Saturday, October 25, 2008

Better Airports - Pretty Please?

I was flying back from Orange County, and I have to say, the Santa Ana Airport is doing things allllll riiiight! First, they had a security line that was for "Expert Travelers." This line just shoots you up to the front, and I got through so fast that I actually started to think I was the one who was holding things up. The thing that confuses me, though, is that there's nothing that designates anyone as an "expert traveler" except for self-evaluation. So when it's truly busy, how do I know I won't just end up behind a whole bunch of novice travelers? I suppose a novice traveler might be intimidated enough to not want to go through the "Expert Traveler" line, designated with a black diamond, reminiscent of an expert hill when skiing. That's what I'm hoping, at least.

As I wandered around my gate, I noticed a new sign with an electrical socket depicted on it, posted along a row of seats. When I went to observe, I found a long line of sturdy electrical outlets sandwiched between two long rows of seats. Brilliant! Now I don't have to squeeze myself into an odd corner and sit on the floor in order to give my laptop some juice. At least at SNA, anyway.

Chicago's ORD has another solution to this. They have rows of seats in between gates where one can plug themselves in. But these are shared among the 20 gates in that area, which doesn't leave many free openings at any one time. The other disadvantage is that you can't be at your gate, getting the latest and greatest information. What if the gate changes last minute, like what happened recently, when two small prop planes got directed to the other's gates, forcing all the passengers to trade their spots and trudge through the airport as well? You might have missed that, but hey, at least all your stuff is charged.

No, the SNA method is decidedly better. Each area having its own outlets spreads the love. Now, if only all airports had free wireless, like Harrisburg's MDT.

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