Oh gee, what a great way to start the next 50 posts. Airports. Ports for air. I don’t like airports. There. Next question. College Park Airport was built for Wilbur Wright, one of the two Wright Brothers, in 1909, as a training location for two military officers to fly in the government’s first aeroplane. And today, in 2014, it’s still in use, currently the world’s oldest continuously used airport. Wilbur died only three years after it opened. He had no idea the hell the airport would eventually unleash upon the world. Including a dreadful Tom Hanks movie. Which to most of us would be just another Tom Hanks movie. Yes, the airport is an awful, awful place. Did you know for example, that female flight attendants are required to weigh less than 115 pounds, be nurses and unmarried? Admittedly, this practice had stopped by 1950, but if I’d told you that before the fact, I would’ve looked like a massive idiot and my point about how awful airports are would be in tatters. And nobody likes a tattered point, do they now? What? You want a current fact? Okay. The ratio of lavatories to passengers is one lavatory for every 50 passengers. There. Oh yes, and that sort of exciting fact is only the tip of an iceberg. Do you want to know the crazy way American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987? Then read on, dear readers, as we delve into the world of airports and airplanes…
They turn the lights off on airplanes so that when they crash, you can see the emergency exit signs much better, and the runway lights much better. Sorry, if you crash. Which you probably will do at some point. However, Qantas airlines has never lost a passenger. They’ve never had a fatal crash. In 94 years of operation. I mean, an engine on one aircraft did once explode mid-air, but nobody was injured. Remarkable, huh? Dubai Airport has 161,000 square feet of shopping space. An airport in Singapore has ‘napping areas’. And American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by changing the stewardess’s uniforms to bikinis. What? Oh, okay. No, they actually removed one olive from all First Class meals.
Hong Kong Airport is built on its own island. Denver International Airport glows at night and is the subject of several thousand ridiculous conspiracy theories (read up on them at your own discretion). Mataveri International Airport is the most remote airport in the world, a six hour flight away from the nearest airport. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport has the world’s shortest runway, at 1,300 feet long. At nearly 17 hours, the flight from Jeddah to Los Angeles is the longest non-stop flight in the world. And at just two minutes, the flight from Westray to Papa Westray is the world’s shortest non-stop flight. Yes. Seriously.
Airports are like hospitals, for me. There’s a weird stench and your heart pounds viciously. I have a real fear of flying, and airports don’t help. It’s like the bus ride to hell. Hell being the airplane. And the security is ridiculous. Scanners that take naked photos of you and upload them to the internet (yes, they do), biometric scanners, intensive body searches, cavity searches, metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors, strip searches, and bomb scanners. Many of which I’ve fallen victim to (the bomb scanners are frickin’ cool, by the way). And there are the other things, too. You wait decades for your luggage to come through, and hope it isn’t stuck, dragging you along with it (yes, this has happened to me). All the shops. And worst of all, they all have terrible Wi-Fi. I mean, that’s inhumane. And we deserve better as a human race, don’t we? I think we do.
We don’t deserve long queues, a Tannoy you can’t understand and intensive probing.
Image: 1) An aerial view of the world’s smallest runway at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, on the Caribbean island of Saba, only 1,300 feet long (credit: wikipedia.org)
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