I Get a Kick out of PDX


I Get a Kick out of PDX

I’m traveling this week and flew into Portland International Airport.  I was pleasantly surprised. This small second tier airport is stunning.  It is easy navigate, quiet, and unhurried. I have braved the crowds at Heathrow, JFK, Atlanta,, O’Hare and LAX. Portland is quiet.  Don’t get me wrong — there were people there.  The line at security had a couple of hundred people in front of me.  But it went quickly.

 As I sat in a waiting area that reminded me of an Airlines first class lounge(comfortable seats, plug in for your computers, and free Wifi that actually worked) I considered what was different. My musing was interruped by a piano player holding forth with classic hits from great artists of the 50s and 60s, espically the Chairman of the Board.

 Wow — what next — comfortable waiting areas, entertainment, free wifi and then it began. A lounge singer, with Sinatra’s best,  I get a kick out of you. I turned to get a better view and realized that the singer, John English, was singing to a young man who was swaying silently beside him.  The young man was smiling quietly as John softly repeated Sinatra’ words.  I get no kick from champagne, mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at….A picture of the ‘moment is here.


John tells me that the young man is his son Barry — and when he has gigs on Wednesday or Thursday, when Barry visits him, he brings him along. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  And this was at 10 AM in an airport.

I then realized what was different.  It was attitude. Everyone who worked at the airport seemed trained to help me. Even the TSA was helpful and smiling. My curmudgeon was put in its place.  Plus there were no screaming unnecessary announcements. You know the ones that tell you that TSA is going to sap you in irons if you have an ounce of mouthwash or that you shouldn’t leave baggage unattended.  Portland seems to have figured out that travelers have common sense. That we made it this far, we can make it all the way.

 Well done Portland.  Your larger breathern could learn from your example.


Or maybe its just that people in the northwest are nice..Even the cop that gave me a speeding ticket 4 miles from the airport was polite.  I almost thanked him — almost.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. John, I have worked with PDX for more than 30 years. The Staff personnell are great
    to work with. Just after I announced my third attempt at retirement, the just retired Airport Directot Steve Schreiber and two other Airport staff retirees flew to Chicago just to take me to dinner. I convinced them to stay for an extra day so I could show them the City’s sights.

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