Five Great Things About Portland Airport

I was up in the Pacific Northwest this past weekend, and on my way home yesterday, I had a chance to walk around the Portland Airport. Since this place has been rated the best airport in the US by many, I thought I’d walk around to see what was so great. Sure there were short security lines and all that, but I was looking for things that really made the airport stand out. Here’s what I thought were the top 5 features.

5) Green-tastic

Portland Airport Goes GreenYou’d think a place that gets far more rain in a year than should be legal wouldn’t care about water conservation so much, but they do. They’ve even installed the dual-flush handle on their toilets. Pull up for #1 (and less water) and push down for #2 (with more water). I have to wonder how many people pay attention to which way they flush, but hey, it’s a nice effort nonetheless.

4) Pull Up a Seat

Portland Airport TSA BenchesIt’s bad enough when you have to take your shoes off at security, but it’s the ultimate in frustration when you can’t find a place to sit down to put them back on. I’m not sure why the TSA has decided to be so friendly here at PDX, but it’s very nice to see that there are big benches just past security where you can sit and recompose yourself. Why can’t other airports do this? Maybe it’s a space issue, or maybe there’s just someone more compassionate running the show in this town.

3) Be Entertained

Portland Airport MusicAs I passed security, I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t in a Nordstrom store. Yesterday, William Fischer was tickling the ivories on this piano, and I found out that it was just part of an entertainment series that the airport puts on regularly. Nothing like live music to soothe the harried traveler. Then again, I wasn’t so harried yesterday but you get my point.

2) Get Online Free

Portland Airport Free Wi-FiThis is becoming more and more popular around the country, but I still don’t see it nearly enough. Go to PDX and you’ll have free wi-fi throughout the airport. In addition, they have business centers with workstations to get things done. I think the other feature I find most useful here is the place to charge your cell phone/ipod. Sometimes finding a plug in the airport can be such a pain.

1) Public Transit to the MAX

Portland Airport MAXThere’s nothing I love more about an airport than good public transit access, and this has to be one of the best. The MAX light rail comes right in to the airport. How close? This picture was taken from behind security on one of the concourses. So yeah, it’s close, and it’s easy. You can get just about anywhere in the Portland area from here. Coming from LA, where our airports have some of the worst public transit connectivity around, this makes me very jealous.

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