There’s something about airports. The comings and goings. The hellos and nostalgic goodbyes. The uber-ritzy bars and restaurants ($14 for rosé? no problem — I’m on vacation).
Ultimately, there’s an air of delicious change — all because you’re preparing to rip into the sky on a massive plane-computer and wind up elsewhere.
But these days, some airports open up for something called “terminal tourists,” allowing non-travellers space inside the airport to enjoy everything about it, sans the travel.
Terminal Tourism: The Ultimate Staycation?
Pittsburgh International Airport was the first to roll out this new program. Chuck Hughey tells Bloomberg that he brings his little granddaughter Cleo to the terminals to ride the moving walkways, have some doughnuts, and watch the planes come and go. It’s a pure afternoon in a safe environment — surrounded by people from all over the world.
Now, Tampa and Seattle-Tacoma are following suit, with others planning to follow. And in fact, why shouldn’t they? Airports feature art exhibitions, museums, microbreweries, playgrounds, wine bars and fine-dining restaurants.
Why should these little safe-havens of change and forward-motion be exclusive for those en route someplace else?
Of course, terminal tourists must have background checks and head through TSA security screenings, just like all travellers.
Some members of the Pittsburgh terminal tourist crew use their passes every single day — chugging out to the ever-changing airport for shopping and eating and communing with other travellers.
Course, not all airports will be able to handle extra capacity. Imagine standing in line for security and finding out that the guy in front of you is just there to “hang out” when you have a flight to catch? But of course, standing alongside a member of your family or another loved one as they embark on a journey could be the romantic experience we’re all waiting for.
Perhaps terminal tourism has a place for some of us. Some of us who feel more romantic of travel, who can’t necessarily be on the go all the time.