Lileks: Long layover? Take this tour ... if you dare

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2011 - 6:58 AM

Most of us don't spend much time at the airport -- we just shuffle shoeless through security, get a $9 sandwich, board and go.

If you're transferring, though, you may find a five-hour stretch a bit dull, unless some laptop users get into a fistfight over a power outlet. (The airport promises it will increase the number to four next year.)

So why not get out and see the town?

Starting next month, a company called MSP Tours will offer tours on the light rail for folks facing long layovers. For $27.50 you get tickets to attractions, coupons and an audio guide. The press release says the audio-tour includes an intro from the mayor "ensuring every traveler gets to explore the city like a local." True, that; locals can't go ANYWHERE these days without the mayor tagging along, nattering about some historical fact or landmark.

But it's a hard sell, getting people out of the airport. At least for me: I assume the worst.

The plane could be early and they'd give my seat away, but my luggage goes and I can't find an outlet to charge my phone, so I can't tell my family and they assume I'm dead, and when I finally get home my wife has remarried and the kids are calling him Dad.

Yeah, you say, but it's a nine-hour layover. At least go outside and get some fresh air. But then I have to go through security, and what if the TSA agent gropes me inappropriately? Fine. Sit there and watch CNN, then.

Here's the thing: The trips are described as a three-hour tour. Sound like a TV sitcom theme you know? "A threeee-hour tour."

The weather started getting rough / the tiny train was tossed / if not for the courage of the fearless crew, and the fact that the vehicle was confined to static, embedded infrastructure / the light rail would be lost.

But a tornado could carry the train away, and drop it at Lake of the Isles.

So if you're taking the tour and passengers include an academic type, a movie star, a rich couple and a perky girl-next-door, GET OFF THE TRAIN, because this means you are Gilligan, and you will ruin it for all.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 More daily at www.startribune.com/popcrush.

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