Posted On: Tuesday - July 21st 2020 7:25PM MST
In Topics:   Economics  The Future  Peak Stupidity Roadshow
Yeah, I realize that the post's title sounds like unz.com writer Mr. Lin Dinh's column title, "Postcards from the end of America". For whatever reason, I have not read but one of Mr. Dinh's columns, and didn't like what I read. Is it because he is anti-all-things-American, as the proprietor, Ron Unz, seems to be? I read a lot from young people who have no idea of the country this used to be. I can't blame them for that, but I can blame them for writing on what they no nothing about. It doesn't help that I see Mr. Dinh (obviously Vietnamese) as a foreigner writing about America, though perhaps he has lived here his whole life (until his recent traveling, going by his titles that I see). I have not bothered to check.
That initial digression completed, this view of a seemingly disintegrating America presented here is of the runways, taxiways, and ramps of the northeast side of the Minneapolis airport, one of the hubs of Delta Airlines from a while back. To get these nice views shown here, I'll give the airline traveler some advice here, at least for those spending some time at the MSP airport.
If you have extra time beyond what it takes to get to your next gate and perhaps get something to eat from the Somalians, go over to the D-concourse. You may not know there IS one, as it's smaller than the stretched out C and G ones, and the fairly big E and F, and the A/B complex. From the main "mall" area, go as if you're heading to the C concourse, but go straight instead of hanging a right toward the first C-gate (and that white tram). You'll see a McDonalds (wasn't very busy) on the left, and you can go through a door to your left right after the McD's that says "restricted, blah, blah" (ignore the sign) or a stairway with no door on the left that's just at the entrances to the D-concourse.
Either way, you must lug your luggage (pun? unintended) up about 30 steps, or 1 1/2 flights of stairs, I'd put it. You'll find yourself in what must have once been a ramp tower, that is, not an air traffic control tower, but one used to direct traffic in the ramp areas. It's an observation area that obviously most passengers don't know about, as it's nice and quiet up there with nobody else, or a TSA guy on lunch, and an occasional other passenger. Classical music is playing. Is that to keep away the riff-raff, and/or Somalians? Nah, I think the music is playing throughout the airport, but it's drowned out usually by too much noise elsewhere.
While at peace up there, I noticed how dead the airport really was. With only 2 parallel and sometimes an angled-off runway normally used for landings and take-offs, it'd normally be a great view for kids that like airplanes. Don't they all? There would be one after another, rolling out or taking off, and the view, even though from only 50 ft high or so, is very nice, though it's only of this runway on the NE side (12R/30L) and the ramp/gate areas of E, D, and C concourses. Nope, I think I saw 2 or 3 take-offs and the same number of landings, in about an hour and a half. This is not normal*.
In the sunshine, the huge expanses of concrete were bright and clean, the planes looked beautiful, and ground vehicles and planes just occasionally did what they do. The terminal, the parts that were open, had a few restaurants open, and things were clean enough. People were perhaps extra friendly with the extra time due to low levels of business. This huge airport terminal**, however, costs a lot of money to keep like this. The airport itself costs lots and lots of taxpayer money of various sorts too - FAA, surcharges on tickets, etc. - to keep the cracks in the pavement fixed, keep weeds out, clean the signs, paint markings, chase out critters, keep the many fire trucks in good shape, and lots of things I've probably missed.
This running of < 25% of the flights compared to normal out of there, with them < 1/2 filled, and the loss of revenue that goes with that is not, errr, sustainable. It can't go on like this. If it can't be paid for long term, this nice hub airport would eventually have to go to rot. That's all there is to it.
I sat there and imagined the hard work in building the runways, taxiways, and terminals, the setting up of jet bridges, laying of fuel pipelines, and all that being ignored by hordes of ignorant masses taking over this weed-overgrown place for shelter, farm land, and scrap metal, in a Planet of the Apes sort of way. The engineering of flying machines, and the art of flying them are long forgotten. "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
Looking due north, one can see a gleaming city about 10 miles away, with the larger buildings poking out over the horizon and trees. It looked nice and peaceful from 10 miles and a couple of months after the Kung Flu Infotainment intermission rioting. I was imagining how it would have looked for those few days when the thugs and Commies were setting things alight. Could one have seen the smoke rising in the distance from my same vantage point? Come to think of it, Minneapolis has already experienced a Planet of the Apes moment.
Anyway, it's quite nice out there right now still. Business better pick back up, though.
* Granted this was on a Sunday, but it was Sunday afternoon. The slow time for the passenger airlines is Saturday afternoon through Sunday noon-time. Business travelers mostly travel home on Fridays, not the weekend, and don't go out until Sunday afternoon. The short-term vacationers are where they want to be in the middle of the weekend, but many are traveling home (in normal times) on Sunday afternoon.
** It's one out of 2, as there is a Humphries Terminal (Hubert? Nah.) completely separate on the SW side where Southwest, Sun Country, and few other airlines park. The big one, where mostly Delta, but also United and American too, park, is called the Lindbergh Terminal.
PS - specifically for commenter Adam Smith: Per our conversation on the iSteve thread regarding image meta-data, I'd like to experiment on this one, if you could help. Could you let me know which if any of these 3 images has meta-data? (I know you used a different term, but I'm sure you know what I mean. You have the program that you downloaded to display the values. I'd rather you not give all the values, even the dates, but there really is nothing much anyone could get out of them to track me. I'm a little bit careful.
You could just write in what you found quickly in the comments - just referring to image 1, 2, or 3, I suppose. Thanks. This will be kind of fun.