Airport Observations: Practices Not People

Airport pan

Image by AMagill via Flickr

I reflected on people when I ventured to Seattle a few days ago, but nos on my return trip I’d like to discuss something different. While I love the stories of the people I see at airports, I wanted to reflect on some observations I’ve made about practices, which make me questions some of the values of our society.

When I first checked in on my way to Seattle I noticed a few things.

  • The not surprising lack of human faces as check in occurred through technology. Today, this was even worse because one man worked the entire American Airline counter, and of course he was stationed at first class.
  • The $45 upgrade offer that made me wonder how much a first class ticket would have cost in the first place. I’m always tempted to take those offers, but I didn’t this time.
  • The ridiculous fact that both times I’ve gotten boarding group three with an offer to upgrade to an earlier boarding group for $9.00. Of course, as I observed last time. Nobody is in boarding group 1, so it is all a scam to make more money. Don’t do it, because group 2 is really 1 and so on.

Then we move onto security:

  • Empty lanes open only for first class or premiere passengers, which means workers sitting around doing little while the regular folk wait in long lines.
  • The repetitive video trying to convince everyone that the full body scan is non-invasive and somehow protects our privacy. Yeah, I buy that. I mean, just because my face may be obscured, nobody is going to recognize the voluptuous curves of a 5 ft. tall women with breasts that compete with Dolly Parton. 😉
  • The woman in front of me getting her coffee confiscated. Seriously, you know the coffee is going to be drunk before she gets on the plane. But, that would of course mar the business of the Starbucks prominently located just after you get through security.
  • A woman after me having her unopened and forgotten water bottle pulled out of her carry-on bags.  It made me wonder what they do with the confiscated bottles–add to the waste by throwing them away, scan them, or simply drink them with a subtle laugh for the free water that they get from these naive travelers.

Call me cynical, but so many of these security measures express a disturbing facet of our society–the fact that the world functions on greed and distrust, and subtle manipulation in the name of control.

Does this make anyone else sad?

On a positive note, at least Seattle Airport has free internet access. Dallas and Tulsa don’t.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Taochild
    May 14, 2011 @ 16:14:03

    This you tube clip says it all!



  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    May 14, 2011 @ 20:03:19

    Not crazy about airports, but everything for us went super smooth at Laguardia, not even crowded, and Charlotte was easy – and since it was our anniversary we upgraded to first class but for $100 each and a very short leg of the flight. And, I got lazy and quit posting when we went on the trip.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 16, 2011 @ 10:03:44

      I’ve only ever actually upgraded myself once (since the ticket was paid for by someone else, I felt like I could treat myself). It does make all the difference. I’m glad your back and writing, and that you had a wonderful trip to New York. Happy belated anniversary.


  3. amblerangel
    May 14, 2011 @ 21:11:31

    I haven’t been through a US airport in a while- seriously $9 to upgrade to another boarding group? Ridiculous! But upgrading to first class for $45 sounds like a pretty good deal….I inquired about upgrading my mother to business class using points- 600,000 points from Houston to Tokyo. The equivalent of $6000. Yea…


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 15, 2011 @ 10:33:18

      I should clarify that the $45 upgrade was only for one leg of the flight–the 40 minute one. They didn’t offer one for the longer part, so I’m sure that would have been expensive.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 15, 2011 @ 14:35:19

      Now I think they allow a certain amount of liquids for family and health reasons. There was a separate line for that.


  4. Sandi Ormsby
    May 15, 2011 @ 00:16:52

    Lisa, I have to tell you…I thought the same thing! What do they do with the bottles of water? I certainly hope they don’t toss them all, because what a waste.

    Yet, drinking someone else’s opened water is not sanitary or what if they really did put some chemical in there? I guess it’s not dangerous if the bottle is still sealed. So either they drink it or I hope they use it to water whatever plants may be nearby…unless those are fake.

    It makes me ANGRY how expensive all those places are inside the airport. McDonald’s and Starbucks they all increase their prices. They know you are stuck. We always bring breakfast bars and crackers and then gripe, but always buy one of those big waters. I get so dehyrdrated on a plane and it’s a better deal buying inside the airport vs. on the plane.

    It’s ridiculous. When Samantha was little, we had to take dry enfamil and buy a water there and mix once past security. What a pain.

    Lake Forest, California


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 16, 2011 @ 10:05:40

      Oh, I wasn’t thinking about the open bottles. The one I saw them confiscate was clearly unopened, and that really bothered me. I think they now make allowances for liquids needed for health and babies. But still, the real problem is the greed displayed–let’s make all these rules and then charge everyone so much that they use all their money in the airport. It’s insane!


  5. CMSmith
    May 15, 2011 @ 18:09:39

    It makes me sad, and I think some of the practices are a little over-the-top, but I sure wouldn’t want to be on a plane that blew. I’ll wait in lines and let them scan me. It’s the cost of being able to fly.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      May 15, 2011 @ 19:22:24

      I agree in the name of safety. But its the greed of it, if you have to take the safety measures then lower the cost of things in the airport. And, I’m not really complaining about the scan, just the hypocrisy and the lie.


  6. jgavinallan
    May 29, 2011 @ 07:03:45


    I never thought of such things. Your blog is very relevant…as mine is full of fiction

    intelligent thoughts



    • Woman Wielding Words
      May 29, 2011 @ 09:51:37

      I wish my blog had more fiction in it. But maybe more observations will lead to more fiction.


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