Once upon a time, in the days of long ago, I rode on an airline for the first time. I remember it well.
It was 1964. I was 23. I had ridden in small airplanes—and even jumped out of a few—but had never ridden on an airline. This first airline flight was in Lockheed’s Electra, which had had three horrible accidents before the problem was solved.
As I remember it, the flight was wonderful and exciting (for one thing, I had asked so many questions that the flight attendant, called a stewardess back then, thinking I was scared, sat next to me).
Frankly, I don’t remember the airport at all. It seems to me that airports back then were totally forgettable, whereas aircraft (and flight attendants) were exciting and glamorous.
Later, during my frequent-flying days, I remember long walks from ticket counter to gate to airplane and then climbing up to the aircraft with bags hanging wildly asunder.
Then, after so-called airline “dereg,” everything started to change. Airplanes became like oases in the desert. They were, or became, great places to sit, read, call home, shop for toiletries left in the hotel room, eat lunch and relax. I even became experienced at sleeping in airports in secret hiding places (one was in a meeting room that was never locked but I woke up one time to find a meeting was being held in that room). That ended abruptly after September 11, 2001.
Many of the long walks became conveyer belts upon which you could stand and let the belts do the moving. I liked airports then and still do.
Whereas older airports had “snack” shops tending to Stewart sandwiches and crackers, today you can buy full meals at airports.
In short, airports are now the nicest, most customer-friendly, part of air travel. If you travel a lot, you know what I mean.
This can’t go on, but in the meantime…
Congrats, airports! You’re doing a great job.