1) Even if you’re not a tree-hugger, you’ll want to hug one of the many columns with the large orange signs announcing the location of electrical outlets in Boston’s Logan International Airport. Not everyone has a notebook with an eight-hour battery. And if you’re schlepping around a seven-year-old battery-guzzling clunker like mine, you’re always looking for outlets in airports.
2) Not only does Logan tell you where to find the outlets, it provides a free wireless Internet connection. That’s downright sweet, and in my book it puts Logan right up there with Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, which also offers not only a free wireless connection but also the opportunity for Jewish men to put on phylacteries and say the appropriate prayers (courtesy of Chabad Lubavitch, which has a permanent stand with a big sign in the departure lounge).
3) But back to Logan, where I found cut flowers on the counter in the ladies’ toilet I visited. Fresh flowers in a vase! My husband said there were none in the men’s, an omission I can’t account for, unless the flowers I saw were for the birthday of one of the cleaners.
4) Logan also purports to offer travelers a nondenominational chapel. The idea is nice enough, but the chapel’s name is Our Lady of the Airways. Only in Boston, with its large Irish and Italian population, could a chapel called Our Lady of Anything be considered nondenominational.
And now a couple of pointers about London’s Heathrow.
1) Be sure to wear walking shoes if you’re coming through Heathrow, and allow plenty of time to reach connecting flights. Not only will you be walking a lot, you may need to go up and down escalators, take a bus from one terminal to another, and ride a driverless conveyance from one zone to another. I did all those last night, when I arrived in Terminal 3 and had to get to Terminal 5 for my connection. I had two hours between arrival and take-off, and that was barely enough to make the connection.
2) Heathrow has fabulous shops, including Harrods, Dior, and Gucci. Having a tight connection is a way to make sure your money stays in your pocket, but it knocks a lot of fun out of the trip, especially if you like to see who actually buys anything in those shops.
And finally, a word about Ben-Gurion Airport, which is code-named TLV (for Tel Aviv) even though it’s not in Tel Aviv.
1) The airport has an interesting design element whereby departing passengers walk down a wide ramp that must be at least 200 meters long, and arriving passengers walk down an identical ramp facing it, so that those coming in can see those who are leaving. It seems to sum up the airport experience perfectly, though Heraclitus would have it that “the way up and the way down is one and the same.” No way.
2) Ben-Gurion probably has the fastest baggage retrieval system of any airport in the world, except, of course, when there’s an airport strike, and then there is no baggage retrieval at all. There was a strike the day before my husband and I left for the United States, and one was in the offing for the day after we got back. In managing to avoid both we considered ourselves very lucky travelers.
Text and photo copyright 2010 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text or photo may be used without written permission of the author.