Terminal Racket

September 25, 2020

IF YOU’VE BEEN a reader of mine for any length of time, you’re acquainted with my frustrations over airport noise. Things are comparatively quiet at the moment, with most airports conspicuously bereft of passengers, but in normal times it’s noise levels that serve up one of the biggest stress factors in the entire air travel experience: endless public address announcements, wailing babies, chattering TVs, and airport architecture seemingly designed to amplify, rather than quash, the collective racket of hundreds of people.

It’s those public address announcements that are the most aggravating culprit. Ninety percent of them are useless in the first place, and they’re typically delivered at a volume severe enough to shatter windows. And with all the various microphones and speakers targeting different sections of a terminal, it’s not uncommon to hear two or three announcements blaring at the same time.

Those few of any value are presented in such a tautological tangle as to be almost incomprehensible. Why say in ten words what you can say in a hundred? At JFK Airport there’s an announcement that loops around every five minutes or so. It declares: “All areas of the terminal have been designated as smoke-free.” I’ll begin by asking if there’s anyone alive who’d be daft enough to assume they’re permitted to smoke in a crowded terminal, an accommodation you’ll no longer find even at an airport in rural Pakistan. But listen, also, to the language. The entire announcement is unnecessary in the first place, but if you’re going to force it upon us, can you please do it using words your audience will understand? JFK is the ultimate melting pot, and I have a healthy suspicion that, to someone with limited (or no) English skills, a phrase like “designated as smoke-free” has about as much meaning as a bird call.

Then we have the security announcements. Did you know that my hometown airport, Boston-Logan, is home to a program called “SAFE,” or “Security Awareness For Everyone”? I know this because I’m told about it every five minutes while sitting at the gate. “If you see something, say something.” Important advice there. Meanwhile, “TSA has limited the items that may be carried through the security checkpoint,” we are told at Los Angeles International. “Passengers are advised to contact their air carrier.” The pointlessness of this counsel needs no explanation, but to further fray our nerves and damage our hearing, it plays after you’ve gone through security. Indeed, the overseers of LAX have a unique penchant for absurd and gratuitous PAs, including, now, a series of COVID-related bulletins that seem to repeat every four seconds, and a mind-melting cacophony of unintelligible blather that blasts through speakers above the sidewalks, the concrete overhang increasing the decibel level exponentially. Anyone waiting for a hotel shuttle or the rental car bus is left with their ears ringing for days.

Of all the millions of travelers who’ve been subjected to this abuse, I suspect the total number who’ve been in any way influenced or moved to action stands exactly at zero.

And although Americans have a deep cultural affinity for infantilization and condescension — as if every citizen is too stupid to get on an airplane, or to even ride an escalator, without a loudly barked set of instructions — we aren’t the only noisy ones. In the past I’ve gushed over the dramatic architecture of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. “Its central terminal is the most visually spectacular airport building I have ever seen,” I write in my book. “At night, as you approach by highway from the city, it looms out of the darkness like a goliath space station; a vision of glass and light and steel, its immense transoms bathed in blue spotlight.” Duly noted. The trouble is, once in the departure halls you are avalanched by literally hundreds of boarding announcements. BKK is home to over sixty airlines, and flights are leaving constantly, with every departure broadcast repeatedly throughout the concourses, regardless of the gate.

Intensifying this bombardment are those infernal gate-side television monitors blaring CNN Airport Network. These yammering hellboxes are everywhere, and they cannot be turned off. There is no volume control, no power cord, no escape. Every gate has one, and they run twenty-four hours a day. Not even the employees know how to shut them up (believe me, I’ve asked).

And at the risk of taking this too far, have you ever noticed how airport workers who carry walkie-talkies always have the volume dialed as high at it can go? The distance from a person’s hand or back pocket to his or her ears is barely a few feet, yet you can hear those radios crackling from one end of the terminal to the other. Any need or purpose for this has long mystified me.

Ironically, the actual loudest things at an airport — airplanes themselves — are almost never heard, buffered behind walls of glass and concrete. And it’s not until stepping aboard your plane that you can finally savor some silence. Or that’s the idea, anyway. Alas, the airplane cabin has contracted this same scourge. Nowadays, the first twenty minutes of every flight consist of nothing but talking: safety videos that never end, ignored directives on how to stow your luggage, and those manifesto-length promotional speeches that last from the time the landing gear retracts until thirty-thousand feet, often in multiple languages.

On one airline, a pre-recorded briefing plays during descent, telling people to buckle up, stow their tables, shut their laptops and such. The recording ends, and a second later a flight attendant comes on and repeats the entire thing! Bad enough, but winner of the redundancy award are those announcements letting us know that “Flight attendants will now be coming through the aisles to [insert task here].” Seriously, we don’t need a heads-up on what you’re about to do any more than we need to know what color underwear you’re wearing. Simply do it.

All of this sonic pollution does not make passengers more attentive, more satisfied, or keep them better informed. What it does is make an already stressful and nerve-wracking experience that much more uncomfortable.

Copenhagen, we turn our weary ears to you. Not long ago I was working a flight into CPH when one of our passengers left behind a laptop. A flight attendant passed the computer to a gate agent and asked if he could page the person it belonged to. No, sir. Copenhagen is a “quiet airport,” the agent explained. No public address announcements are permitted unless it’s something urgent. That Scandinavian sensibility once again. Peace and quiet. What a concept.

I’m told that San Francisco International is instituting a similar set of rules. I’ll believe it when I (don’t) hear it.


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50 Responses to “Terminal Racket”
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  1. Jay J Becker says:

    Thank you so much for your comments about the announcements, and the lack of courtesy on planes. I have had problems with other passengers, and in one case asked the stewardess to please have a police officer meet us at the jetway upon landing because I didn’t know what that miscreant might do. She said “yes”, but there was no officer there, and I did not see this person upon leaving the plane or at the baggage carousel. One of the causes of violence has to be the fact that people sitting behind you inevitably kick your seat, and don’t stop when asked to stop. Regarding the announcements, you are absolutely right-they are a horror-in the terminal and on the plane. I complained to one airline in a letter a few years ago about the awful video that came on before takeoff which was chock full of hip hop or rap (“music”?) (same shit) and could not be stopped or lowered. Thankfully, I was able to grab my noise cancelling headphones and turn them on. Keep up your great work. I hope the airlines and airport authorities eventually take your advice. The Port Authority of NY takes no one’s advice.

  2. Dr. T says:

    In the medical profession it’s known as alert fatigue. The constant beeping of cardiac monitors has desensitized us to their warnings, to the point where We run the risk of ignoring something important.

    Also, regarding the ubiquitous CNN Airport Network. It could be worse. It could be set to Fox News.

  3. Ian says:

    I used to work with a gentleman who was hard of hearing. He told me that he had a hearing aid but often did not wear it because he found the world too loud. I replied that I knew what he meant and agreed.

  4. Carolyn Piper says:

    I had NO idea! That is truth,for as a deaf person I navigate airports just fine using signage. Thanks Patric for reminding me again that loss of hearing is at times an advantage. Wow! I feel for you hearies!!!!!

  5. Martha Aarons says:

    Patrick, we were once in Copenhagen airport for a long layover. Not only was it quiet, but the multitude offerings of food and shopping were so enticing, we fantasized about going there specifically to spend time in that airport!

  6. Martha Aarons says:

    As a professional musician (classical) I can relate well to the irritation of noise pollution, but also attest to the number it does on ones hearing. We are intimately familiar with earplugs, which are now standard ear-protection for orchestral musicians (as are plexiglass shields in front of the loudest, most directional instruments, to protect those in the line of fire). I would like to echo John (below) about the repeated announcement about parking in front of the terminal–the height of absurdity inside the airport. The same announcement is played in LAX, my original home town. Moreover, I echo the sentiments of those decrying the every-present muzak, not only in airports but virtually everywhere. It’s mind-numbing aural garbage. We have noise-cancelling headphones but before getting those, those cylindrical white foam earplugs worked fine to dull the cacophony in public. We musicians were provided with access to special earplugs made from a mold of our ears, with attenuators that allowed us to hear ourselves and others well enough to play well, but with enough to protect our ears from damage.

  7. John says:

    In Raleigh, NC inside security they play an announcement over and over about not leaving your car unattended in front of the terminal. Really?! At that point I think it’s a little too late.

  8. Ian says:

    The best travel accessory I have ever bought was sound blocking headphones. Expensive but worth it, not only on the plane but in the airport. I suppose it is possible that I might miss some important message, but between the terrible acoustics and dueling announcements I doubt I would ever be able to make it out anyway.

  9. Paul Lynch says:

    I read a story from Manchester Airport where public announcements were banned some years ago except in cases of urgency. A call looking for the person who had come to collect three unaccompanied minors brought a complaint that National Coal Board employees were getting preferential treatment. I still laugh at that story.

  10. Andrew Winters says:

    I flew out of Dulles to Guatemala yesterday and I have never seen or heard a throng of idiots like what I had to endure in terminal D. There must be a lot of pent up demand for air travel because the place was jammed. The noise was unbearable as were the never ending lines for provisions. I yelled at a young guy who, judging by his lack of a mask, had never heard of coronavirus. What a relief to get on to our 737 and head south.

  11. Buff Crone says:

    The first time I flew into Washington National’s new terminal, I thought I’d gone deaf. It was so quiet you could hear murmured conversations. I did some research on the panels they used to dampen sound. The new Denver airport is the opposite. They couldn’t have made it any louder because every single surface is hard and reflective.

  12. Alan Dahl says:

    It seems to me that airport TVs should be silent with some way of streaming the audio to your personal device, why annoy everyone when it’s not needed?

  13. Cynthia Dalmadge says:

    I am glad you have gotten this off your chest, as you speak for all who frequent airports, flying or not.
    My vote for most annoying announcements are ones who use “celebrities”, e.g., “HI!!!! I’m Neil Nobody, and I just want to remind you….” Why? Are these announcements more believable? More important? More personal? No. Stop it.

  14. Julianne Adamik says:

    My favorite is the demonstration on how to use a seatbelt. Really? If, in this day and age, you don’t know how to use a seatbelt you shouldn’t be allowed out of your house, let alone on a airplane!

  15. Nigel Costolloe says:

    Thank you for reiterating the almost painful absurdity of this issue here in the US. I have heard back from the Boston Logan authorities that they have no control over most of the messaging since it is dictated by the FAA but most of the announcements pertain to sheer nonsensical directives that are not actionable by the audience.
    Final calls to board a plane to a packed terminal is one good example.
    So are the parking restriction announcements that follow passengers past TSA and into bathrooms and restaurants.
    And yes, TVs – save us all from this enforced absorption of pablum.
    America used to be held up as the best of what is to come – now it seems like a has-been – disorganized, unresponsive, mindless and soulless. Airports are a microcosm of our society and as such point to a life-sucking future.
    Finally, don’t get me started on the pistol-packing CBP agents who greet me upon my return to my own country as a potential terrorist threat – humorless, robotic, suspicious – Orwell’s 1984 feels alive and well, here in the good old USA.

  16. Mario Amadeo says:

    How can we fight the cacophony? My home airport is TPA. Noise is everywhere! We need to end all those useless announcements and turn off all those annoying TVs!!!

  17. Patrick I consistently admire and enjoy your writing.

    May we have permission to reprint this column about airport noise on GoNOMAD travel?

    We will of course link back to your website.

    this is the kind of writing I really enjoy, especially the specificity you always include.

  18. Fritz Holznagel says:

    Amens for this from here to the moon. Most American airports sound like leaf blowers.

    I recently flew out of Portland, OR with a relative who, as a recent stroke victim, is especially sensitive to noise and mayhem. PDX is blessedly noise-free and it made a huge difference to us. The chance to sit quietly with a cup of coffee during our trip was pure delight. Any “normal” American airport would have destroyed that moment.

    We particularly avoided connecting through Atlanta because the noise there is SO abusive. It makes a big difference.

  19. Bruce says:

    I’ll give a whisper-out (NOT a shout-out) to Changi. There are very few announcements, other than calls for people who’ve forgotten to go to their gate, and changes to gate numbers. There’s also carpeting everywhere, which deadens the noise. There are TVs showing news and sport, but they’re in these circular areas where each seat has its own speaker, so people watching TV can hear the TV, but you can barely hear it as you walk past. It’s so peaceful and relaxing.

    Mainland Chinese airports are awful for noise. Most announcements are made by computer, and are made many, many times. Usually they’re made in Mandarin, English, the language of the place the plane is flying to, and, if applicable, a local dialect. So if you’re in Guangzhou Airport and there’s a flight to Tokyo that’s delayed, the computer will tell you this, at full volume, 20 times an hour, in computer-mangled Mandarin, English, Japanese and Cantonese. It means you never actually notice the announcements that are relevant to you, so it’s counterproductive.

    And, sorry Patrick, but I simply can’t agree with you on Suvarnabhumi. It’s a horrid concrete monstrosity, and an absolute maze to transfer through. The glass roof of the check-in hall made it so hot that check-in staff were using parasols until they eventually fitted sunscreens. And there’s almost no decent food airside. In Thailand! Don Muang might be old and dirty, but at least it works.

  20. Mike says:

    Patrick, do you have any recommendations for gadgets to help lower the noise level for travelers? Something small, so most of the bulky bluetooth headsets are out for me (though plenty of people use them for just that purpose). Do any of the earbuds work for you?

    I once had a set of noise-blocking earmuffs rated at 22 nrr. The cups folded into the headband, making them more portable than most of their ilk, but they still took up a fair bit of room in my bag. I used them a couple times on a roundtrip to Florida. They worked well enough at blocking the noise, but they look only vaguely like headphones. Maybe with some black paint and some decals they’d blend in better with the sea of beats audio that you see standing at most gates today.

    I have no idea when I’m going to get on a plane. I need to get away to somewhere tropical but all of the normal spots are closed to Americans or are COVID hotspots. Hopefully, in 2021, travel will open up again.

  21. Fred says:

    Patrick: My wife recently signed up for Netflix and watched the movie “Airplane!” which I first saw during its first run. I was amazed at how well the way movie makes fund of the airport/airline experience holds up. The movie has a series of announcements about the how to use the loading and unloading zones which hit the mark about these announcements. Instead of CNN blaring, one of the characters uses his martial arts skills to get through a herd of religious recruiters to get to where he is going. I think we need an updated version of Airplane! to take on the security theater, the endless announcements, and the charging extra for everything (“Oh you wanted wings on the airplane? That will be an extra $50 for Bernoulli effect lift structures.) At least Airbus dropped it’s plan for making the passengers travel more or less standing up: https://condenaststore.com/featured/new-ways-to-travel-bruce-mccall.html

  22. Bill Wilson says:

    Thanks for the excellent article, and especially the plug for CPH. Last time I transited there, there were employees walking around with shirts that said, “Please ask me how I can help you” emblazoned on the back. Imagine seeing that at LGA.

  23. Don Beyer says:

    Stop the Music. Why do we need a soundtrack playing everywhere? Listening to crappy loud music sitting on the plane before pushback. Crappy loud music in restaurants and stores. Shopping and eating are meant to be done in quiet. Only the voices of those nearby should be heard.

  24. Victor C. says:

    I thought I was the only one highly irritated by the useless announcements. “My name is John Doe and in just a few moments I will be helping you with the boarding process. We will be boarding by zone blah blah blah … ” This announcement causes an immediate pandemonium in the gate area with almost everyone gathering around the boarding point. This requires a second announcement that everyone ignores. “Please remain sited until you group has been called.” It is too late now. They are not going back to their sits. With monitors and entertainment on-board, the announcements continuously interrupts the film or program you are watching. In my flight yesterday from TJSJ to KATL, there were 22 interruptions. And why do key-in the microphone if you are not sure what you are going to say? “Ladies and gentlemen ah, hum, please ah” microphone off. microphone back on. Lets have quiet!

  25. JD says:

    The worst is Vegas.


  26. Christopher says:

    I absolutely agree with the gist of this post, particularly in the times of COVID air travel. I will say though that noise level experiences seem to be really quite unpredictable, as my latest journey took me on a BNA-ORD-DUB-EDI route and despite having a 7 hour layover to enjoy O’Hare, Dublin was by far the loudest airport I visited. I only had a 2 hour stop there and it was between about 6 and 8 in the morning local time. There was almost no one in the airport other than the 150 or so people transferring off of my flight and yet they still felt the need to blast dueling announcements every 15 minutes (don’t worry, I timed it). One was about face masks and the other was inscrutably some public health ministry of Ireland saying COVID was important and that I should follow instructions provided by signs. Periodically, they also dropped in an announcement about an online COVID tracing form they wanted visitors to fill out and then present to a customs officer (no word on where one might find a customs officer). Nashville was quite loud as well, despite it being similarly early in the morning of the previous day. Chicago managed to be quite bearable, although I can’t rate my experience there highly as the ATS was not in service so I had to leave security and take a bus to Terminal 5, and they were a bit repetitive about something to do with boarding passes at my gate. Might consider earplugs as an amenity on my next trip.

  27. Alan says:

    Thanks for giving us a reference we can use in comments to airports. From now on I will take 2 minutes to leave comments with every airport I pass through about the noise pollution they subject their passengers to and give them a link to this.

    I have been flying through Amsterdam Schipol for decades. They have ONE person who does terminal-wide announcements (like CapCom at NASA). Incredibly the voice and inflection have not changed in all those decades. (I have recordings to prove it.)

    It makes it much easier on the ears and much more effective for important announcements.

    I wish more airports would adopt this practice!

  28. John Wester says:

    Waaaay back in the day I wrote this about a flight YYC-BOM via FRA and made these notes:

    “To get between terminals you jump on this LRT thingy. This whisks you away and thankfully the Germans have resisted the siren call of voice synthesis. Unlike Denver and Atlanta, Frankfurt’s little railway doesn’t bombard you with: “The train is leaving the station” and “The train is arriving” and “The train is stopping, please hang on” Instead, just a perfunctory announcement that you are at Terminal C.

    I guess that the Frankfurters figure that if you can’t tell that the train is doing something that trains have a normal tendency to do like starting, slowing down, or stopping then you probably are incapable of doing something simple, like booking an airline ticket, using a telephone, or washing yourself and therefore wouldn’t be at the airport in the first place.

    This was 20 years ago. Nothing has changed.

    I blame tort lawyers

  29. chandelle says:

    I agree but “endless public address announcements” elicited a chuckle because for ages now, in-flight PA has gotten my goat more than anything else – and they seemed to be getting worse by the year, at least until March this year

  30. Ann Derrick says:

    I ALWAYS wear earplugs in airports. They help a lot…. I

  31. Brad Goodwin says:

    “…Passengers must obey all signs and placards…” How is it that the FAA thinks we are too stupid to know how to operate a seatbelt (and require instructions every time), but then makes a needless distinction between signs and placards during the safety speech? I had to look up what a placard is–it is an unlit sign. Why not just say “you must obey all signs”? Do they worry that a passenger might claim s/he doesn’t have to obey because you only said I have obey signs but you didn’t mention placards? Kills me every time…

  32. James Henry says:

    I love this article. Providence RI has been playing the same enhanced security announcement for 15 years—after you go through security. The message provides no useful info.

    It gets worse on the plane. Just as I’ve fallen asleep we get the “we’ve reached cruising altitude and flight attendants will be coming through the cabin.” It’s the most pointless announcement they could make. American has one of the worst: “Now is a good time to begin powering down your larger electronic devices…”. It’s not actually time to power down anything, but it’s a good time to begin thinking about it? What? Then another one when it’s time. In truth, there is so little room on planes, even in first class, very few if any people are actually using a “larger electronic device.” It would be kinder and more effective for the flight attendant to just tell the one person with a laptop to put it away.

  33. Mark says:

    Perfect! Could not have said it better. As an airport employee, I say ‘well said’’
    Here is to hoping someday we will all follow CPH.

  34. Michael Gerard Kennedy says:

    I used to commute to work from Austin to Houston on Continental – 29 minutes. From the “welcome aboard” to parking at the gate there was not ONE FULL MINUTE of silence.

  35. Jay Edmiston says:

    Most of western Europe’s airports are quiet. It’s always a bit of a shock to return to the US with it’s noise and surly border/customs people.

  36. Steve Vey says:

    I agree with you completely on the noise over noise over noise. The CNN TV’s the overlapping of gate announcements, the droll of TSA and Welcome to …. spamming my ears. I rather hear jet engines. One pleasant memory of Airport sounds for me was in McAllen TX. The airport was pretty quiet and relaxed and then over the terminal PA system I hear Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. It made my return home on a turn around trip a pleasant memory.

  37. jorge rivero says:

    This is universal. I went to an Indy Car race and during caution periods, extremely loud music and announcements were blared over the speakers. I love car racing and the engine noise is one of the attractions. Silence will not be tolerated!

  38. Kathy says:

    The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.

  39. I agree. Now please imagine the noise the people on the ground are experiencing under FAA NextGen. I support the aviation industry, but I want the FAA to die a thousand fiery deaths. Never have I seen a bureaucratic institution so relentlessly gaslight hundreds of thousands of Americans the way the FAA does. I’ve been reaching out to FAA NextGen victims in LA, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Baltimore, New York, and Washington DC over the past year. (And Denver and Orlando soon). I’ve interviewed hundreds of them personally, and received thousands of email comments about how their communities are being destroyed by FAA NextGen. These aren’t people who ever experienced a problem with air or noise pollution from airplanes until FAA NextGen, so please don’t say they shouldn’t have moved near an airport. That’s not what happened. There’s a fix to be had here, but the FAA has refused to work with any of the impacted communities, despite lawsuits, multiple request from Congress, etc. Why does the FAA so relentlessly refuse to do anything to fix the problems it creates? http://www.nextgenrelief.org

  40. andyinsdca says:

    OH gawd, THIS. At SAN (my airport), they do the TSA announcement and THEN almost immediately after, almost the same announcement (male vs female voice). And of course,the BLASTING of CNN/MSNBC or whatever. Once, in the first class lounge at DTW, I had the nerve to turn off the TV (CNN). The attendants at the lounge had a conniption.

  41. Bill Wilson says:

    Once again, a trenchant article by Ask The Pilot. I guess one upside to the pandemic is that many of us haven’t been flying a won’t be for some time to come.

  42. Thomas Duckworth says:

    A friend of mine had a device that would send out every signal to turn off TV’s from every manufacturer. I saw him use it at the airport and a sports bar. One push and ALL the TVs around turned off. It was awesome.

    • Patrick says:

      The gadget you’re referring to was marketed as “TV-B-Gone.” Some years ago, in response to an earlier column I’d written on this same topic, the company sent me one. It worked great, until the TV manufacturers caught on and began installing devices that blocked the TV-B-Gone signal. They will turn off the arrival and departure screens, but NOTHING can turn off CNN Airport Network.

  43. Simon says:

    SFO does indeed do a lot better than many other large US airports. Its international terminal could almost fool you into thinking you’re at an Asian airport. That said, it’s still noisy, TSA checkpoints are shady at best, and the domestic terminals can be cramped and gross. SFO still has ways to go.

    I’m also quite familiar with CPH having spent a few years working in the area. The airport indeed is quieter than most US airports. It also has nice touches like hardwood flooring or large windows to see jets on the apron (not quite as large as ZRH’s though). But CPH is still a very bustling place (small airport, lots of Scandinavians going through “their hub”) and it easily gets crowded. Gates with 25 seats to board 200-seat jets is just so outright stupid there should be public flogging for the people who design it. The one thing I’ll never get over at CPH, is that the moment you enter it smells like hotdogs everywhere courtesy of the countless cart vendors set up at every single corner. The Danes seem to have this incredible urge to eat hotdogs while they down a half dozen beers. The scent of hotdogs (and not very good ones I’m afraid) permeates the entire airport to the point where after spending a few hours there I was certain my clothes still smelled of hotdogs getting off at the next airport. 😉

  44. Simon says:

    I think this is a typical American problem. We always think more is better. So more announcements! And more postings! In the name of CYA every possible warning and message must be broadcast or posted, otherwise you could be in trouble.

    It’s simply unrealistic to assume that it actually serves a purpose. Annoyed travelers simply tune out or don a pair of AirPods Pro to mute it all out.

    Another pet peeve of mine is a gazillion postings. Who seriously thinks I’ll read five sets of posted instructions when I get on a bus? Or enter a store? Or enter a TSA line? *** Nobody. Does. It. *** It serves NO purpose (except for maybe please the shysters, see CYA). But it’s not just an annoyance, it does actual harm. Every once in a while there will be an important message that people should be aware of. But nobody will ever see it because we’ve become accustomed to just walk beyond the barrage of signs, postings, loudspeaker announcements, etc.

  45. Doctor Duck says:

    At DTW they make a regular announcement, in English and Japanese, that essentially says “If you want to know the time, look at a clock.” Life tip, there.

  46. Lurk says:

    > …have you ever noticed how airport workers who carry walkie-talkies
    > always have the volume dialed as high at it can go?

    To cut through all the background din you describe? It may have improved, but walkie-talkie speech quality never used to be that great and if you’re trying to listen to a choppy voice signal in a noisy environment…

  47. MankyDad says:

    At Denver I can hear announcements from throughout the terminal EXCEPT for the gate I am sitting at! I’m surprised to see people lining up!

  48. rich says:

    Why does this happen? Because a bunch of people earn a fat paycheck from it

    Why is CNN inflicted on air travelers? Because nobody would voluntarily turn on that total claptrap!

  49. Jason says:

    You left out one of the in-flight announcements that makes my blood boil every time – the advertising.

    Some bean counter at an airline realized one day that passengers can’t go anywhere. Why not try to sell them an airline branded credit card? This is why I don’t go to the movies anymore (even before Covid). I will not be subjected to advertisements when I have paid for something, and doing it to captive aircraft passengers reaches the level of inhumane.

    I fly planes for a living (not airliners), and I plan on never flying commercial again once I retire because of the myriad bits of unpleasantness. From the drive to airport, the terminal experience and the actual ride we seem to have done everything we can to make flying unpleasant. And I say this as someone who loves flight.