Airport of the Damned

When I arrived here at Bradley International Airport north of Hartford, CT last Sunday I was out of the terminal and on to the Hertz bus in just a few minutes, so I only got the vaguest sense of the state of the terminal. Now that I have (characteristically) arrived 90 minutes early for my flight, I’ve had a chance to understand just how 1972 it is.

I hasten to add that I speak here only of the ye olde terminal that is now home to Air Canada and a gaggle of discount airlines like Southwest, and some others that you’ve either never heard of, or that have gone out of business. It is not, in other words, the focus of the Bradley’s future.

It is, however, a remarkable time capsule of the architecture of my youth, and a visit here helps one understand why airports created in reaction to this era are full of light and open space.

It reminds me of a near-empty mall on the suburban strip in Denver that Mike and visited a couple of years ago, a relic of the big mall construction build of the 1970s that had fallen victim to the new and modern mall across the road.

When I asked the gate agent at Air Canada where I should hang out, he sent me here to the Sheraton Hotel, which appears to serve as the de facto lounge for the terminal — the lobby has a “We Proudly Serve Starbucks” coffee shop, and wifi is available for $4.95/hour (there are about a dozen others here, sucking power from behind plant stands, with laptops open).

It’s a beautiful day, and it should be still be daylight when we take off at 5:40 so I should get a good view of New England from the air.

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