triman (triman) wrote,

Phoenix Sky Harbour airport, where information goes to die

Running an airport is a tough business, part transportation hub, part shopping mall, big security concern. I've posted here in the past when I used to travel much more frequently about the problems at airports. I've been to Phoenix, well Tempe actually, for Ironman Arizona, just as a spectator. It was a last minute decision.

The flight here was uneventful, even good. I got off, walked from the C-12 gate to baggage, which I thought at the time was a long way, and then got a bus to the rental car location, which I also thought was a long way. Never mind. Todays return flight should have been just as easy, sadly not since I got muddled up about my flight departure time, never mind, paid the difference and got the next direct flight.

After 3-hours of waiting, a $3.39 bottle of water, I decided it was time to look for something healthy to eat. Asides from the CPK Salads, the store list looked like something out of the 1990's and definitely unhealthy. But there it was peeking out between the TCBY and the bar around by the A-Gates, Fruithead Smothies, FTW!

On closer examination of the airport website maps, which are in ever so un-mobile friendly PDF format, I noticed it was a long way, an 'effing long way. Never mind, I had the time. 10-electric walkways later I was at terminal 4, gate A3. But where was Fruithead smoothies? I asked the guy at TCBY and he looked confused. I got my phone out, showed him the map, he said as far as he knew it didn't exist. I walked over and asked the Police officer sitting at a desk, he opened a drawer and got out a tri-fold map, which, sure enough had the same, incorrect map. I double checked with him if there was another way way to get back to Terminal 4, Gate C9 without either going all the way around, or going out through security and back-in, nope. Never mind.

I tried the information desk to see if they could update the web site, or report it to someone who could. Sadly I waited, nothing,even at 4:30pm in the afternoon, I guess information isn't important here, never mind.

So I called the airport operator, and spoke to a guy, didn't get his name, he was really helpful, looked at his map and said he thought that it was restaurants that were going to open, but hadn't yet. I asked him to put me through to someone who had responsibility for information. He put me through to the voicemail of David Ramirez, the PR officer for the airport. I left an humorous style rant about "America's Friendliest Airport", their slogan, complained that there were no maps in the airport, that the PDF's were difficult to find and out of date, left a number and asked him to call me back.

We'll see how that works out. I set off back for gate C9, sadly one of the electrical walkways was out of action, this one in fact. Which gives a good idea of just how far it was. Remember there and back was 20 of these. 

Of course they do have an alternative, a sort of 1960's version of personal transporters, these little electric carts buzzing all around the airport, but since I was prepared to tackle 10-walkways to get something healthy, I sure as hell wasn't going to take an electric cart designed for the elderly and unhealthy, back.

As much as I was disappointed about the missing Fruithead Smoothie, I was really more frustrated that the information was only available in a PDF. Now adobe have abandoned flash for websites, it's about time that websites abandoned PDF's, especially for simple graphics like this. While there remains some justification to use them as vehicles to transfer facsimile or "exact" copies of documents, for the most part as a form of information display, the PDF is a place information goes to die.

When discussing Phoenix sky harbor airport, the Phoenix New Times blog says it "isn't quite Siberia". Never mind.
Tags: airports, ironman, phoenix, siberia, travel
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