Am back on the road (air?) this week! Living the airport life again. When you travel as much as I do, you start to see and experience airports very differently. Since I am visiting multiple cities and doing meetings at different times, I end up spending a lot of time at airports waiting for my flights. Over the past three years, I have probably spent hundreds of hours at over twenty different airports in the US.
There is some amount of comfort in the homogeneous look and feel of a large American airport. The tan/beige/brown carpets, the incredibly uncomfortable chairs, the flat screen monitors displaying flight status, the large steel trash cans, the consistent signage - ah! Feels like home! Even the people look the same. You have your high flying road warriors in suits with a bluetooth phone stuck behind their ears barking instructions to no one in particular. There are the power hungry laptop/cell phone junkies that manage to find the rare power outlet that is typically hiding behind a large pillar for the much needed charge for their electronic gear. You also get your share of the noisy families with yelling and screaming children fighting over pizza, burgers and shakes.
Window shopping is another way to kill time at airports. Most airports now double as malls and you can buy virtually anything at an airport. You can see high end stores like Mont Blanc at the bigger airports like Chicago. But the shops that are more fun to browse are those that sell quirky souvenirs.
If you are hungry at an airport, do not panic for there are usually options available for everyone. Of course these options depend on the airport you are at. Wendy's may be the star attraction in Binghamton but don't be surprised if you see Wolfgang Puck or other gourmet eateries when you are passing through JFK.