Frustrated thoughts from an airport

I wrote this last Thursday night while sitting in the airport, waiting for my delayed flight.

As much as airports try to be nice and friendly, they are just unhappy places. The planes are delayed, the food is expensive, and as hard as you wish, you are NEVER in the terminal with the Great American Bagel when all you want is a warm apple streusel bagel with honey butter.

I’ve written before about how at night, airport creatures turn into happy friends – but during the day, I understand why passengers are more Debbie Downers than Chatty Cathys. And I’m often one of those Cranky Caras. But, as I sit here in the airport waiting for my delayed flight, here are some things I thought of to make the whole travel experience more pleasant.

1)      Leg room. I’ve recently learned that by paying an extra fee, you can get more legroom on the plane. I know that airlines would charge us per unit of oxygen breathed if they could, so I think this is actually the closest way they have to charge for pure empty air. But I don’t need extra leg room. At 5’2’’, I would be comfortable with less leg room. Here’s my proposal. If people are getting extra leg room somehow, it must be coming from somewhere! Where is it coming from? I propose that people can get a discount off their ticket if they take a Limited Leg Room seat. When I get on the plane, I curl up into a ball and close my eyes for the entire flight, and I would like to finally be rewarded for the fact that I don’t take up much space. If any of you have any connections to the airlines and can make this happen, please do!

2)      Outlets. It seems as though I’ve found a leprechaun, the entire city of Atlantis, a four-leaf clover, and the meaning of life, but no outlets at my gate? I know that the power has to come from somewhere. Find some kind of source of power, O’hare, and spread it around! If I knew how to do it, this is what I would do. I would find a source of power and then I would get a really really long extension cord, bringing it to a gate where the passengers have the longest delay. Then I would plug in my surge protector, and I would charge $1 per plug per hour. I would make millions. Any of my readers an electrical engineer?

3)      Wireless. Really, O’hare? No free Wi-Fi here? There are entire cities that have figured out free wireless Internet (they have wireless at O’hare, but it’s not free!), and O’hare doesn’t feel like giving it to the travelers who are constantly delayed.

4)      Sitcom TVs. There are plenty of bars showing sporting events at the airport, but what if I want to gather with a group of people to watch tonight’s new episode of The Office? I haven’t actually watched last week’s episode yet, but if there were Wi-Fi here, maybe I could. There should be viewing areas in each terminal with all the major networks playing. That would definitely make my time more enjoyable.

5)      Suggested departure times. You know how at some charitable events they have a “suggested donation”? You really should make the donation, but if you give more or less than the amount, it’s not a big deal. I think travelers might be happier people if they think of flights as “suggested departure times.” We won’t leave any earlier than the suggested departure time, but we might leave a little later if we feel like it. My suggested departure time tonight was 8:05 p.m., but it’s been delayed to 8:50 p.m. No biggie – I figured that 8:05 wouldn’t be accurate, since it was only a suggested time – a guess, an estimate. No hurt feelings, American Airlines. We’re cool.

That’s all I have for now. I actually (really, not kidding) have to go back to find a flight status monitor to see how my flight is running – there’s so little Internet access here in this business outlet center that even my cell phone can’t access flightstatus.com. Happy flying!

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