Friday, March 12, 2010

Life as an airport terminal

Many years ago a friend told me about a movie idea. I'm not sure if it was his, or if it was something someone had told him about. It would be about a movie studio executive who spends all of his time flying from city to city, airport to airport, never experiencing anything of any given location beyond the airport terminal. He then approves or rejects story ideas based on how well they conform to the idea of the world he has assembled from his experiences in airports. He has no idea what the world is actually like, but is responsible for presenting an image of that world through the projects he greenlights.*

(I was a little intrigued when I heard the plot for Up in the Air. It seems like a somewhat similar idea.)

A friend was posting to Facebook from Baltimore Washington International airport yesterday. This made me reminisce a bit about times I have spent in BWI. I realized that this is the airport I have spent the most time in. But what other airports have I been in, I wondered?

My first plane flight was for our senior trip in high school in 1985. We left from Philadelphia and arrived in Orlando. I don't remember much about Philadelphia, and that was a long time ago.

My next trip was to a friend's wedding in Atlanta in 1992. Avoca to Atlanta directly.

Then a business flight to Knoxville in 1994 - also a long time ago. Left from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Avoca - yes, it's true - changed planes in Pittsburgh, arrived in Knoxville. Nothing too memorable about Pittsburgh or Knoxville - though on the return flight a much smaller plane asserted its right-of-way at the landing strip, forcing us to abort a landing at Pittsburgh.

My next flight was another business trip, this time to Los Angeles in 1996. Avoca to Pittsburgh to LAX. Again, nothing too memorable about Pittsburgh. LAX had the worst coffee I have ever had.

After that a series of flights with my mom from BWI to Orlando to visit the Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach, and Disneyworld. Three trips, all before September 11, 2001.

All of my international travel has happened since September 11, 2001. All from BWI, all to Shannon airport in Ireland, some direct, some with stops at Newark, one with a return stop at Logan in Boston. One side trip from Shannon to Gatwick just south of London. I was in Logan - the departure point for two of the hijacked September 11 flights - less than a year after September 11, so the place was in quite a state of security reconstruction. But Gatwick was absolutely the most chaotic airport I have experienced - they didn't let us know what gate our flight was departing from until it was time to begin boarding.

All in all, I'm glad I got to experience some of these places beyond the airport terminals!

*I seem to recall this conversation involved the movie Good Burger, and wondering whether anyone outside of Hollywood thought that burger joints actually look like that.

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