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[personal profile] starlady
I really need a Carmen Sandiego icon. As [personal profile] oliviacirce pointed out, I am Carmen Sandiego.

Airports for [personal profile] copracat 

I traveled a lot this year. A lot. I did the math when I got back from Australia last month and it was the next best thing to 85,000 miles in planes, which doesn't count bus, train, and car trips. I think I was in 22 different airports this year. Many were repeat offenders, so it was hard to keep track.

One thing about airports outside the States is that they almost all have a particular kind of flooring, that kind of (pseudo?) marble or shiny polished stone that you never see in U.S. airports. Most U.S. airports have linoleum and/or carpet in my experience. I greatly prefer the carpet like they have in the terminals in MSP. Spoilers: I think MSP is the best airport in the States and one of the best in the world. It has tons of great food, is super convenient, and has lots of coffee. Of the airports that were new to me this year, I have to say that Baltimore BWI was one of the worst--I flew out of there twice and nearly missed my flight the second time because it's so ungodly far from everything. It's not actually that much better than Dulles in that respect, but it also has shitty and/or nonexistent food options. Blech.

One of the bad things about throwing my lot in with Delta irrevocably is that I have self-exiled myself to SFO Terminal 3, which is a benighted cesspool compared to Terminals 1 and particularly 2, which has just been redone with far superior food, drink, and sitting options. All the SFO ads show Terminal 2. Fuck you, SFO. That said, it's great that it's right on the BART (much like National in D.C., which almost makes up for National being an unreconstructed 70s pit), and it's better than freaking SJC, which is far away from everything and has some of the worst baggage service on the continent for no obvious reason, particularly given the miniscule number of people who fly in there. I haven't taken the new OAK airport shuttle yet, but I'm sure as hell not looking forward to the 200% markup on the fare, which was formerly $3. I thought the bus service was fine.

Also, good lord, but LAX is terrible. On the day I flew out of there Delta's computers were down so I waited nearly two hours to check my bags (good thing I made it from Riverside in 45 minutes flat), and then I was in Terminal 5, which is a hellhole with too many people and too few food options at a nearly 200% markup compared to off-airport prices. The Southwest terminal at LAX is nowhere near as bad, and it was the only one I had experience with until then. Terminal 6 was okay, but when I went through there I was too nauseous to appreciate it or the complimentary food and beer on Delta's LAX-SFO shuttle. The Flyaway is okay I guess, but depending on traffic it can be pretty abysmal. I rented my car at Union Station to save $40, and I'd do it again, but damn, the Flyaway can be slow.

I was delayed into Seattle SEA on my way out of the States for the last time so I didn't have time to go the African Lounge in Terminal A and have Mac & Jack's African Amber, a beer so good that the company refuses to sell it in any form but on tap, meaning you can only get it in Seattle and Portland. The African Lounge itself is nothing to write home about, though I absolutely snarfed my nachos there in 2011 after coming home from Japan and three months without cheese. The BLT was okay, at least, and the beer makes it all worth it.

I've now been through Atlanta enough that I have reliably located a place to get a salad (not as easy as you'd think), and I also have a pretty set routine for Narita, which involves eating at Soup Stock before doing basically everything no matter whether I'm going in or out. Given where I live, taking the Narita Express is also only ¥200 more than other options, and though I'd actually never taken it before this year, I've gotten used to it.

For a while there airports and planes were the only places I got any extended reading in, though to some extent that's abated now that I commute by train. And I must say, it's a lot nicer to be doing your reading on a plane in first class or economy comfort, both of which I now get upgraded to occasionally. Anyway. I spend enough time in airports that I try not to hate them, but it's easier to do that in some cases than in others.
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