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http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_12888378?nclick_check=1 Joe Soucheray: Not even new airport signs can give hope to the hopeless By Joe Soucheray Updated: 07/22/2009 12:29:30 AM CDT The Metropolitan Airports Commission, which voted Monday to change the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminals' highway signs to Terminal 1 and 2, still doesn't understand the problem they are trying to solve. As the controversy played out over the summer, we could only conclude that the problem features about 30,000 passengers a year who go to the wrong terminal and miss their flight, or less than two-tenths of 1 percent of the 16 million people a year who fly out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In other words, to accommodate 30,000 or so people who might very well resist all efforts to guide them, we are going to spend $2.2 million for new signs that, in addition to calling the terminals 1 and 2, will also list the airlines flying out of each terminal. That's a lot of money. It will have to be forked over by the airlines and the retailers who fund the airport, which means that every time you buy a tube of toothpaste or a magazine, you are helping ease the burdens of our fellow travelers who wear mismatched socks and are often seen walking up the down escalators. You know the type. This is practically a new Budweiser commercial writing itself. "These new signs are for you, Mr. and Mrs. 'I drove the wrong way down a one-way street to get to the wrong terminal...' " Every single one of us has boarded an airplane only to look at a passenger two rows ahead on the aisle seat and wonder about the fellow, or the woman, "How did they even get this far?'' That's why 1 and 2 are not the answer. If it is confusion the MAC is trying to remedy, 1 and 2 will be no different than Lindbergh and Humphrey. The designations 1 and 2 retain too much convention. You've got to think outside the box, as they say in all those corporate brainstorming sessions that lead to things like new highway signs. Let's look at this logically. The people who go to the wrong terminal are thinking big-picture. They have ticket. Fly on big plane. That's it. If you pressed them, they would say that they came in at what appeared to be the main terminal or not the main terminal. That's the way people talk. They don't snap off "Lindbergh" or "Humphrey" with clarity and precision. And they won't snap off "1" and "2" with efficiency. But as their neurons crackle and pop, they can come up with "main" and "not the main." There are your new signs. The Main One. (And list the airlines.) Not the Main One. (And list the airlines.) You cannot alleviate hopeless confusion without using words that might at least give the hopelessly confused a fighting chance. When the family reunion is at last over and Uncle Ed has to be taken to the airport, he will faithfully say, "Take me to the Main One.'' Or, screwing up his face in deep thought, he will say, "I'm in that one that is Not the Main One.'' Problem solved. "Lindbergh" and "Humphrey," "1" and "2," and "Main One" and "Not the Main One" might live on in our lexicon as adjectives for acuity, in job interviews, personal ads, dating services. I suppose being called a 1 and 2 might place somebody on the bubble. They could go either way. "What do you think of the new hire, Frank?'' "I think we got ourselves a real Lindbergh and Humphrey.'' Or: "Non-smoker, 40-something, seeks soulmate for moonlit walks, jazz music, camping and bocce-ball tournaments. Will consider 1 and 2 but prefer Lindbergh and Humphrey.'' "Mom, right now he is a 1 and 2, but I know that he can become Lindbergh and Humphrey.'' Or: "I had to dump him. He fell in with the Main One and Not the Main Ones.'' "Oh, that's a shame.'' "Had to be done. He missed four of his last five flights.'' Joe Soucheray can be reached at jsoucheray@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or 651-228-5474. Soucheray is heard from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KSTP-AM 1500. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> If you wish to unsubscribe from the AIRLINE List, please send an E-mail to: "listserv@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx". Within the body of the text, only write the following:"SIGNOFF AIRLINE".
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