COLUMN: Dear airports, I hate you- love me


Trent Jonas

Trent Jonas is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Trent Jonas, Columnist

As I write this, I am sitting in an airport. 

Airports are places of contradiction for me. On the one hand, they symbolize adventure, exploration, and the promise of new experiences. On the other hand, the actual experience of being in an airport is often stressful, frustrating, and anxiety-inducing. 

I love the excitement of arriving at an airport, knowing that I am about to embark on a journey to a new place. The hustle and bustle of people rushing around with their luggage, the scent of coffee and booze and Cinnabon wafting through the air, the announcement of flights departing to exotic destinations—and the frantic calls for the passengers missing those flights. 

All these things fill me with a sense of anticipation and possibility. But then the reality sets in.  

Long lines, anal… er- security checks, and endless waiting can quickly turn that excitement into frustration. Even the most organized and prepared traveler can find themselves caught in a never-ending queue, forced to remove their shoes, belts, and jackets, (sometimes the pants just go due to lack of support), and have their bags inspected multiple times.  

It is enough to make anyone question whether the journey is worth the hassle. 

And it is not just the security process that can be a headache. Flight delays, cancellations, and overbooking can all disrupt travel plans and cause unnecessary stress. It is common to see people pacing nervously in front of departure boards, checking, and rechecking their flight information, hoping against hope that their flight will leave on time. 

Despite these challenges, airports continue to fascinate me. They are a testament to human ingenuity, engineering, and design. The scale and complexity of modern airports is awe-inspiring, with countless planes arriving and departing every day, and millions of passengers walking in and out of their doors—and a surprisingly small number of them fall out of the sky to their certain deaths. 

But even as I admire the logistical mastery of airport operations, I cannot help but feel a sense of unease. Airports are also a hub for a range of social and political issues, from the debate around airline safety and security measures to the ethics of air travel itself.

The environmental impact of air travel is also a growing concern, with many people questioning whether the benefits of flying outweigh the costs to the planet or my sanity. 

Despite these concerns, I see they are a means to an end when exploring the world. But they are also a symbol of the complexities and contradictions of modern life—the tension between convenience and responsibility, the desire for adventure and the need for safety, the lure of progress and the cost of progress.   

And hey, there is nothing we can do about climate change now anyway, right? 

Trent Jonas is a graduate student in English. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.