Ten Things I Love About Airports

IMG_6333Let’s do a quick word association. When I say “commercial airport,” what are the first things that come to mind? Getting there and parking? (Ugh!) Going through security? (Double ugh!) Delays and cancellations? (Triple ugh!) The truth is, for most people, commercial airports do not conjure up very pleasant thoughts. Oh how I wish everyone could see the airport the way I see it! Here are some of my favorite things:

1. 05:00

I know what you’re thinking – that’s insanely early!  Yes, I know.  But there’s just something special about this time of day.  I guess it has to do with the contrast between the stillness of the airfield and the hectic activity inside the terminal.

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2. Sunrise

Sunrise is one of my favorite times at the airport. There’s something quite breathtaking about the sun peeking over the horizon and lighting up the sky. I’m blessed to have seen some truly amazing sunrises.

3. Sunset

Like sunrises, sunsets at the airfield can be pretty spectacular.

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4. Deice Pad

The deice pad can be a hectic, crazy place for all involved. But there’s something about being out on the ramp, right next to the planes that makes it completely awesome. Plus there are so many cool photo opportunities!

5. Sunrise on the deice pad

Sunrise. Airplanes. Deice rigs. Airport. Need I say more?

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6. ATC towers

I wish everyone could visit an ATC tower just once. Unfortunately, most travelers will never get the chance. It’s a shame because the activity that goes on there is critical. And the view is phenomenal!

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7. Snow

I know that snow is a giant hassle for everyone involved – believe me, I get it. But at the same time there’s just something special about snow on the airfield. Perhaps it’s taking pride in all the hard work that goes into keeping things up and running, or maybe it’s the way it swirls around the jet engines.

8. K9s

Oh how I love my K-9 coworkers! I’m lucky because I get to see them when they aren’t working, which means I get to pet them and love on them. Recently, however, I got to watch a K-9 demonstrate his skills by searching for explosive materials that were planted for him to find. I was very impressed by his focus and determination – and all he asked for in return was play time with his squeaky ball!

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9. Box of Chocolates

The airport is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – you just never know what is going to show up! If you read my last post then you know about the visit from the A-10s. A week later two Osprey flew in. Fan-freaking-tastic!!!

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10. Possibilities

Airports represent the ability to get pretty much anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. Think about that for a moment. Consider what it took to go just 100 miles in 1817 (200 years ago). When I see airplanes at the gates, I see the ability to go anywhere and do anything. How cool is that?

11. Stairs trucks

Spinal Tap fans will immediately understand why this Top Ten list has to go all the way to 11. And what better way to wrap things up than with stairs trucks?

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11 thoughts on “Ten Things I Love About Airports

  1. It’s too bad most people can’t see the airport from your perspective! They’d have a much better feeling about the place.

    By the way, I thought it odd that the stair truck was pulled up to a military aircraft, yet there were strollers at the base of the stairs. 🙂

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  2. It is funny that you put 5am because I would have put midnight. I used to love driving out on the taxiway late at night when there were no planes flying and just enjoying the peaceful calm. Most people don’t associate that with airports but they are incredibly calm at times.

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  3. Jennifer,
    I completely agree with most of your list. However, being at a southern airport makes snow a BAD thing since our only snow removal equipment is 93 million miles away! (For those who don’t get that subtle humor, it’s the sun…)

    I can also add to that list:

    12. Pilots. They’re an interesting breed of people, and like everyone else, they come from all walks of life. But their outlook is much different then we landbound folks, because they get to see the world from views most of us only dream about. Some are friendly, some aren’t. Some like to banter over the radio with the ground & tower controllers (or other pilots) when flight planning, getting their clearance, or taxiing. Others are all business. If they’re flying an interesting aircraft, they usually aren’t reluctant to talk about how lucky they are to be flying it, and allowing others to check it out. We once had an Army Apache come in for fuel, and the tower called down ask if a batch of new controllers could come check it out. They then called me (Operations) to ask if they could get me to escort them onto the ramp to the Apache. The pilot and weapons officer were both great and gave the tower guys the grand tour just as if they were at an airshow displaying their bird! Nice of them to take the time out to do that.

    13. Being able to drive anywhere on the airfield. As airport operations, I have the run of the airport, including the ramps, taxiways, runways, and all the areas in between. When I’m on duty, the airfield is “mine.” I’m responsible for it to make sure everything is working as advertised in the name of safety. I get to see the airport from vantages that few folks (even the airport leadership) get to enjoy. That makes be truly blessed to know that my bosses have the faith and trust in me to have that latitude and freedom. For an airplane geek, it’s just about the perfect job!

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    • Thanks for reading and for sharing your insights, Jeff! I agree about your additions! And having the freedom to see the airport from a variety of vantage points must be spectacular! As I’ve said before, airports need more airplane geeks – I think we love our airports in ways most folks don’t. 😊

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