There’s an astronomical number of people in this world who have never entered the portals of a modern day airport … or ever will. There are millions of others, like myself, who qualify for the privilege and/or burden of claiming airports as a second home.
I personally long ago lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent in and around airports, arriving or departing from more flights than I can recall. Today’s typical airport can be a mind-boggling, high-tech, state-of-the-art marvel of wonder or, for many others, a simple necessary evil.
Experts claim that the challenges of operating a major airport such as those listed below rivals that of operating a major city!
- Chicago O’Hara
- Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
- New York’s LaGuardia & JFK
- Washington’s Reagan & Dulles
- Detroit’s Metro
- Los Angeles LAX
- Las Vegas McCarran
- Orlando International
- Pittsburgh International
- Dallas/Fort Worth International
- Miami International
Think about it … today’s major airports require a sophisticated focus on such critical areas as traffic control, energy generation, safety, security, parking, weather, law enforcement, food prep, maintenance, personnel, transportation (planes, fuel trucks, subways, limos, trams, taxis, shuttle buses, etc.), entertainment, communication, marketing, advertising, etc.
One can certainly see the similarities to operating a major city. However, there’s still another very obvious similarity that can’t be overlooked — the lack of common sense! Airport protocol has always astounded me. They do such a phenomenal job of successfully dealing with challenges in all of the areas mentioned above. At other times, common sense seems to have taken an earlier flight!
Consider a few examples:
If security finds you in possession of fingernail clippers, they will take them away from you. However, you can walk into most any gift shop after passing through security and purchase bigger and better fingernail clippers. Is this simply their effort to upgrade you to a better quality of nail clippers?
What’s the reasoning for scheduling an arrival and/or departure at such odd times such as 11:43, 3:14, or 6:52? They NEVER take off or land on time regardless of what it may be.
Why are pilots so proud of the fact that they managed to land 15 minutes early? Every time they do manage to do that, they can’t get you to the gate because there’s a plane sitting there preparing to depart. As a result, you end up sitting on the tarmac for an additional 20 minutes waiting for a gate to become vacant.
When connecting with another flight, there are always a few things you can count on. The gate at which you are scheduled to connect with your next flight will always be located in a different terminal and will usually be at least a 20-minute walk. In addition, they will usually allow you only ten minutes to make that connection.
Why does a Subway “$5.00 foot long” sandwich always cost $8.50 in an airport?
I recently saw a news report showing the transport of a shuttle craft from Florida to California. The 165,000 lb. shuttle was attached atop a typical 747 aircraft. Why is it that they charge you an additional $50 overweight baggage fee if your bag weighs ONE pound over the allotted 50 lb. limit? Are they afraid we may exceed that 165,000 limit?
Why does the TSA agent always ask me “if someone put anything in my carry-on without my knowledge?” How would I know?
Yes, common sense seems to have found a way to avoid major cities, all airports and Washington, D.C. Be sure it doesn’t do the same with your place of employment! It only takes a few seconds to stop and think!
About Harry K. Jones
Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.