Airports Are Beautiful in the Morning

Here I am at Perth Airport in Western Australia waiting to catch a flight to Broome in the Kimberleys.

I got here early because my wife dropped me off on her way to work, and I’m sitting by a window overlooking the concourse just watching all the activity as planes arrive, are readied for flight and finally depart. It’s a hive of activity, and for a person who is a bit of a plane nut, totally fascinating.

Ok, I may be a bore because I am interested in watching planes, but I am still amazed at how far humankind has come to develop the technology which puts great hunks of metal, some of which weigh hundred of tonnes, into the air to carry passengers thousands of kilometres at great speed, at a height which exceeds the Earth’s tallest mountain, and to do it relatively safely and even (occasionally) comfortably.

I added the `occasionally’ in brackets because the very thing that has made air travel more affordable for people, cheap air fares, has seen many airlines reduce their passenger comfort standards in order to make air travel a viable form of transport for most people.

In fact, airlines have probably traded passenger comfort for efficiency, particularly as the glamour that was once associated with flying was eroded long ago once flying became common and, in many cases, a necessity.

On this lovely, sunny morning, the airport is actually a good place to be.

The sun glistens off aircraft metal fuselages, I witnessed a magnificent sunrise as good old sol edged up from the Darling Ranges in the near distance. I can sit here with a hot drink enjoying the view, and also enjoying the people watching, which I also do when I come to airports.

There are thousands of people here, each with a different agenda, and most for a particular reason for travelling today. Many are travelling for work, others will be travelling for pleasure, some will be travelling for pressing personal reasons, others for reasons I couldn’t even guess.

A decent sized airport is very like a small city. All things considered, it does take much organisation to run an airport. Merely dealing with the mass handling of luggage is a major undertaking. All these people going to different parts of the world who expect their luggage to disappear along a conveyor belt and miraculously turn up on time, on the same plane as them, in some far flung destination. That sort of efficiency entails some seriously clever management, especially as luggage can change planes at distant airports, sight unseen by its owner, and still usually turn up in the right place at the correct time.

Today the airport is not only enjoyable, but it’s inspired me to consider just how complicated my simply trip to Broome is, and to think of the incredible structure that is in place just to ensure that I have the beginning to a good holiday.

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