Posts Tagged ‘airports’

defending hartsfield.

photo by Tristan Ferne

Atlanta airport by Tristan Ferne

a few days ago i was sitting in a 757 taxiing to a gate at chicago o’hare airport, on my way home from seattle. thanks to the fact that i was traveling on a family member’s frequent flier miles, i was stuck on united and thus the change in chicago.

so as i am sitting there, waiting on the door to open, i started listening to the conversation behind me. it was the usual “see how much i travel” banter, but one thing struck me. the woman who was preening about how much she travels said she “refused to change planes in atlanta.” she said this of course, as she was changing planes in o’hare.

nice.

as background, and not to engage in my own travel preening, but solely so you know i speak with a little bit of experience, i have been in most of the world’s largest gateway airports on 4 different continents including (look this up, it’ll be interesting to you) lax, sfo, sea, den, dfw, stl, msp, dtw, ord, jfk, bos, iad, clt, atl, mia, lgw, lhr, cdg, ams, fco, fra, muc, hkg, pek, pvg, icn, nrt, syd and mel. and here is what i can tell you; of that list up there, hartsfield is possibly one of the nest and easiest international gateway airports in the world to change planes in.

i am not sure why we get our bad rap, but let me give you some rationale for this:

1. all those other airports were designed clearly by 3 year olds with tinker toys. nothing makes sense, there are multiple terminals with multiple levels, insane amounts of walking, confusing terminal and gate sequencing, etc.

2. atlanta, by contrast is very simple. there is one terminal, and all the other concourses are attached to it. the numbering scheme is very easy. also, every concourse is laid out exactly the same. to change planes, all you ever have to do, is walk to the center, go down an escalator, board the train, go up an escalator and then go left or right. try getting from one terminal to another in o’hare, paris, l.a., london or dallas this way.

3. so many of the major international gateways require absurd amounts of walking. i swear to change planes in sydney i logged at least three miles of walking. getting from the international terminal at o’hare to a domestic terminal is a trek that would make henry livingstone blanch. i won’t even get into the monstrosity that is charles de gaulle.

honestly, i have no idea why hartsfield gets the horrible rap it does. maybe it’s because it’s the only major gateway that many people use. honestly of that list i elaborated on earlier, the only one i would choose over atlanta is amsterdam.

am i wrong about this?

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