This morning as I was reading the news I came across an article entitled: Why Do So Many People Hate US Airports (here’s the article if you’re interested) As I too have often wondered about this widespread phenomena I clicked on the article in hopes to gain some insight. I mean, sure, there are long lines and security checks that aren’t the most fun things in the world to go through. And if your plane gets delayed or cancelled then that’s not the greatest thing either. But in general it seems our traveling experience isn’t really that terrible, so what’s the big deal? Why do so many people gripe and complain so much about airports and flying?
The article poses reasons such as outdated terminals in need of upgrading and overcrowding but I think the real dissatisfaction comes not from our lack of shiny new buildings or the inability to boast butterfly, cactus, and orchid gardens like the Changi Airport in Singapore or an ice-skating rink and golf-driving range like an airport in South Korea. Don’t get me wrong, being able to visit a garden with 1,000 butterflies and a waterfall during a long layover sounds pretty great – and while I don’t ice skate or play golf I think it’s equally great to have those options available as well. However, I think our constant fussing and frustration has more to do with something much more ordinary and simplistic. I think we just aren’t used to stepping outside of our comfort zones often enough. Airports and airplanes toss us forcefully into an area we try with a great deal of force in our everyday lives to avoid at all costs: discomfort. We’re sitting super close to strangers in tightly crammed seats, standing in long lines actually having to wait for something to happen, and have limited food choices (gasp!). We’re also solidly transfixed on arriving somewhere else as opposed to being present in the moment, which doesn’t help matters.