is a great way to de-stress and clear your brain.”

You’ll want to retrieve your gall bladder from the corner.  That’s where it landed when you laughed so hard it shot out.  There are more anecdotes like George’s; all of them from a fairy tale place where magical candy cane seats come standard in coach.

Let’s compare that profile, shall we, to the road warriors with whom I comport myself every week:

  1. If it’s your first flight of the day it’s probably 0600 and you’ve arrived with just enough time to spare to pound the Blackberry/PDA for 15 minutes before your flight.  There are 125 people just like you, all positioned strategically to bolt for the gate.  You have 15 minutes to spare because your platinum status bought you precious minutes through security.  Otherwise, you’ve missed the flight.  Skip to stage 2…
  2. If you have a layover of any significant duration (or missed your flight), your mission is to find the nearest unguarded 120VAC socket and plug in, synchronize mail, recharge the cell phone and work the laptop.  Your mission is guided by pockets of other serious road warriors clustered around these majick outlets of glory.  You hold conference calls while standing or squatting and tethered to the plug.  You look oddly like a throwback to 1979, pre-cell phone days.
  3. Assuming you have miraculously caught up on your work and have time to spare, refreshment may be in order, starting with a trip to the head, purchase of bottled water/juice, possibly a Power Bar (or similar), a decent cup of coffee or tea and finally- IF you have time to burn: a sandwich.
  4. On your return flight of the same day you behave much the same way as in stage 1 or 2, above.
  5. If your return flight is a different day, you might get to the airport with enough time to enjoy a proper stand-up dinner while engaging in your checklist from stage 2 and 3, above, preferably within hearing distance of your gate.
  6. Repeat next week.  And the next.  And the next.

Notice, at no time does “have a sit down meal with a server and a tablecloth” enter this equation.  I and my warrior brothers and sisters are moving THROUGH airports because they get in between us and the airplanes, our clients and our families.  The slack-jawed you see getting the O2 treatment or massages in Las Vegas or Detroit simply are NOT road warriors.  They’re spectators.  Rookies.  The masses.  So what about George?

George likely has a great job flying off to teach the ultra wealthy how to cook a single meal for themselves, isn’t on a schedule and doesn’t have a family to get home to.  If he did, say, have a wife at home, she is probably pissed right now to learn he spends his free time getting a rub down at DIA.  I don’t suppose this conversation ever takes place:

Gee, honey, sorry I’m going to be home late but I need to spend some QT at the massage kiosk under the level 3 mezzanine.  What’s that?  No, I changed my direct flight so I could grab this connection 800 miles out of my way and get home 5 hours later.  Love you!

It just doesn’t happen.  Ever.

And what of our other friend, Lauren?  Unemployed.  At least, she had better be since her employer is paying her to FILL her brain, not CLEAR it.  I should note Lauren is an automotive analyst.  For who?  GM?  Ford?  Those plane tickets come with an expectation of productivity.  Warren Buffet didn’t join NetJets so he could get more face time with a breathing mask, he did it so he could get places and do things faster.

I’ll be the first to admit I enjoy walking through a shopping mall on the way to my gate.  It’s a lot better looking than it used to be out there.  But the fact remains the average road warrior is more focused on keeping hydrated and plugged in than relaxing, shopping and dining.  We don’t put 100,000+ miles on our bodies in coach annually for the privilege of lounging.

We do it to pay the bills.



1. El Calibrador - June 11, 2009

I was in Detroit’s new terminal the day after it opened. The place I ate at, they served me the wrong beer. They screwed up everybody’s order, but serve me the wrong beer and I never forget it.

Missed my connection once in Denver and had to spend the night. Every other airport in the world has a hotel in it or at least within spitting distance, but in Denver, the nearest hotel is 45 miles away.

San Diego has free wi-fi. For a podunk, crummy little airport, that is a pretty nice service.

I was able to buy a Snickers bar and some Pringles at the airport in Xiamen, China once. Nearly brought me to tears I was so happy to see food that I recognized or at least didn’t have a bone in it, so I guess that tops my list for “best airport services.”

2. kinzuakid - June 11, 2009

I’m tempted to build a list of “most practical airports for people who actually know what they are doing in one”. San Diego is not on that list, but the WiFi does come in handy. San Diego doesn’t connect its terminals past security, therefore: long farking lines all over. Build a sky bridge for FSM’s sake!

Good ones include San Jose and Oakland, Portland, parts of Dallas and Phoenix (yes, if you know how to get around, Phoenix is actually tolerable). Bad ones include Las Vegas, Jacksonville and Chicago O’Hare. There’s plenty in between, but let’s hear your stories…other than the fact that San Diego sucks, what’s your experience?

Note: only real travelers need apply. If you go out of town once a decade to visit granny May, just spectate.

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