Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Terminal

As a 100,000 miles per year air traveler, I see a lot of in-flight movies, almost all without the sound (I'm busy reading, ipodding, or laptop-tapping).

The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks (now playing E/B on American, W/B on Continental), is about some guy from some foreign country that has some problem getting past U.S. customs. He then lives in the Terminal for an extended period of time for some reason (who needs sound?).

This got me thinking. What would it be like to live in various airport terminals around the country?

Detroit (DTW): McNamara Terminal - like living in the Ritz. And you could ride the indoor train over and over again. Smith Terminal - like living in a Skid Row half-way house (watch for falling ceiling tiles, exposed electrical wiring, and hypodermic needles.)

Dallas (DFW): Designed by a moron, guaranteed to keep you fit and trim as you race through
the semi-circular gate areas trying to catch your next plane. Only take the tram if you've got hours to spare. If you're returning a rental car, don't arrive from the North (you'll burn a tank of gas getting to the rental center.) Like living in a gymnasium.

Atlanta (Hartsfield): As JFK said about Washington, DC, it's got the South's efficiency with the North's charm. Will they ever change the computer voice on the tram? God forbid if an escalator goes out. As fun as the traffic on Georgia 400.

Denver Intl: Big and roomy, and out on the plains, the main terminal is a shopper's and diner's paradise. Like living in an upscale ski chalet near a shopping mall. Put another log on the fire and watch the snow fall. You need to take a helicopter to get downtown, however.

Oakland Intl (home base): Like living in a Greyhound Bus Terminal. Only without the coziness or the privacy. The Fallujah Motel 6 would be more enjoyable. You need shoulder pads and a helmet to get through the crush.

And the winner is. . .

Austin Bergstrom International: Live Country & Western music on Thursdays (!), killer barbeque restaurants, great gift shops, displays of vintage guitars, clean restrooms, uncongested, and you walk to your rental car. . . "I just can't wait to get on the road again. . ."