April 28, 2020.   Open Spaces.

In normal times, the nation’s airport terminals are among its most uncomfortable public spaces: crowded, claustrophobic, and noisy to the point of assault, filled with the racket of screeching kids and public address announcements. You would think, therefore, that a stroll through an airport in the throes of COVID-induced isolation would be a pleasant one — a chance for those few remaining travelers to savor some peace and quiet.

But for me, during a couple of recent airport visits, that’s not how it happened. I didn’t feel any sense of solitude or relaxation. What I felt was shock and horror: the full crush of the COVID fiasco manifest through desolation and emptiness. If you want an idea of just how massively this crisis has impacted commercial aviation, behold the airport in April, 2020.

Last week in Boston, on what ordinarily would be a busy Thursday evening, I walked from Terminal A to Terminal C. I did not see another person. Neither a passenger nor an employee. A few days later I found myself standing in the check-in lobby at JFK’s Terminal 4, gazing across row after row of empty kiosks and counters. Again, not one other person in view. It was eerie, haunting, and, from this employee’s perspective, terrifying. How any airline will survive this is beyond me. I took some pictures:


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