Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Most Stressful U.S. Airports

As I write this, I'm sitting in an Internet cafe' in Detroit's Wayne County (DTW) airport. Surfing the net, I came across this article in Forbes about the nations' most stressful airports.

If you drill down, you'll see the rankings are all based on punctuality. As a frequent traveler, I find there's a lot more that adds to my stress than whether flights are on time.

For example, when I'm waiting, are there places to sit where I don't have to buy a drink, pay admission to an airline club, and where I can open my laptop? Can I plug the computer or cell phone in to charge while I'm waiting for my connection? Can I get a cup o' joe or something stronger without feeling like I'm in a mosh pit? And if I have to get out of (or back into) an unfamiliar airport, is it well-signed?

Many -- if not most -- airports today have nicer amenities than back in the day when every airport featured food by Host services and nothing more. That reality was lampooned in 1987 by Matt Groening's Life in Hell comic at right.

Today, we can grab something at a TGI Friday's or Chili's Too at most major hubs, and some minor ones, too. We can also enjoy some nice wines and nibbles at many terminals.

But being able to find your way around may be another story, and not being able to figure out where you're going is a definite stress-inducer.

I've been into Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) several times and find the signage just this side of useless. Added stress, to be sure. If one has to change planes at Reagan National (DCA), it is difficult to go to a different terminal without going through security again. Also added stress.

As we frequent fliers know, it isn't all about the punctuality. Hey, Forbes, how about asking us who are out here in the trenches?

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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