Friday, June 29, 2012


When I traded Chicago for Iowa, a lot of things changed but I mourned only one. Chicago has two, count them TWO, major airports. Iowa collectively can't really say that. The Chicago I left had nonstop flights, plenty of them, and often cheap, to boot. I could catch a flight for New York or DC after work on Friday and be back first thing Monday morning. I forgot what a layover even was as I visited family in Los Angeles or Oakland. Iowa, on the other hand, seemed to have the attitude that being a great place to be relieved it of any responsibility to help folks get in or out of the state. And while I've come to appreciate the tiny regional airport with its tiny regional lines and its supremely civilized free wifi, I missed the freedom of hubs.

Enter Dallas. Enter two, count them TWO, major airports. If everything else went wrong in Dallas, I figured, at least they made it easy to leave. Dallas is one of the eight places you can fly to directly from an Iowa airport like Cedar Rapids; if Dallas could do that, surely Dallas could take me anywhere. And it does. I've been to Iowa and New York and California and the Philippines, not to mention Indiana and Florida. There's usually a layover, now, and the bargain fares I remember seem to be a thing of the past. DFW is easier to love if you're riding the monorail between flights than if you are driving through the looping maze of over- and under-passes that require you to know not just the terminal of your airline but the actual number of your gate. After so many years of Southwest flights, Love Field field seems like an appropriate pilgrimage, even if they go very few places direct. Love Field does not have tiny regional lines or free wifi, but still retains the charm of a sweet old airport more or less in the middle of the city.

It occurs to me now that part of the freedom I loved in Chicago came from the swift and reliable lines of public transportation that took me out to the airport and then back home again. If you have some hours to spare, one can cobble together a public transport option to a Dallas airport. Depending on your mood, this is time enough to reconsider leaving, or one more reason to get out.

No comments: