A philosopher’s point of view

A guest article from the desk of PCI’s Managing Partner Cristina Lynn.

During the Christmas break I was browsing in a bookshop and came across a small book titled “A week at the Airport – A Heathrow Diary” written by the controversial philosopher Alain de Botton. Having spent a significant part of my working days last year inside airports, I decided to buy it.

The author was invited by the management of BAA (owners of Heathrow amongst other airports) to spend one week living and working in the new Terminal 5 building and then write about his experiences and observations. He was granted unlimited access to airside areas as well as restaurants, hotels, lounges, shops, check in, baggage claim and so on.

His observations are very insightful and do reflect on the power of travel on people’s psyches – whether they are a traveller or a meeter & greeter and even on the people who work at the airport.

I was very curious to see if he would have something to say about the car park (wonder why….) and was very disappointed to read that he arrived at the terminal by train! He did have one passing reference which I quote for you here:

“It seems curious but in the end appropriate that life should often put in our way, so near to the site of some of our most intense and heartfelt encounters, one of the greatest obstacles known to relationships: the requirement to pay for and then negotiate a way out of a multi-storey car park”.

Yes, depressing I know, especially for those like us who are passionate about parking – but it is a reminder that the visitor’s whole experience of a place does start and end at the car park (at least for the vast majority of people who have to or want to use their car) and where more than at an airport is this true!

View The Age‘s summation of Alain’s experiences back in August 2009 here.

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