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Airport pickup Wed, Mar 21, 2012
I picked someone up from my local airport recently, and I was reminded again how stupid the curbside pickup process is.  Once you follow the labyrinthine roadways with loops and signs and angry taxis, there's this peculiar rule that prevents you from waiting at the curb for more than, say, 7 milliseconds.  This conflicts quite spectacularly with the cardinal rule of air travel:  Nothing is on time, ever.  So this silly little rule is a guarantee for failure.  No human being in the history of the universe has ever arrived at the curb exactly as their waiting passenger exited the terminal.  To further frustrate things, there are armed security personnel enforcing this rule.  Here's how every single conversion goes: 
Cop:  You need to move your vehicle.
Person:  But I'm waiting to pick someone up.
Cop:  Wait somewhere else.
Person:  Where?
Cop:  That's not my problem.
As a problem-solver, I can come up with a few solutions right off the bat: 
  1. Non-ridiculous hourly parking rates.  Those of us who don't live in the midwest actually have to pay to park at the airport.  Those of us who live near major cities have to pay a lot.  If there was a legitimate alternative to waiting at the curb, perhaps I'd take it.
  2. Cell phone waiting lot.  This has been employed at many airports, and it's one of the smartest things ever.  I think it started because people would just pull their cars to the side of the highway near the airport and wait for their air traveler to call.  Non-stupid important people realized a simple way to accommodate these people would be to build a parking lot near, but not at, the airport.  Thus, the miracle of cell phone parking lots was born.
  3. Faster-than-light travel.  If we could just perfect the reassembly process, there'd be no need to even go to an airport to travel.

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