The other day I was celebrating a long weekend with my good lady, and we were in the process of using up our last day before an evening departure from the airport to get back home. We went to a cinema to see a film before driving back to the airport, filling up the hire car with fuel, returning it, and getting our flight home.

I realised after buying the tickets that the film was long, half an hour longer than I had planned. We had an hour’s journey back to the airport, in no traffic at normal speeds, except that this was going to be rush hour, in the driving rain, and on the London orbital motorway which is a complete lottery most times of the day. I like to check in for flights in good time. My wife likes to leave things to the last minute, I don’t know why. Hence the ensuing conflict. We got a refund for our tickets and got to the airport with loads of time to spare and no inclination to spend it in airy conversation.

For the record, I don’t think we would have made the flight if we’d stayed for the film. We might have, but it would have been an unpleasant journey for the guts of 2 hours. If we’d missed the flight, our kids would have had to stay another night with different families, and we would have had to take a hotel room and new flights for the following day, which were working days for us both.

Anyway, this is a recurrent marital theme that I don’t mean to bore you with, but out of this conflict emerged the following thought: why don’t airports make themselves a destination even when they’re a departure? Why don’t they market that we make a day of our departure? Why recommend we get there 2 hours before a flight when we could get their 6 hours before, take in a movie at the airport, or some bowling, or a water park, safe in the knowledge we’re already there, the car is jettisoned, the bags are checked, and we can have the holiday experience?

It’s OK to have a few shops at an airport, but surely a cinema or two or a gym wouldn’t hurt.

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