I like flying, but it is also tiring. If I have had a few connections (perhaps some missed connections), a bumpy flight, long layovers, or an extra early wake up call, I’m worn out. When I land, I just want to get off a plane, grab my bags, and get home. I really don’t want anything to get in my way. As I’m walking down the concourse, the last thing I want is for people to hinder me. Get out of my way! You’re not here to greet me.
But, let’s consider both sides of an issue – how should groups behave as a welcoming party at an airport. Sure there are some single folks waiting for their loved one and you also get the families waiting for a child flying by themselves. Going a bit larger (and louder) you can find military service members, who have been gone for a long time, receiving a wonderful “welcome back.” All these people are deserving of welcomings, but can it go too far? How can an airport make it a win-win for everyone? And is there a limit where people should be respecting other passengers? Let’s take a look at an airport close to me, the big homecomings at Salt Lake City International Airport.
The video above shows the extreme, but is it too extreme? As a Mormon myself, I understand how special getting a greeting like this can be to everyone, but I know I might not be so happy to have this as a grumpy passenger, just trying to move along through the airport.
Even the Church issued a statement, after 9/11, urging families to limit the greeting party to immediate family and move the party elsewhere. As obnoxious as they sometimes are, they don’t mean to bother passengers, but they desperately want to welcome home their missionary.
So, what’s an airport to do? On one hand they need to make things as pleasant as possible for travelers who fly. However, they don’t want to rain on the parade of those who are eager to welcome home their beloved family friends — service members, missionaries, and others.
Recently The Salt Lake Tribune’s Amy McDonald covered how the airport hopes to accommodate large crowds. As part of its multi-year renovation, the airport plans to have a greeting area devoted to large groups in place by 2020.
Spokesperson Bianca Shreeve explained to McDonald that, “We love being the home base for so many people and the love that is brought about by these crowds…. Being around that is pretty special. We appreciate being the venue for that.”
As someone who has experienced both sides of this issue, I sympathize with the traveler and the large groups. This greeting area idea is appealing and a win-win for the happy passengers looking to reconnect with loved ones, and for the grumpy folks, who just want to get home.
What experiences have you seen and been a part of? Is the possible disturbance worth it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
This story was written by Steve Petersen, for AirlineReporter. Steve was born and raised an AvGeek by a retired fighter and airline pilot and a mother who wore those famous Top Gun sunglasses before they were cool. One of his other passions is bow ties, and he blogs about them at Bow Tie Aficionado.