I’m in Jacksonville, Florida right now, visiting a friend and getting ready to see Jason Mraz tonight. (This is the final stop of my 2008 Friends & Family tour, where I have visited people I haven’t seen in years, and taken them to a Jason Mraz concert.)
I wasn’t supposed to get to Jacksonville until last Saturday evening, but a kind airline agent was able to eliminate a six-hour layover in Atlanta for me and get me in several hours earlier. It did mean that I have about five hours to kill in San Francisco though, and an hour in Chicago.
But you know what? It wasn’t that bad.
Airports have come a long way. Prices may still be ridiculously high for a bottle of water, but eating options are getting more varied, and so is the sightseeing.
At SFO I took in a large sci-fi display. It was spread among a couple dozen cases in the United terminal and included old rocket ship toys and robots from the 1950s and 60s, plus games, books, records and bunches of other fun things to look at. It reminded me of Seattle’s sci-fi museum, which I just visited a few weeks ago, and while it wasn’t nearly as big, it was just one of the free things airports are putting out there to amuse you.
In Chicago they have more room to work with, so of course there’s a four-story tall model of a Brachiosaurus, donated by the local Field Museum, among the food stands and shops. There’s also a real WWII fighter plane included in an exhibit about Butch O’Hare, the guy O’Hare Airport was named for. Look up in the hallway on your way to the E and F gates to enjoy some dazzling glass art, or have a seat on one of the colorful benches, painted by local students.
The Jacksonville airport didn’t have quite as many sights, although they do have a Cinnabon, which is all I really want to see after a night of flying.
What’s your favorite airport to waste time in?