My Favorite Airport: A Visual Ode to DTW.

credit: caribb

A lot of people hate airports. I hate some of them, or bits of some of them. The chaos of LAX, for instance, or the merciless and unavoidable twisting bus ride leading through, around and beneath all the terminals of Paris-Charles de Gaulle. I’m not passionate about Heathrow, JFK, or O’Hare, and I’ve had miserable experiences in Salt Lake, Vegas, Dulles, Frankfurt, Tel Aviv…the list goes not.

But for the most part, I like airports. Again, I especially like bits of airports: the low-ceilinged, yellowy smoking rooms in Atlanta (yes, I like them!), the light-filled baggage claim in Ontario, CA, and the all sorts of things about a host of smaller airports across the country, where the security line is non-existent and the staff is friendly and un-harried. And on a recent quick trip to Michigan (ending one of those pleasantly small airports, Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford) I realized that there is one airport I really love, and enjoy traveling through, and that airport is Detroit’s.

When I left for Logan after a full day of work for a quick two-day trip to Michigan, I was so stressed out I could feel the tension owning my whole body. The stress stayed with me all the way through security in Logan (where I opted out a body scan and was completed with complete politeness and respect by the female security agent who performed my full-body pat-down), through an overpriced beer at an airport bar, and through the whole flight to Detroit, throughout which the large gentleman next to me snored with a ferocity that rendered me both jealous and awed. Dragging myself off the plane to find the gate for my connecting flight, I was in an utterly foul mood.

But then I remembered that I was in Detroit, and after walking along the straight, wide-open and high-ceilinged terminal hallway, I reached the center of McNamara Terminal, and I stood for 15 minutes watching this:

The fountain at Detroit Metro Airport. Credit: richmanwisco

For the full effect, check out this YouTube video of the fountain in action, here. After watching the fountain until I needed to go find my gate, I got to walk through the awesome tunnel which connects Detroit’s terminals, where the colors of the walls and ceiling change to music:

credit: philosophergeek

credit: caribb

credit: blatantgizmo

Here’s a video of that, as well. Needless to say, an hour and a half, one fountain, one tunnel, and one free Junior Frosty later (thanks, Wendy’s!) I left for Grand Rapids on a tiny jet feeling about a million times better than I’d felt when I arrived in Detroit earlier that evening. And that’s pretty damn impressive for an airport. So thanks, DTW. I’ll be seeing you soon!

Born in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York, Margaret has always felt awed by the world’s most beautiful places, and driven to see as many of them as possible. Since graduating from college in 2009, she’s been reading, writing, and wandering across the world indulging in her love of long train rides, learning how to say “excuse me” in as many languages as possible, deciphering time tables and metro maps, and carrying far too many books around in her backpack. Having traveled through parts of the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, she’s decided that feeling properly well-traveled is a bit like feeling truly well-read: practically impossible, but a goal well-worth pursuing anyway!

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  1. Personally, I have a love hate relationship with airports. I love them but they seem to hate me, which means my love for them changes like the tides. Things always seem to go wrong when I fly, for instance my bag only got checked 2/3 of the way to my final destination on my last cross country trip home for the holidays, resulting in a missed flight while trying to re-check my bag and then being told at 7 am that the only other flight to my final destination wasn’t leaving until 5 pm that day. That strained my relationships with Dulles and Delta simultaneously.
    The process of getting through security never bothers me however, in my view it is just something that has to be done and there is no way around it. I prefer to start trips in smaller airports so the lines are shorter but I enjoy flying through big hubs because there is more to do while I wait for my connecting flight. Detroit is always a good time, and San Francisco has their soup company which is a good meal if you like soup, but you have to change terminals and go through security again if you change carriers.
    My airport vernacular has improved quite a bit since I’ve added cross country trips to my schedule, but that doesn’t make up for the hiccoughs in my travel plans as they happen, but I am optimistic that my adventure today will be easy and relaxing as I head back to school.

  2. Linnea, did you read Emily’s post, “Haggling with Airlines”? Sounds a bit like your life. Oh, Delta!

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