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Airport Eating

I used to be “that guy,” the one that breezed through the plane door minutes before it closed. Not that I was running late, but because I would time my entrance to reduce the amount of idle time spent sitting aimlessly in front of an airport gate.  I’d become proficient enough at traveling that I could rearrange an overhead bin with one hand while using the other to contort my rollaboard into molecules of space.

However, in my current role, I often don’t book my own travel. And in the wisdom of corporate travel, they book me on flights with two-hour cushions.  Needless to say, in the past year, I’ve become more familiar with ORD, SFO, LGA, etc.

And I realized, I LOVE hanging out in airports.

First and foremost, you simply can’t beat the people watching.  Moms traveling on their own, loaded down with baby and baggage, consultants who travel 70% of the time who have airport security screenings down to a science, elderly couples finally indulging in wanderlust.  Travel encompasses a wonderful, mixed demographic.

And then, you have the food.  As a foodie, this came completely as a surprise to me.  I hated the idea of airport food.  You’re rushed, it’s expensive, it’s totally about the plastic fork and flimsy napkin.

Boy, was I wrong.  What I didn’t realize was that airports like to showcase their regional restaurants.  Chickie’s & Pete’s in Philadelphia, Boudin in San Francisco, Manny’s in Chicago, Legal Seafood in Boston.  Sure, you pay a premium, but you’re also not paying for the cab to and from the hotel, and after a long day of back to back meetings, there’s nothing better than finding the two-top right next to an electrical outlet.

So the next time you have a flight, arrive a couple hours early and do a crawl of local cuisine through the airport.

Lobster roll with crabby seasoning from Chickie's and Pete's at PHL.

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