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Airports are Getting More Crowded – Sign of Recovery for Travel?

August 17, 2009
Last week I travelled to San Francisco.  As I went through my usual airport routines, I noticed something different – crowds!  Checking in my bags took longer than usual.  The security lines were backed up past all of the usual lanes.  Our flight was delayed into SFO due to flight pattern crowding.  All of this was interesting…But the # 1 sign that something was different?  The Shoe Shine Guy!
Shoe shines mean business - SLC airport

Shoe shines mean business - SLC airport

That’s right – The Shoe Shine Guy.  When I saw the line of businessmen patiently waiting to get their shoes shined I knew something had changed.  The last 4-5 times I was in the SLC airport, the Shoe Shine booth wasn’t even manned.  I was contemplating having to find a local cobbler to get my shoes shined!

It reminded me of the major business corridors that I used to get my shoes shined in.  Love Field in Dallas where the shuttle to Houston left every 30 minutes, or the Boston-NY shuttle out of Logan.  Travelling those corridors, where 90% of the passengers were clearly on business trips – you could almost feel the weight of commerce happening all around you.  Those terminals always had a crowded shoe shine stand with a line of people waiting.

I thought of all of this as I sat down and rolled up my pants and the Shoe Shine guy whipped the rag against my freshly shiny boots.  It felt good.  It gave me hope that maybe, just maybe,  the recovery that the press is starting to discuss more and more is really starting…   And maybe, leisure travel will start to also rebound.  For the sake of all my friends, suppliers and colleagues in the travel industry – I hope so!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 6:23 pm

    I am so glad to hear about leading indicators like SSG-shoe shine guy pointing to economic recovery. I hope people notice how cramped they are in the coach seats and decide to look into weight loss books by the holidays! ;)

  2. October 5, 2009 7:44 pm

    Nice to hear that the shoe shine guys are doing well! Even though the Vail airport near us shut down for the winter, Vail enjoyed a busy summer as well! Let’s hope that the “staycation” folks and the out of towner’s keep up the travel into the ski season.

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