One of the most exciting things about airports are the planes themselves. You would be hard pressed in any airport terminal to find the windows free of children who are fascinated by the activity outside. Interestingly enough, many of the parents seem to enjoy the sights just as much.
Once upon a time, I used to visit the airport just to see the planes after my grandfather gave me two model planes as a gift. That TWA 727 and Pan Am 707 are responsible for a lot.
You’d Go To The Airport Just To Look At Planes?
Throughout the world you used to be able to go to the airport and all the way to the gates whenever you wanted to. This meant that you could see the planes at the gates, hear all the announcements and watch the world go by. Views out the window looked like this.
Now there are different security requirements around the world, so it is not possible to go all the way to the gate any longer. It is farewell to friends inside the terminal or at the kerb. Meeting arriving passengers after they have collected baggage. There is no real reason to linger at the airport anymore.
Going All The Way To The Gate Is Still Possible!
I am originally from Australia and in some airport terminals it is still possible to go all the way to the gate whenever you want. How is this possible? What about security? Are they crazy down under?
Stand alone domestic terminals such as in Sydney for both Qantas and Virgin Australia permit anyone to go to the gate. Everyone goes through security screening which is fast and efficient. It means children can still do what I did when I was a kid.
Visiting the airport is still a day out for the family. Indeed, it is still possible to meet people directly off their flight. Nothing compares to walking up the jet bridge to see a line of people flanking each side waiting for their visitor. It’s almost like your very own honour guard!
Once you find your people, you all go to baggage claim together. This makes baggage claim less of a boring chore and more of a social chit chat session while waiting for bags to arrive. Another advantage is airline lounges. At Qantas, you can still bring guests into the lounge who are not travelling. Fantastic!
It really is a shame that you need to be travelling in order to go through security to the gates. Airports are much more interesting from airside considering that is where the views are. Airports should be designed so that all people are allowed to go through to the gates if they want to. It will never happen as there are many other issues to be considered – but in Australia it works very well.
Do you remember going through to the gates? Are you Australian and do this all the time? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Md Farhad Rahman. All images via Wikimedia Commons.