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Airports need Psychiatrists

Tremendous Travel

I LOVE airports!  I enjoy airports almost as much as I enjoy visiting new cities and exploring.  Every time I fly for business or pleasure, I’m reminded how spectacular my life is.

So let me explain why airports rock.  Well  for one, you are offered this strange sensation of solitude and togetherness all mixed into one.  It makes for some pretty interesting situations.  While waiting in line, or at the terminal, or actually on the plane, I always have a choice of meeting new people I never would have met otherwise.  Or I can decide that it’s time for some alone time with my music, the news, or my favorite library book.

So you see, the airport offers some of life’s greatest pleasures while you are waiting to get to a destination you presumably want/need to get to.  But when I’m really looking for a good time at the airport, all I have to do is people-watch.  I’m not sure why it happens, but almost everyone else stress level goes crazy! (except mine, I guess).  The possibility of missing a flight seems to get most folks so on edge that they can’t even enjoy a good book.

While people-watching, you actually start to understand a little bit more about what makes people tick.  Once your average Joe’s stress levels have been excited, their true, unfiltered self starts to peak through.  Once the voice comes over the intercom announcing that there will be delays, it’s a bit like watching a pride of caged lions catch sight of a tasty lamb just on the other side of their cage.  All the rules of society go out the window, and the complaining begins!

“I’m going to be late for my meeting!”, “I’m going to miss my connecting flight!”, “I have to wait two more hours!!!”.  As the complaints start to fly, I just settle in and do a little meditation.  In our busy lives, when else do you just get time to sit and relax.  While these complaining folks are taking years off their lives by increasing their own stress levels, I am getting some much needed me-time.

I find it incredible that these same individuals can hold down full time jobs, figure out how to get to the airport, and show up fully clothed, but they haven’t figured out how to deal with a delay.  They also, apparently are morally against showing up early and “wasting” a little bit of time in the name of relaxation.

Airport Add-ons

So what does this all have to to with cash?  Well not a whole lot so far, but hold on.  Although I have no stats to back me up, I would guess that airport restaurants are among the most profitable food services anywhere.  They charge exorbitant amounts for a bottle of water, or a bag of chips… and these stressed out, pissed off travelers are willing to pay it!

I always bring a little bag of pretzels from my pantry at home, a banana, as well as an empty water bottle that I fill up at the drinking fountain.  This habit may seem like insignificant savings, but consider the alternative.  $7.50 for a small sandwich as well as $3.50 for a bottle of water.  I’m able to save $11 every time I fly, and my stress level is decreased even further because I know that I’m not being price gouged.

Frequent airport visitors seem to be willing to pay almost any amount for food or trinkets that they would never buy a mere 50 yards outside the airport’s entrance.  Now part of this can be explained by the fact that business travelers don’t care how much the spend because the company is footing the bill (although they should still care…), but even vacationers fall into this ridiculous trap.
Anyway, back to the title of my post.  Don’t you think airports would actually turn a tidy profit by adding psychiatrists to their payroll?  This is clearly meant to be facetious, but come on!  It constantly amazes me how people let external factors, like delays and strikes, affect how happy they are internally.  I’m pretty sure if you decide that you will be optimistic in a bad situation, things tend to work out in the end.  Plus you don’t let retailers price gouge you just because you’re stressed!

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