Airport Observations

Sitting in the airport watching folks go by can be an interesting way to pass an hour or so. I had arrived early and was waiting for a colleague due to arrive on a later flight. He had rented a car, the hotel was 30 miles away, and I thought “There are worse ways to spend a couple hours than sitting by baggage claim in the St. Louis airport.”

Well, I’m sure there are worse ways to spend a couple hours, but if I hadn’t had my iPhone and laptop to keep me company I would have been hard-pressed to think of any. Indeed, I’m sure I would have grabbed a cab to the hotel had I not brought along the “electronic amusement.”

But as I sat there watching the folks go by in waves that alternated between sparse and heavy (as flights arrived) there were some interesting observations to be made. First of all, very few people are happy in the airport. That seems odd, to me. After all, as I sat near baggage claim, most of these people had made it safely to their destination on an airplane that flew through the sky. That is pretty awesome when you think about it (even if it is yet another business flight in a long series of business flights). But the smiles were few and far between.

Of course, not everyone had reached their “final destination” yet. Crabby, annoyed fliers checked the Arrivals and Departures boards grousing about late flights and missed connections. The missed connection one struck me as odd, though. When I take a connecting flight I never wend my way down to baggage claim… why did they do that? They’ll have to make another trip through security… and we all know how “fun” that can be.

But trying to figure out what these morose, baggage pulling zombies are up to is a never ending game. Another thought: how did anybody fly before the advent of mobile phones. It seemed like every third person had an iPhone or a Droid pressed tight against their head as they ignored their surroundings and talked instead to the office they had just left, or the person they will be seeing momentarily, or somebody who wasn’t right there with them.

OK, yes, mobile phones make life easier in terms of staying connected, but sometimes you can be just too connected in my humble opinion. Make a quick call? Sure. Slap that phone up against your ear and never take it down while yelling into it as you bump into people at the airport? Nope. I won’t do that!

And why do people think they have to yell into a mobile phone? If it is too loud for the person on the other end of the phone to hear you it is TOO LOUD for you to be on the phone at all!

People also seem to just stop walking whenever the heck they feel like it, too. Doesn’t matter if there are 55,000 people behind them also walking. If they want to stop, then BANG, they just stop. Nobody ever thinks to move to the side and let folks keep going. Nope. They just stop like they are the only one there! I never could figure out this rude behavior and it seems to be getting worse.

I guess I notice a lot of this since I had a nice period this Spring and Summer where I didn’t fly much. But I have a bunch of trips coming up and this one, the first of many, will probably annoy me the most… until I get back into the swing of dodging through the morons and weaving my way to my desired location.

But if you hear about a man slapping a mobile phone off of the head of a zombie in the St. Louis airport, I apologize in advance… it was probably me.


And I promise to get back to posting about data and database related issues in the next post… I just had to get these thoughts off my chest… thanks for reading my rant.


I'm a data management strategist, researcher, and consultant with over three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development and implementation.
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2 Responses to Airport Observations

  1. Pingback: DB2 Hub | Airport Observations

  2. Crysta says:

    We’re at our very worst in airports. It’s a stressful situation, where so much is out of our control… and then the TSA makes us take off our shoes, discombobulate our bags and personal effects, with no real chance to exhale. But I agree, the people watching is fabulous. I’ve started putting my phone away when I travel for pleasure, and it’s been very eye-opening, much as you describe! Safe and happy travels to you.

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