Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leaving the Motherland and heading to the Holy Land.

Let me just start out by saying that yes, as some of you have pointed out, all land is holy. So please don't take me to task for referring to the lands where Jesus walked as the Holy Land.

What I want to write about today is my experience in Newark airport. Now, personally, I really like Newark airport. I refer to it as landing in the "Motherland". It's not just because I was born in New Jersey. I've always liked the layout, and it is rare that I have had problems getting into or leaving Newark (I type that now, and am hoping the rest of the trip -- and upcoming trips -- go well!)

When I was in Newark airport in November I noticed that there was a lot of construction in the center areas of the terminals -- and that many of the restaurants were changing. My favorite go-to place for
long layovers was Gallagher's, which was gone in November. It's been replaced by a Japanese restaurant. What intrigued me were the iPad's at each seat. More than that, in the center of one aisle heading down to different gates was one long bank of seats with iPads. Why did this intrigue me? Because it felt as though it was designed for people to be solitary, not talking with their neighbor.

I took these pictures after eating lunch at a restaurant in which I had to order from the iPad and pay via iPad (tip was automatically included). Hmmm. There was minimal interaction from the wait staff -- they were more delivery staff, really. 

What struck me about this new way of serving diners in the airport was:
1. It catered to individual travelers primarily, although groups could sit together and either order all together on one iPad or individually on separate iPads (paying separately as well).
2. I miss the interaction with the wait staff -- I couldn't ask my usual "I'm thinking about A or B -- which is more popular/better here?" 
3. People had their devices out in front of the devices that they ordered on. I know I love my own iPhone and iPad and PC -- but it just seemed to me to isolate people even more than before.

If this is the way of the future, so be it. People did seem to enjoy their meals, but instead of interacting with people around them they were interacting with electronics. 

I miss the people interaction. There, I've said it.

Do I still love Newark airport? Yes. I'll get used to the new way of "being" -- but I think I might just sit next to someone next time, put away my iPhone after I order my meal on the iPad they provide, and strike up a conversation.


  1. They are probably great for travelers in a hurry! (And introverts like me who just want to be solitary while traveling.) I've been in a rush and not been able to get the wait staff's attention to get my check so I could get to my gate and it's often pretty stressful for all involved. So that at least is a strong advantage!

  2. That will be one lucky individual.