succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ode to an airport
(written on one of my flights last week)

I know I'm biased, since ATL was my home base for six years. But I just don't get all the complaints about this airport. Yes, pretty often, the flights are not on time and/or there's a lot of traffic on the runway. It's the world's busiest airport! What do you expect? Meanwhile, today, in 30 minutes I went from my arriving flight in concourse B to my departing flight's gate in concourse E, checked in, got my seat assignment, back-tracked out to the main concourse lobby, got a slice of pizza, went to the restroom, and still had time to call my Mom before they started boarding the plane. Where else, I ask you, would even half of that have been possible? Because unlike so many other airports I've spent time in (I'm looking at you, Houston), the Atlanta airport is laid out in a logical, coherent fashion such that it's possible to make a 30 minute connection without a stressful mad dash. Instead, all that is needed is a brisk walk and a train ride.

Plus, they know how to move people. They may not always be as patient and polite as I would like them to be, but hell, I'll take efficient over friendly any day (and more often than not, in my experience, they're both). I've lost track of the number of times I rounded the corner toward security only to pull up short, mutter fuck under my breath, and join the hundred or so other people in line. But eventually, I learned to stop muttering my choice expletive, because a hundred or so people take about 15 minutes to clear security in Atlanta. Unlike other airports I've been to (I'm looking at you, Reagan National) where a dozen people seem to stand in line for 30 minutes or more. Seriously, I get that Reagan is the smaller, domestic choice compared to Dulles and BWI, but it's in our Nation's Capital and it's a freaking gong show! Every time! So embarrassing.

Lastly, some constructive criticism. Concourse E in Atlanta is the only concourse lacking the fully coherent organizational structure of all the other concourses - longish hallway, split in the middle with escalators to the train to other concourses. Concourse E doesn't make any sense. It's a haphazard collection of gates in all directions. It's also clearly under construction. What's up ATL? The rest of the airport works like a well-oiled machine. Fix up the international concourse, eh?


Blogger Sid said...

What's wrong with IAH? I tend to have the same experience here in Houston that you describe in Atlanta... methinks its just a question of who you're flying (I presume Delta in ATL?), and how familiar you are with the airport.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I'm sure you're right - that a large part of it is familiarity with the airport. And I'll confess, when I went to looked up the IAH map, it was not quite the clusterfuck I was expecting. But still, not quite as streamlined as ATL. In my experiences (over the past 10 years or so) I have never managed a tight (< 45 mins) layover in Houston without resorting to a dead sprint across the airport. I don't think the terminals are layed out intuitively, and, at least the gates I seem to be going to/coming from aren't all that close to the train.

8:05 AM  

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