Thursday, December 19, 2019

Festive trappings.

     One of Chicago's best-kept secrets is that you can park at O'Hare International Airport for $2—for one hour, which is plenty of time to wander in, collect your loved one, and wander out. Given that, why anyone drives to the gate, fighting through masses of cars, half trying to merge into the rightmost lane and get in, half trying to merge into the leftmost lane and get out, through an obstacle course of traffic cops, bags, cabs and assorted distractions, is a mystery. I figure nobody knows they have the option.
     The downside of parking to collect or drop off your charge is that one does spend time standing in the airport. Airports are, as a rule, unlovely places, particularly the baggage claim area. And in that light, I suppose any attempt at decoration should be welcome.
    But really. Look at these three rectangles of cloth. One blue. One red. One green.  At first I wondered about the color significance. Red and green for Christmas, obviously. And the blue ... for Hanukkah? A sop to the Jews? I floated this theory by my wife, and she suggested that the blue was for United: we were in Terminal 1, United's terminal. Their airline color is blue. 
    For some reason, I considered the three flags separately from the three stars, which had a charming, childlike, misshapen quality to them, and the two balls. It's a very big terminal, and the decoration such a feeble, inadequate, puzzling half-flourish.  I mean, United is still solvent, correct? You'd think they'd put on a better show than this parody of minimalism.
     Then again, I should not complain. At least Terminal 1, which I visited before Thanksgiving, has chairs. Not many, but an intrepid couple in their late 50s could snag a pair, given enough patience.
    The same can not be said for Terminal 2, where I spent time Saturday. No chairs, no decoration to mock. (Well, no decoration that I noticed). Not that I'm nocking it. I'm not. What would be the point of that? I'm questioning it. I thought of contacting United, finding the person responsible, but they'd probably never do it, and if they did, what would that person say? Whoever did this, I'm sure, was operating under a variety of constraints. Or at least I hope they were. You hate to think United told them to go crazy, deck the halls, expense be damned, and this is what they came up with.


  1. O'Hare now has color coded zones for curbside pickup. The flags might be indicators of your location.

  2. Possibly a feeble attempt at secular decoration. I just flew American and noticed few chairs in Departures before passing security. With the all too frequent weather delays, any open space should be filled with chairs in anticipation of the inconvenient situations surely in our future.

  3. The decorations remind me of what one might expect to see at an elementary school, although any kindergarten in Chicago, no matter how secular, would outdo United's feeble efforts.

    As to airline parking, Midway goes it one better: if you can get in the parking garage, pick up your passengers and exit within 10 minutes, IT'S FREE. Maybe O'Hare offers the same freebie, but it's probably impossible to get in and out of there in 10 minutes, much less actually collect your passengers and load luggage into the car.


  4. Meh. Personally I would prefer that United concentrate on getting me in and out of the airport efficiently, which seems to be quite enough of a challenge for them, and leave holiday decorations alone.

  5. Foreign visitors from Mexico (Red and Green) and Russia (Red and Blue) might see them as simulacra of their national flags. A welcoming sight.


  6. An individual employee took it upon themselves to decorate the area where they work . Feeble? Yes but clearly some comfort to them.

  7. Feeble, shmeeble, at least somebody made the attempt, and did SOMETHING.
    Other places, like Minneapolis or Cleveland or Fort Meyers, don't do jack.


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