Fly Away

I don’t fly as much as I used to, so it’s interesting to see what has changed and what hasn’t at the Minneapolis Airport every time I travel.

Construction. I moved here in 1980 and I believe that some portion of the airport and/or the parking structures have been under construction every single minute.  Currently it’s the entrance to the parking shuttle area (and probably more, but that’s what I saw).

Check-in. If you’ve flown in the last few years you’ve experienced the little kiosks that guide you “gently” through the check-in process on your own.  Now you even get to put on your own bag tags.  A little embarrassing how long it took me to figure this out after watching ticket agents do this for 40 years.  And you get to put your own suitcase on the conveyor belt, unless you run into an agent who is chatty and willing to do it for you.

Security. This has changed and not for the better.  Long long lines (which I don’t understand – the only people going through security are ticketed passengers.  Certainly the airlines know how many bodies they are expecting on any given morning, afternoon or evening?  Why isn’t the security area ever properly staffed up?)   By the time they finally diverted some of us to the other security area, which had been closed earlier, the line went the entire length of the airport.

More Security. No more plastic bins to put your stuff in.  And no more taking your laptop, tablet, kindle, etc. out of your bag. But you still have to take off your shoes if you wear Birkenstocks that always make the security scanner go off.

Shopping & Eating/Drinking. OMG!  Considering that the only things I ever buy in an airport are bottles of water and the occasional refrigerator magnet, it is mind-blowing how many shops (and expensive shops at that) and restaurant/bars there are in the airport.  With the possible exception of rolls of toilet paper, I think you can get just about anything at the airport these days.

Connectedness (if this a word).  Well, there are a lot more places to plug in and get online at the airport, especially in the international gate areas, but considering that every single person that I can see from where I am sitting is online somehow, it’s still not enough.

The changes seem to happening faster and faster so I suppose in a couple of years, this blog will be completely obsolete.

What changes would you like in future airports?

18 thoughts on “Fly Away”

  1. I am flying to Salt Lake City later in October. We have a small airport that connects to Denver, but I am flying out of Bismark because it is $300 cheaper. Convenience is nice, but so is money. That 100 mile drive back home at the end of a journey is a pain, though.

    The lines at the Bismarck airport are always short. I wish we had no need for security checkpoints any more, but that is probably not possible. In my lifetime.

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  2. In the future, we’re all going to teleport to our location. With our pocket flying cars.

    Rochesters airport is nice. And small. Security is easy. MSP is a little cheaper, but the drive, the parking or shuttle costs add up so that it isn’t much better in the long run.
    Going to PA this summer we flew out of RST and into Harrisburg, which is a lot like RST so that was all pretty easy. It was just the airplane bit in the middle that was an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Years ago (pre 9/11) I flew to Denver out of our tiny airport in an equally small jet. There was no flight attendant. It was cold in the cabin, so a travelling companion and I knocked on the door to the cockpit, which the pilots opened, and we asked the pilots to turn up the heat. They did so quite cheerfully. My, were things different then!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. air travel used to be exciting. get dressed in a suit and have your briefcase with yellow legal pad for notes a book and a calculator

    today with face recognition the line for anyone whovhas ever traveled before (think home depot after you plug in your email address after using a charge card) show be zip zap. as far as other stuff. connectedness so i can get at email. netflix and amazon should be a constitutional right
    charging people to use internet in a location where you are required to be 2 hours early should be considered abuse and theft by force

    can’t bring in more than 3oz of liquid? how do you package dehydrated wine? just add water through the security line.

    the uber pick up by your robotic shared driver will be good and sending your suitcase by robotvteo days before will make traveling light easy peasy.

    massage co op with you do me i’ll do you with a glass of wine as the only accepted payment will be a good idea
    foot massages get two glasses

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I would like to see shorter distances between gates. It isn’t a problem at Bismarck or here, since our airport only has one gate, and Bismarck only has four.

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    1. Renee’s comment on the distance between gates brings back a funny memory. I used to spend a week each November hunting deer on land owned by a farmer/rancher who lived in Montana just below the Canadian border. Larry had never traveled anywhere until he had to fly to Sweden to meet with family relatives there. He panicked at the prospect of managing airplane connections, so he phoned me from the airport. He wanted my help navigating the huge airport.

      I met him, did some research and discovered which concourse he had to get to so he could find the right gate. When I described where he should go, Larry whipped out the little can that held his chewing tobacco and wrote down my instructions on the can. It seemed funny at the time, but Larry never went anywhere without his stash of snoose, so he was taking notes on something he’d never possibly lose!

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        1. About 25 years ago, I remember I had to fly to Las Vegas for business. At the LV airport there was some sort of people mover (my memory is imprecise) but I remember that they had B or C level celebrities (think Shecky Greene) recorded telling you to watch for the end of the walkway, etc. The walkway of forgotten stars…

          Liked by 1 person

    2. When we flew to PA we took my 92 yr old Mom along. She does pretty good walking, but she does have a walker.
      We transfer planes at O’hare and because it’s my mom, we came in at gate G6 and left from gate. Of course. Because it’s mom.
      When we returned without mom (we didn’t ditch her; she stayed for a month) We came in on G24 and left on D35 or some such thing. Other end of airport. Of course.

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      1. Ah! I swear I had the next gate in there! The whole context of the story is lost if I leave off details!
        We came in at G6 and left from G8. Because it’s my mom and that’s the way things work for her.

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  6. I took off from the twin cities one day a few years ago and landed two days later. The pilot announced we were coming into gate such and such. Half the passengers thought we were landing at the wrong airport. They changed the concourse and gate numbering/naming system in those two days. We got off the plane and did not know where we were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was at that same gate or one close to it holding a sign for a man who was coming to a special day we were holding. He had the same name as a famous Viking of the era. A few people stood aroun me waiting to see him. I kept telling them it was a different person. As he came up to me a former student came at me from one direction and a former colleague from another. It all got confusing.

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  7. One good thing in my estimation that I have noticed. One of the changes that is good in my estimation is that televisions are going now from airports. I’ve always disliked not being able to get away from the blaring noise. But now with people’s phones and tablets and laptops the talking heads are not wanted any longer.

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