Home again, home again

General, Ranting 2 Comments

Back in Ottawa now. Yesterday’s travel went relatively well, save for a small delay in Calgary. Apparently our pilot can do the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs, however, and we made it to Ottawa only five minutes late.

This trip did nothing to change my opinion that airports suck. I’m sure there are a lot of people who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make them suck less, but as yet they’ve just totally failed. They’re grimy, horribly laid-out, confusing, uncomfortable, difficult to get around, and generally just annoying on all possible levels.

The driverless “air trains” at SFO are pretty cool, but getting from the car rental drop off to Gate 23 at Terminal 1 involved something along the lines of: drop off car, walk to elevator, elevator up, walk to escalator, escalator up, walk to air train, wait; get on air train, stop at two stops, get off air train at third stop, walk to escalator, down escalator, walk to tunnel, walk into tunnel, get on moving sidewalk, walk, get off moving sidewalk, walk to escalator, up escalator, walk around a bit, get in line for check in, check in (finally getting rid of half my luggage); walk from check in toward gates, go through initial security screen, go through secondary screen (removing shoes), get laptop bag x-rayed three times (put on shoes, have lighter taken away), put laptop bag back together, walk to gate. I can’t imagine what it was like before the air trains were put in.

Once I was at the gate I had an hour to wait, so ended up going on two peripheral trips to 1) find and use the most disgusting bathroom I’ve seen in years, and 2) buy a $14 USD turkey sandwich since airlines don’t feed people on flights any more. Of course, the best part about airports is that no one wants to be there, so everyone — passengers, security guys, airport staff, airline staff — is cranky and bored. It really just makes for a fantastic experience from start to merciful finish. Ugh. At least the customs guy in Calgary was nice.

For what it’s worth, I doubt I’ll ever stop griping about airports. I used to think that I hated travelling or airplanes, but that’s not true — I don’t mind flying, and I don’t mind being other places. I just really hate airports. If it were practical, I’d travel exclusively on trains. Trains are cool.

2 Responses to “Home again, home again”

  1. Tok Says:
    July 4th, 2005 at 7:10 am

    Hi Deb!

    I can agree with you the fact that airports suck. I’ve not seen a good one anywhere. Actually the best are probably the smaller ones, but that’s just because you don’t have to walk as far for things. Haven’t seen one that was intelligently laid out yet. Of course the problem is doubtless that no one plans and builds from scratch an airport that can handle a huge amount of traffic. They all start small and grow.

  2. Tok Says:
    July 4th, 2005 at 7:10 am

    Hi Deb!

    I can agree with you the fact that airports suck. I've not seen a good one anywhere. Actually the best are probably the smaller ones, but that's just because you don't have to walk as far for things. Haven't seen one that was intelligently laid out yet. Of course the problem is doubtless that no one plans and builds from scratch an airport that can handle a huge amount of traffic. They all start small and grow.

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