Day 175 of the Nowhere To Be Project was passed in airports as so many of my days are. Flying is generally the bane of my existence, but is a necessary evil for a constant traveler like me. Frequenting airports has turned me in to a haphazard critic of sorts. So what characteristics make for great airports?
1- Effective Signage: There is no worse feeling than being lost. This horrible feeling is intensified in the face of a time crunch delivered in the form of a delayed flight. Effective signage in an airport is crucial for eliminating these hassles. The signs should be well-placed and easily understood by passengers. Signs that use images are the best because they do not require an understanding of the local language! Another plus is achieved when walking times and wait times are posted.
2- Clean and Plentiful Restrooms: If I had a nickel for every time the smell of an airport bathroom has stuck with (and on) me, I’d be a very wealthy woman. Clean restrooms with an adequate number of stalls to accommodate the traffic flow make long travel days so much more bearable. It is even better if restrooms include designated areas to shower, change clothes and nurse children! Another bonus in an airport bathroom are strong door hooks so that bags and purses can be hung rather than placed on the floor.
3- Quiet Corners with Comfortable Seating: Frequent travelers know that layovers are inevitable. Long layovers require space to stretch out and rest. Some airports have started profiting from this and offer clean and quiet pods for rent by the hour. These can make all the difference in long haul trips as they are great for napping, cleaning up and charging devices. At the very least, airports should have designated areas with charging stations for resting.
4- Local Flair: Airports provide the first and last impressions of a place. I’m not interested in purchasing a latte from a chain coffee shop that I can get at home and in pretty much every other town in the world. I’d much rather enjoy a coffee that is unique to where I am at the moment. Same goes for food, wine, beer, books, magazines, fashion and so on. That’s why I appreciate airports that house local vendors. If you’re stuck in an airport anyway, why not use the time to delve into the local culture a bit? For example, right now I am sitting at a cowboy bar at Dallas’ Love Field listening to a local sing with his Texas twang as he plays acoustic tunes. How great is that?