Travails By Err

August 21, 2004

I want to get this out of my system while the bile is still fresh in my throat.

I dropped Arlene off at the Toronto Airport the other day, and I learned three things while I did that.

  1. If you own any Air Canada stock, or indeed have anything at all personally invested in Air Canada’s continued corporate well-being, you need to get out from under that as quickly as possible, and do not look back. An airline with full airplanes can lose as much money as quickly as Air Canada does under exactly two conditions: mercenary incompetence or pervasive fraud. If you’d stood in the recklessly-mismanaged three-block-long line of customers that I had earlier today, if like me you’d idly watched the equally idle tellers on the other side of the hallway, apparently in charge of something much more engaging and important than processing passengers, your money would be the same place as mine. But it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody was actually defrauding them at the same time; that would at least give them some marginal excuse.
  2. Terminal 1 is shiny and new and very expensive, and full of some of the most transparently idiotic design decisions I have ever seen in architectural form. I’ve said before that when you are building a product of any kind, questions of the form “What The Hell X” should be completely resolved before the product leaves the shop. This is a building, so presumably this should get done ahead of time, but that didn’t happen; before they do anything else, the people who designed Terminal 1 need to hire somebody to ask that kind of question immediately. I wish I’d brought my camera.
  3. The new terminal’s parking process is some kind of dadaist protest against higher cognitive function, equal parts petty malice and stupidity. If you’re responsible for this “autopark” system, you should actually sit and watch people interact with it so the vague shame that nags you at night really steps up and takes hold. Remember: down, not across.

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