Random Musings (and associated non sequiturs) v. 3.0


Driving from Chicago to Indiana is almost impossible with out paying tolls. I’m sure it can be done, but not without some sort of informal toll, like “Give me all your money” sorts of tolls.


I’m quite familiar with tolls - I use a toll road every day to get to work, and when we travel most places in the state (I-90 is a toll road across most of NY). But the per-mile cost of the PA Turnpike was insanely high IMHO. I-90 is roughly half the cost.


Bridge toll for the Golden Gate is up to $8. :frowning:


For your edification



Allentown technically has an international airport (Lehigh Valley International Airport).
No one flies there, though. I think it’s mostly cargo flights.

(Used to live near Allentown. Spent summers loading air cargo containers for a printing plant/USPS facility.)


20 years ago, my boss at my summer job at GE called Albany’s airport Albany Intergalactic Airport because, despite being an “international” airport it had just as many intergalactic flights as it does international.

I think “international” is usually applied to airports where it’s possible to process flights with customs/ICE and there’s no guarantee that there are actual international flights.


Yeah, when I was living there (late 90s) it got reclassified and to my understanding it was mainly for a few specific cargo flight needs or similar.

Never flew out of/into there… But then again I didn’t fly much in that era.

My wife and I have said we’re spoiled as we currently live in ‘reasonable’ proximity to 3 airports. BWI is my usual first choice, but Dulles and National are viable, if different flavors of annoying.


Truth. When I was a kid, we lived in Bowie, and my grandparents were there after we moved away. I still have family near there. I very much prefer BWI.

I just checked United to ABE. No nonstop service - connections through Air Wisconsin or United Express Bus Service. Sooo, yeah, that would be why it wasn’t an option.


Lindbergh Field here in San Diego is designated an international airport. But most international flights will connect through LAX, SFO, or DFW. The only airline that actually flies international direct from SAN is Aeromexico.


Apparently, no international passenger flights there right now. From the airport website:


Once upon a time, I believe that it was possible to get a direct flight from ABE to YYZ (Toronto Pearson) which was reason enough for the infrastructure to allow for the moniker “Int’l”. I think the same could be said for AVP (Wilkes-Barre, Scranton) but I’m pretty sure all of those were discontinued in the mid-90s if not earlier.

So, while they probably still could process International traffic, it would be cost-prohibitive.


Anyone got any thoughts on favorite/least favorite airports?

I have an emotional fondness for Dulles from the one time I flew as a child. I also think the Mobile Lounge is an interesting thing to exist, but it looks like it shut down years ago. The Mobile Lounge was, I’ve heard, once intended to be kind of 70s swanky with actual lounge stuff included. So a small, mobile, bar that drives back and forth all day.

But realistically I go to BWI if I fly or, a few years ago, some semi-regular train trips. BWI has a surprisingly convenient Amtrak station (at least if you’re already at the airport, and have a car or like shuttle buses). While I complain about the shuttle buses to get around parking, they’re not that bad as long as you aren’t in a hurry.

I’ve had bad experiences at National (Reagan to some, but I was born in the DC Metro, and refuse to change). The airport is surprisingly small and nice enough, but the approach from some directions can be… not fun. There’s an approach where planes make a sharp left and while I’m sure it’s hundreds of feet, it looks like the plane is about to hit the water.

Also, Miami. I had to travel there for work last year, and I felt like an altitude chart of my non-existent fitness chapter would have had an odd saw-tooth shape as I went up and down way too many times.


My favorite is the Santa Rosa airport. It’s small, convenient, and not crowded. I’m planning on flying out and back in from there for my trip in April. You have to transfer flights since it’s not international, but the convenience is worth it.

The Vancouver airport was beautiful.

Narita is huge. If you have to change flights there, be sure you have 20 minutes to get from one part to the other, which may well included shuttle rides.

San Francisco is hectic, make sure you arrive at least 2 hours before your flight.

Honolulu is a lot like San Francisco

Oakland is better than San Francisco because it’s not an international airport, but you have to go through some rough neighbourhoods to get there.

Nothing stood out to me about London, Dublin, or Paris airports.

I’ll have to let you know about Osaka, Wellington, and Rotorua after I’ve been there. :wink:


Which of them :stuck_out_tongue: We’ve got Gatwick (urgh), City (ummm), Heathrow (not bad), and two further afield.

For me, let’s see…

Singapore Changi is really nice. I can’t find anything, other than it’s so damn far away, to complain about.

London City is good in that it’s a business hub, so there’s no lost tourists wandering around. It’s a bit cramped though (but they’re fixing that) and the arrival angles are quite steep, then the landing involves much slamming on of breaks. Takeoff is just as interesting. I prefer London Heathrow overall though, if nothing else there’s actually a choice of food.

Beyond that, they’re airports (or possibly I’ve been to too many airports) :man_shrugging: Some have good food (at least by airport standards), and some have really good transport links. Some even are within 30 minutes of the city, which is awesome :smiley: Mostly it’s just a fuzzy blur for me - I’ve done 13 airports in the UK, 9 in mainland Europe, 8 in the US, and three elsewhere - that I remember anyway.

In the US, Dulles does stick in my memory out because of those crazy “plane mate” things, and having the air and space museum nearby.


Heathrow. I knew there were two, but couldn’t remember the name until you mentioned the two of them.
Edit: Paris was Charles deGaul aiport.


The Udvar-Hazdy is the saving grace for Dulles. If they’d get a Metro line to it it might be helpful, too.

I didn’t know Dulles still used the Plane-Mate and I’m guessing it’s for limited flights due to capacity. Dulles has a definite ‘old’ feel. It’s that ‘futuristic’ 60’s design that looks very aged. At best, most airports I’ve visited look like a shopping mall. Dulles looks kind of like an old shopping mall.


I, too, flew into Dulles when I was a child. Several times, actually, even though it was a lot farther from Bowie than BWI. That was back when the mobile lounges were used for just about every boarding event. From what I understand, they’re still in limited use, but have largely been replaced by jetway bridges and a train to the other concourses. I always liked the architecture, though.

I flew into National a few years ago, because I had an appointment in DC for business, and it was fine. I spent an extra day in the area, visiting family, then flew out of BWI.

DFW is almost always a pain in the ass. It is especially bad if you’re connecting through DFW, but even on the rare occasion where I’ve needed to fly to Dallas, it was a less than pleasant experience.


To me, Honolulu is neat because so much of it is open air. I didn’t have any problem getting around, and I don’t remember it being super busy, but that was over 15 years ago.

Denver is wacky, like they let the designers go just a little too crazy trying out new things, but it ended up being more complicated than it needs to be.

IAH is my home airport, and while I’m used to it, they layout leaves something to be desired - it can be confusing to navigate. They’ve done some renovating to the oldest parts, but it is obvious that it has been added onto many times. On the bright side, expansion was planned for, so they left plenty of available space, and the inter-terminal train will take you from one end to the other.
Hobby is closer to Keep, but too far away to be convenient for me, and you have to drive through the hood to get there. That’s why Southwest is the last airline I check when I need to fly somewhere.

McCarran in Vegas is crazy. The security lines are consistently awful - probably worse on their best day than Denver on their worst. Once you get past that, it isn’t too bad, but could be easier to navigate. The overall food selections leaves much to be desired, but there is one really good burger place. I’m guessing that people turning into slot machine zombies and missing their flights is a daily occurrence.

The best airport food I’ve ever had was at MSY - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport - and oddly enough, Memphis.


BWI - not bad. Had to run from one terminal to the other back in November due to a late inbound flight and tight schedule.

IAD - only been there once, I recall running through it for my connection loaded down with both my carry-on and my co-workers as she had a brutal sinus infection. Luggage didn’t make the connection.

DTW - very nice

MSP - nice

SEA - pretty nice, but the terminal restroom I had to use on my last trip was appalling.


DCA - Never been

SYR - Currently remodeling and it’s worse than usual. The “airlocks” that prevent people from entering the terminal via the exit are stupid.

SFO - Don’t recall

LAS - Been a long time, but gaudy.

BOS - Almost got stuck there in a snowstorm. Uncomfortable

ORD - I like it, and unlike everyone else I know, I haven’t had any significant problems there.

ATL - Only been once, I guess it was OK.

ROC, ALB, BUF - About what you’d expect from places that are big enough to have international airports, yet small enough to have crappy flight options to anywhere that isn’t an east coast hub (and even those are priced terribly).

PHL - Only been once, they were remodeling. Held the plane for us on the connecting flight because nearly everyone on that flight was coming off the late plane I was on.


SAN (San Diego) is my home airport. It’s fairly small for a major city and only has one runway but at least they’re expanding Terminal 2 now so hopefully that helps. It’s located just north of downtown so it has this fun approach where you practically skim the tops of buildings on your way in. I imagine that’s got to be nerve-wracking landing for a rookie pilot. You take off over the ocean though, so there’s that.

LAX- The seventh circle of hell. I hate this damn airport

SFO- Agree with everything @Nabiki said. Beautiful but hectic.

SJC- Take SFO, make it about a third the size, then take away everything charming about it and you get the San Jose airport.

SEA- Meh. Nothing special. Easy to navigate though.

DEN- I agree it’s very wacky.

LAS- Most of my recent experience is picking people up from here. I mostly drive to Vegas these days because it’s only a five hour drive and flying isn’t as cheap as it used to be. I don’t remember it being too bad though.

PHX- Crowded AF the one time I was there. Took a while to get to my connecting flight.

DFW- One word. Big. Plan on spending some time here. It’s going to take a while.

IAH- Big like DFW but not as spread out. The AC conked out in the gate area while we were waiting for our connection. In early August. Not fun.

ORD- I actually had a pleasant experience connecting here. Very unlike the horror stories I had heard.

MDW- This airport is straight ghetto.

STL- Only been here once but it sucked.

MKE- Meh. Standard airport for a second tier market.

IND- See Milwaukee

RNO- See Milwaukee, Indianapolis

EWR- Heard lots of horror stories but had a decent experience. However we only flew into this airport because we were going to a wedding in Jersey. Next time we visit the area we’re flying into JFK.

IAD- @balance is correct in that it looks dated but I didn’t have any problems here.

HNL- Got that open air island feel to parts of the place. Kind of dated though. Looks like it’s stuck in the 70s or early 80s.

OGG- Even more open air than Honolulu with that relaxed Maui vibe.


McCarran is kind of a mess. Then again, I feel like they deal with so many people who don’t want to admit that their vacation is over and maybe they should’ve sobered up before hitting the flight home.

MSY seemed very “laid back” compared to others I’ve seen. We didn’t eat there… And we ate all over New Orleans on our trip.

MCO (Orlando, Florida) is consistently nice, in part because it’s probably 80%+ tourist traffic. It feels small, even if it isn’t. It’s also amusing how much Disney influence there is. Besides their own gift shop, they have a massive space for their Magic Express shuttle service.

We flew in to Fort Meyers airport which is surprisingly small one time. We almost lost our luggage because they unloaded it so fast! Apparently in the 10-15 minutes it took us to walk from the gate, take a potty break, the mandatory “on vacation” selfies, and walk to the baggage claim they totally unloaded our flight and it cleared out. We actually had to find the office for our airline to get our bags.