One thing that has gotten better

I am awfully critical of the airline industry most of the time.  The truth is, I see so much room for improvement and so much room for more profit, it often drives me crazy to see the short sighted decision making that exists in the industry.

I continue to tell people that doing something well costs about as much as doing something poorly.  If that’s true, why not do it well?

But there is one area in the travel world where I think things have gotten better.  Way better.

Airports.  Not all airports but many have vastly improved themselves into places that are relatively helpful, navigable and service oriented.

Some are even coveted destinations (Portland, OR for isntance).

When I pass through airports, I’m often struck by how much easier it is for someone to buy what they need on the fly whether its food, coffee or an iPhone charger.  The convenience is far greater.  The selections are far greater.

Food has improved and reached the point where most of my criticism lies with the cost (which I find artificially high provide kickbacks to the airport) and the service (sometimes).  The service often suffers in an otherwise well done restaurant because airports still think they have to award monolithic concession contracts to large companies such as ARAmark instead of becoming more inviting towards the unique.

I would point out that some of the very best airports are ones that embrace their locale and which invite local gems to become part of their airport environment (Portland!).

Airports are much better.  Many are improving their parking and somewhat cooperating with off-premises parking establishments as well.

Mind you, some airports have an enormous distance to go, too.  Newark comes to mind, for one.  Philadelphia too.  Some airports are behaving, still, like they have a captive market and really don’t need to make improvements.  Those airports will be surprised at the effect they have on their local economies as the future evolves.

But I am pleased to see that airports have improved so much over the last 20 years.  I’m also pleased that they appear focused on a better service delivery and that goes a long way towards making an airport an appealing prospect.



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