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Picture it… a tight connection through a difficult airport (in my case, the furthest A terminal gate at Charlotte Douglas International Airport to the furthest E terminal gate) made worse by a delayed inbound flight (runway incursion, aborted landing, no biggie).
I have to dash through the airport to catch the last reasonable connecting flight I can. The airport is packed with the last of the summer travel crowds, all ambling along like aimless vacationing zombies. The only clear safe straight line route without a block-and-tackle strategy is the moving walkway network.
Except it’s not.
People, please!!! The moving walkway is not a carnival ride.
Airports are busy places. While they can, at times, be full of people who are intent on slowing down and taking it easy for a few days, they also often have passengers who are harried and rushing to get from one place to the next, particularly when there have been delays. The moving walkway is designed to be a clear route through today’s crowded airport by providing a direct traffic-free path from one point on the concourse to another. Alas, many passengers miss that purpose and instead have turned them into free kiddie carnival rides or transport systems for the lazy.
Some tips to guide you if you decide to use the moving walkway as your method of airport transit:
* Use the walkways to “walk” – preferably with a purpose. Be mindful of others who are in your path… say “excuse me” or the like if you must pass someone blocking the moving walkway and try to keep any luggage in front of or behind you. (Be particularly mindful of backpacks or shouldered duffels that you are not whacking passengers you are passing!)
* If you must stand, follow the instructions at the entry to the walkway (which in the States is typically on the right) and allow others to pass you by keeping your belongings on the same side. If you are traveling with others, do not stand side-by-side blocking the walkway path for others.
* Should you be overcome by fatigue – so much that you can barely stand up at all, it’s probably best that you sit down somewhere before attempting the moving walkway, which is not an appropriate place for an impromptu rest.
* When others pass you, especially when doing so politely, snide under-the-breath commentary about being in a hurry is unnecessary and futile. Yes, it’s an airport… Some people do have places to be!
* Be mindful of your children on the walkway. You are probably the only one who finds amusement in little Suzy running the wrong direction on the walkway and bumping into other passengers. Snide commentary about how little Suzy needs a timeout is unnecessary and futile. But many if us are thinking it.
* Strollers and baggage carts do not belong on the walkway. They not only block the path but can create a dangerous situation for others if they get stuck. Just don’t try it.
* Do not stand at the entry to the moving walkway trying to decide whether or not you want to get on it. You are blocking the path for others who may be in a hurry.
* Once exiting the walkway, step immediately out of the way of the walkway. The end is not an appropriate place to check messages, redistribute bags, or have a look around. Others behind you must exit and you are creating a dangerous situation where you could inadvertently be bumped into, or worse, be trampled by others attempting to exit. Step immediately to the left or right and regain your bearings there.
If these basic rules of etiquette are difficult to follow, the moving walkway (or in my case the moving running-at-race-speed-to-catch-my-flightway may not be for you).