Pearson Airport - step up to the plate fergawdsake...Intercontinental iPads...
I really should go easy on them sometimes. I really should change my tune now and then so as to not get too predictable.
So I'll actually give the folks at Pearson Airport here in Toronto a small kudo, if that's a proper word and I don't think it is but I like it so too bad: they have done a much better job with luggage handling the last couple times I came home. There. I said something nice. The baggage handling has usually been terrible in the past, but the last couple times my bags have arrived reasonably soon. So maybe they've made improvements.
But,looking at a nice story today in the travel section of USA Today (USA Today today?? USA Today squared??), I see an old complaint of mine rearing its ugly, ferocious, morning-hair, hangover-looking head, and that's wi-fi.
Here's Pearson, lugging along with a pretty standard and boring airport compared to many in the world, and we still have to pay for wi-fi. And don't even get me started on the $2 charge they slap on you to borrow a luggage cart. That's probably more appalling, as you could at least make the argument that people with laptops have slightly more money than your average consumer. If I had my first pick, I'd say make the luggage carts free, as they seem to in many if not most airports around the world. But if Pearson wants to make a name for itself, it should follow places like Vancouver, Boston and Seattle and provide free wireless signals. Passengers have a choice on where to go and what airports to use, and the more Pearson can do to set itself apart the better off it'll be.
And, while we're at it, how about making the airport a bit more Canadian? We DO have Tim Hortons, yes, but
it would be nice to have a bit more of a "local flavour." Charlotte has become famous (well, perhaps "well-known in travel circles" is a better phrase) for having rocking chairs in the terminal for folks who want to sit a spell. Why not a few dozen Muskoka chairs at Pearson? They have some down at that artificial beach on Lake Ontario at Harbourfront, why not inside the terminal at Toronto's main airport? How much would it cost? Maybe even sprinkle some paintings of the Group of Seven on a couple walls while you're at it.
A good hotel, I say, should always give you a sense of place. The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino uses dozens of natural products inside its rooms and public spaces and you just know exactly where you are. Ditto for Hotel Hana Maui on my favourite island in Hawaii. Why can't an airport do the same thing?
Even if Pearson didn't go all Canadian on us, a few little perks would help. In Jacksonville, they gave out 1,500 red and white carnations on Valentine's Day. In Amsterdam they have full lounge chairs at Schiphol Airport that are almost like a chaise lounge. Nashville and Portland, Oregon have live musicians to entertain folks near security. In Tahiti, there's a band of local musicians playing swaying, South Pacific tunes when passengers get off the airplane. I'm not suggesting Pearson hire the Tragically Hip to serenade folks at Terminal 1. I think folks from China, or even Indianapolis, might get a little confused by hearing Gord Downie singing about a girl who helps him loosen his grip on Bobby Orr. But there have got to be a lot of buskers hanging out in the subway system who might want to try a gig at Pearson some time.
Food for thought, guys.
The L.A. Times reports that Intercontinental Hotels is giving iPads to their concierge crew at four of their 166 hotels: the New York Barclay, Atlanta Buckhead, London Park Lane and Intercontinental Hong Kong. Sounds like another good, forward-thinking group of business people. If nothing else, they know how to capitalize on the iPad "craze."
Personally, I don't see what an iPad would do for me. I have a laptop, and I have a Blackberry and I have an iPod that's actually an iTouch device with wireless capability I've never used, although I really should. What would an iPad do for me? If anyone out there is reading - not you, Dad, sorry - I'd love to know. And if you know of any applications (I refuse to use the word "apps") for my iTouch that I really should be using, I'd love to hear about them. Thanks. email is email@example.com. Or you can leave a comment here on the old blog.JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY...brought to you by travelalerts.ca