Ode to Airports

An airport is a time pause. It’s an excuse to not stress or try. You’re trapped in the system and will eventually get there. You can’t leave or you’ll have to re-humiliate yourself through security. Airports are even powerful enough to make you cancel meetings if your flight is late, canceled…or you pretend it is. Your wedding could be delayed because of the airport and no one would really fault you.

Everyone is transiting, coming and going, and while the entry fee might exclude the very poor (and the super rich fly their own), you see everyone.

At a major hub, you’ll see people from all over: the guy with the “Ragin’ Cajun” hat, domestic and international grandmas, the harried big city lawyer, the dad-jeans set, and the local staff. People dress in all manners of business-business or super casual for comfort.

The mix of experienced and novice travels creates a crackly dynamic, paired with either overly friendly or direct gate agents. While some can escape to airline lounges, even those environments are little different than the actual terminal: you just get much friendly staff and free drinks and peanuts.

Airports can be calming if you look at them as escapes and the sort of delightful, enforced boredom that I understand meditation to be.

They can be toxic if you stress out about delays, lines, other people, overhead bin space, and how flight delays effect your plans outside the airport. And they can be distracting like an opium den if you let their peaceful hum shut-out your real life.

Don’t ruin your time at the airport. If you let it, it’ll make sure you get back out right where you wanted to go.

There used to be time to arrive. Incremental geographical changes would ease the inner transitions: desert would gradually give way to shrub, savannah to grassland. At the harbour, the camels would be unloaded, a room would be found overlooking the customs house, passage would be negotiated on a steamer. Flying fish would skim past the ship’s hull. The crew would play cards. The air would cool.

A Week at the Airport, Alain De Botton

Information companies can get from free wifi

Here, the example is in airports:

It lets the airport team observe where certain areas might become congested, allowing quicker reaction and reducing the impact on passenger flow.

Furthermore, the heatmapping functionality enables them to overlay demographics, which proves particularly useful when examining the use of certain spaces.

Airports can ascertain where it would be best to place new shops and restaurants, as well as signage and advertisements effectively.

They can also observe how long it takes people on average to move from the restaurants through security to their gates, to inform future tactics and measure KPIs accordingly.

Information companies can get from free wifi