Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hanging out at LAX

Though my Continental flight to Houston wasn't leaving Los Angeles until nearly 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the airport shuttle was set to pick me up at the Simpson House Inn at 9:40 a.m.

It was late enough to be able to enjoy a nice big breakfast but, alas, too early to do anything else before leaving Santa Barbara.

Instead of dwelling on how much I didn't like this schedule, I decided to focus on the opportunity to spend some time at LAX, look around and see what all was there. I was hoping, of course, to come away thinking of LAX as a really great airport — the kind that's fun to hang out in. Well...!

To me a really great airport is designed to entertain passengers and distinguished by a few key things: Directional signs are easy to find and follow. Security  lines are short. The bathrooms are clean. The restaurants are trendy and feature good, regional fare. Retail shops are plentiful and sell both national brands and local specialities.

I was flying out of Terminal 6, so it is my point of reference. What I found there is the reason I do not, at this moment, consider LAX a great airport.

The terminal was old and tired-looking. Fortunately, it was undergoing a much-needed, major renovation, But, getting around the construction was difficult. Finding the which-way-to-go signs was too. The bathrooms were unkept, as if abandoned. There were no stores to shop in.

The options for dining were limited. I had hoped to find a good locally owned restaurant and dine leisurely on something that included fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, I had to settle for an Italian BMT on whole wheat from Subway. The sandwich was good, and it satisfied my need for nourishment. But, what a missed opportunity!

I can only hope things change soon at Terminal 6. Right now, the place is depressing — and just not any fun to hang out in.

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