According to a story in the Strib last week, there’s a big Stakeholder Committee trying to figure out the future of the airport. I think that the only time you should use the term “stakeholder” is when you’re hunting vampires and divvying up the chores, but that’s probably why I’m not on the committee.
If I was, though, I’d have some ideas for airport improvement:
1. Rethink the security lines. This is the worst part about modern travel, aggravated by petty indignities. Everyone is under great pressure to get those bins through, and so you have people whipping off their belts like they’re going to give a young-un a whippin’.
And then they start screaming at us. “Into the scanner! Assume the position! Hands up! Now get your bag and jam on your shoes! Achtung! Schnell! Schnell!”
Let’s make the process more civilized. Have someone walk around the lines with a tray of hors d’oeuvres. There could be jugglers. Or magicians. Or emotional support ostriches, I don’t care.
Imagine if the airport ran a promotion promising that the lines take 20 minutes, max, or your flight is free. It’s not that far-fetched. It’s just a matter of whether they want to do it, and if they balk at the price, well ...
2. Levy a dime tax on all airport transactions. No one will notice, because the airport is a place where everyone understands they will be enthusiastically, vigorously gouged at every turn.
If there were a shop in the airport that sold dollar bills, they would price them at $1.75.
3. Those moving walkways are great if you’re going the length of an entire concourse because your flight leaves at Gate C217. But some cots would be a nice addition; we could get a nap in along the way.
4. Some careful attention to the PA systems at the gate might be merited, because sometimes I actually understand what the gate attendant is saying. “Hlo, w’d nw likta wlcom r brnz tier psengrs fr bordine gat ths time. Wlcm abrd.”
5. Turn off the TVs. People are trying to read books or newspapers or look at their phones or talk to fellow travelers. There might be one or two people who arrive at the airport thinking, “I can’t wait to sit in a butt-bucket bolted to the floor in a waiting room so I can be force-fed CNN,” but they’ll deal with it.
6. New signs at Terminal 2, or the Humphrey Terminal as real Minnesotans still call it.
The first sign says: “Terminal 2: Humphrey.”
This will make newcomers interested; what does that mean? Is it a command? Is that a dance? “Everybody Humphrey! Do the Hubert.”
The second sign says: “This is not the actual airport.”
I mean, it is, but it isn’t. We all know the feeling when we have to catch a flight from Humphrey: a momentary disappointment that we will not be plunging into the exciting milieu of Lind — sorry, Terminal 1, as the poetic coinage of the day has it.
But then there is happiness: Humphrey is easy. No lines, no long walks. A piece of cake (which is still $7.59 a slice).
You hate to think that people who are passing through just to transfer planes think this is all we have. No! We have a huge sophisticated airport just over there! We love it, we are proud of it and it’s rated highly in all the surveys. We’re happiest when we leave from this one, but you should know the actual airport is big and awesome.
7. Someone will demand a bike lane in the pickup area by baggage. Starting now, practice saying “no.”