Thursday, January 6, 2011

Houston, We Have a Problem

My obsession with airports might be a problem... depending on how you look at it. I could think of much worse problems to have though. For as long as I can remember I've had this crazy infatuation small obsession with airports. It's not unusual for me to go out of my way to book an airline ticket with a long layover somewhere just so I can people watch and soak up a new dynamic airport environment. Airports fascinate me, and I want to see as many of them as I can.

Getting stranded in an airport, which would be a nightmare for most people, would be a dream come true for me. When the Denver airport shutdown due to a blizzard a few years ago, I secretly wished I had been one of those 'lucky' passengers. I mean... how many people in life get to say that they were able to spend a few nights in an airport?! (and we're not talking the airport hotel) Besides maybe Tom Hanks's character, Viktor, in the movie The Terminal and all of those Denver passengers over Christmas in 2006. To me, the airport is like a thriving little city just waiting to zoom people off to their next destination! I keep thinking that one of these days I'll get 'lucky' enough to spend the night in an airport.

Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: Feb 26, 2010

I would love to travel the world if even just to see all of the airports out there! Just recently, Nate and I visited Michigan for Christmas, and I spent a few hours at the Detroit airport during our return trip home. Most of that time was spent taking pictures of the airport with the amazing DSLR camera that I borrowed from our wedding photographer. (I did not upload any of my pics yet). Airport architecture never ceases to amaze me. A few years ago I even read this really interesting book, called Naked Airport, so that I could learn even more about the cultural history of airports. *Nerd alert* Even nerdier... I know many more airport codes than the average human should. When I helped a friend of mine, who's a flight attendant for Frontier, study for her tests, I knew more of the airport codes than she did... and I wasn't getting paid to know them. Super nerdy, huh? I definitely love everything about airports. (Except for maybe the restrooms. Ew!) Airports are buildings seen by so many people that they seem to compete with each other for most amazing structure. The competition to have a world class airport definitely makes them interesting and fun to explore.

Here are some of my favorites:

Houston's George Bush
Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Terminal E
photo credit: Cambridge Architectural

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
McNamara Terminal
photo credit: here

Denver International (DIA)
The Jeppesen Terminal
photo credit: John Picken

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The airports above are a few of my favorites, and they're a small selection of the ones that I have visited. My criteria for liking an airport is not very difficult to meet. If there's a good place to for people watching I'm pretty happy. Trains, trams, and people movers are also a fun addition to any terminal and concourse. Airports with a lot of natural light also seem to make the top of my list... skylights, windows, and multi-story height spaces are great! Give me something to look at while I'm there.

Have you passed through any of the above airports? What is your favorite... or least favorite airport?


  1. Yes you are truly an architect at heart. Waiting in airports takes a special kind of patience. Wish I had it! The people watching is fun though.

    I'd have to say Heathrow is my fave because of the shopping. Why don't more airports take advantage of a captive audience by having better stores?

  2. I would have to agree Heathrow has great shopping! (: Unfortunately I don't have any good pics of LHR... I spent a few hours there waiting for a connection, but did not take any pics. It would be fun to see more great shopping at airports.

    The architect side of me definitely appreciates airports. I'm hoping to upload some pics I took of the Detroit airport soon. Oddly enough one kind of patience I'm good at is patience at airports. (;