Airport Thoughts

I have a love-hate relationship with Louisville International Airport.

It is said that if you ask an Irishman for directions, for the reply would be something like: “If I were tryin’ to get there, I wouldn’t be startin’ from here“. London. Paris. Milan. Tokyo. Amsterdam. Berlin. Just some of the places you cannot get to from here. The middle name of this airport was obviously someone’s idea of a joke. For this reason I have come to refer to it, with tongue firmly in cheek, by its initials – LIA.

It’s not all bad news, though, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Most airports are designed around the requirements of baggage and the dictates of the security services. If the passengers have to walk a mile to get to their gate, tough. With the possible exception of Orlando, LIA is one of the best laid-out airports that I have ever encountered – or at least it used to be. When I arrived in this town ten years ago, it was possible to park next to the main building, and if you could in and out in thirty minutes or less, parking was free. That was a wonderful thing that had to be destroyed to make room for parking for Airport Employees.

Picking up someone from the airport is a hassle if his or her plane has been delayed. The cops won’t let you wait in front of the arrivals building. Why? “Terrorism”, say those who make such policy. For some reason terrorists have become associated with airports. I don’t know why. Vehicles parked in front of airports have never been identified as a security risk. Not only is the building fairly robust, but your typical airport has far more armed security personnel than most other places. Not an especially attractive target for your average terrorist methinks – particularly when you consider the large contingent of National Guard on the other side of the airport.

So if you can’t wait outside the terminal, where can you wait? Well, the powers that be have thoughtfully provided a waiting area. To get there you have to…

  1. Leave the terminal.
  2. Drive around the airport.
  3. Enter through departures (huh? Why would someone dropping off need a waiting area?).
  4. Go out the other side.
  5. Drive half a mile through poorly marked and confusing roads to the waiting area.

The waiting area is for just that – waiting. No restrooms, no arrival annunciators, no nuthin’. And I hope you have a phone, and the battery is not flat. To get back, you have to head back towards the airport, and drive all the way round again (wha..?) before entering arrivals once again.

Whatever happened to the Skywalk?
Some years ago, when the parking garage was being built, there were plans to construct a “Skywalk”; presumably a place from where plane-spotters and small boys could watch planes take off and land. Like all truly brilliant ideas, this one was apparently scrapped. For years, the main elevators had buttons for four levels – . Parking, Baggage, Ticketing, and “Skywalk”. What a shame – think of the fun I could have had with the words “Come with me, Skywalker”…

Just as Jeddah International Airport is built to handle the vast influx of pilgrims bound for Mecca every hear, LIA has to handle its own herd of the faithful on the annual Derby pilgrimage. Seems like a lot of fuss over two minutes of horse race, but every town needs something to celebrate, and that can’t be a bad thing.

And remember folks, “Security is at a high level

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  • By How to go Bankrupt « Wizard Prang's Blog on December 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    […] a month with us. She flew in last Saturday… and her arms are still tired. Since our local “International” airport… well… isn’t, her flight came in through […]

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