Playgrounds in airports by any means necessary

To support those readers of my recent post who would like to see playgrounds added to airports, I present this petition. Sign it by commenting, pass it on to two friends to sign, link to it, tweet about it, digg it, rate it, rank it, write it on a bathroom wall…and when all six of you loyal readers have commented on it, I’ll print it out, seal it up and send it off to those powers that be…as soon as I figure out who they are.

Petition for Playgrounds in Airports

We, the undersigned, ask you, the powers that be:

How is it that McDonald’s, which keeps costs down by having the smallest restaurants possible and whose most dangerous product is hot coffee, finds it worthwhile to spend the money to expand restaurants and increase their exposure to liability lawsuits by adding playgrounds to them, but airports, who consume thousands of acres of land and whose core business is stuffing as many people as possible into thin-skinned steel tubes full of explosive jet fuel and hurling those javelins into the sky at hundreds of miles an hour, can’t find the square footage or a lawyer to write the indemnifying clauses necessary to build playgrounds?

Seriously, if airports can accommodate Brookstone–because we all need a digital nose hair trimmer at 35,000 feet–we think they could provide something that’s an actual service to travelers.


And so, we implore you–as parents who need a break and as travelers who appreciate flying with kids who have burned off their extra energy in the airport rather than by tunneling into first class by crawling under every seat in front of them–to add playgrounds to every airport in the United States by any means necessary.

We thank you, our kids thank you, and we’re pretty sure that all the flight attendants in the United States thank you, and we’re all registered to vote (except the kids), and we’re not afraid to do it.

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  • You know how they have a quiet car on some commuter trains? Well after your post got me thinking about amusing kids in airports, I have decided that they should have a quiet wing of the airport. I’m gonna start my own petition and we’ll see how that goes – after I sign yours, of course. It’s not just the parents who want those wee ones to be tuckered out as much as possible before they board the plane!

  • AR

    I might also suggest that there be several and not located out of the way in the depths of the airport. In addition to the benefits you mentioned Franklin, it also allows the kids to be in a central location, rather than running up and down the corridors. Which as we all know is a whole other congestion/accident waiting to happen issue. Toddling 2 year old…. large business man running to get to his flight, computer bag swinging from his shoulder….

  • I forgot, when I was posting before, that SeaTac got the memo. http://www.portseattle.org/news/press/2006/03_27_2006_22.shtml However this area is only useful if you are waiting a long (and defined) time since it is not near the gates. It is better than nothing. I visited it with my son last November when we were passing through, and he was a bit old for it at 10. He really loved the long conveyor belts for people, as did a couple of other kids. The best part was walking the same speed as the people mover in the wrong direction.

    My daughter at 17 was happy with the free WiFi play area they had set up for her (provided one is traveling with a computer.) She had instructions to call me when our flight started to line up for boarding.

    I agree that airports (which are different than airlines) do need to meet the needs of young travelers. Your local airport (or port authority in most cases) is interested in your loyalty, because airlines may come and go, but the airport will still be there. In Papa’s case, there are alternatives close by. With all the remodeling they are doing these days, and the variety of safe indoor kids toys, they should be able to do something.

    We were fortunate that we had a short wait and our flights were on time. Where we live, it is difficult to fly anywhere without going through SeaTac or some other airport on the way. Fortunately, we do not fly often, and our home airport is so small that it takes about 15 minutes to travel from the car to the gate on most days.

  • LB: Love the idea of a quiet wing of airports. That’ll keep all the riff raff out of the kids’ wing.

    AR: Agreed on the need for good locations. You’d think that those Auntie Anne’s or even Mickey D’s in the airports would sponsor them in good locations, ’cause yeah–3B’s radar is not always as active as he is.

    CAGirl: I guess we’ll have to route our flights through Buffalo (see JnfrB’s earlier comment on original post) and SeaTac. How convenient. 3B did love the WiFi (which we had to purchase for Mama to do some work) at LAX, since that meant he got to see his beloved fiddlers. I’m sure that as he gets older, he’ll use it for other things, like playing Scrabble with his cousins on Facebook. Or something.

  • If we are going to put in playgrounds, make sure that at 6’2″ you can still play on it. Someone told me, and it could have been my friend who is in charge of destroying and reconstructing the San Jose airport, that in overseas airports, they have a grouping area and they don’t even tell you your flight status until the plane is ready to board. Then you proceed to the correct gate. This way they can have you eating their overpriced food and shopping in their overpriced stores while you wait and you don’t even worry about your flight.

    In the airport playground, I hope they include a people walker, an escalator, an elevator, the full on wifi bar and maybe a play structure. Of course an observation area to watch as the planes take off and land might be appropriate too. Some of those things might be useful on the other side of security too since some times kids come to pick up airline passengers.

  • KMoo: Yes to all of your suggestions.