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United Airlines Has Finally Gone Too Far

"Inside one of the busiest concourses at O'Hare International Airport, the recorded announcement cautioning travelers that 'the moving walkway is now ending'' means what it says," the Tribune reports.

"United Airlines has started to remove all eight moving walkway belts in Concourse C of Terminal 1 at O'Hare. The airline says the equipment, originally installed more than 20 years ago as a convenience for tired, bag-toting passengers, now just gets in the way."

United Airlines, you are just the worst.

The moving walkways were one of the few pleasures of O'Hare airport; a joy in life that was also quite useful. They should make the whole airport one big moving walkway!

"The walkways in C inhibit passenger flow across the concourse,'' United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said. "Removing the walkways will make it easier for customers to move both lengthwise and across the width of the concourse.''

Oh, of course. We know what that means.

"Eliminating the moving walkways will free up space for other uses, possibly including new, more creative retail stores and upscale food-and-beverage concessions aimed at luring travelers to more appealing spending options and producing more revenue for the city."

Maybe focus more on being a freakin' airport and not a shopping mall! Christ.

"Individuals who do not follow walkway etiquette - walk left, stand right - create traffic jams. And every year hundreds of walkway users at U.S. airports get hurt taking tumbles, according to safety authorities. Meanwhile, children can't seem to resist the temptation to behave like the walkways are an amusement park ride."

Oh please!

In addition, research indicates that the walkways do not save travelers significant time because people tend to walk slower when using the devices.

"Overall, the speed of those on the belt is less than if the belt wasn't there,'' said Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University.

Young conducted empirical observations at several airports for his doctoral dissertation years ago, he said. He found that normal walking speed is approximately 3 mph through an airport. A typical moving walkway belt travels at 1.4 mph., which is how fast a person would move if they just stood on the belt - or about half the pace of a normal walk speed at an airport.

People walking on a moving walkway stride at roughly 2.24 mph, Young found, indicating that they slow down from their normal 3 mph rate. The bottom line of the study was that typical users of a moving walkway travel at 3.66 mph, gaining a minor speed increase over the 3 mph speed of not using the walkway at all.

"A good number of folks - about one-third of all pedestrians - just stand there and travel the 1.4 mph speed of the belt,'' Young said Friday in a phone interview. "And eventually the 'walkers' get backed up behind the 'standers' and slow down as well.''

"So overall, the speed of those on the belt is less than if the belt wasn't there,'' Young said.

Later research at Princeton University validated Young's findings.

Feel free to repurpose this tweet as a response to that:

The only bad thing about the walkways was the feeling of being back on dry land when stepping off. They oughta put these on downtown sidewalks! Thanks, United (and Tribune) for taking more fun out of life. The transformation of humans into solely commercially exploitable machines is almost complete.


They have 'em in Toronto!


They have 'em in Newark!


They have 'em in Houston!


They have 'em in Paris! World-class!







Comments welcome.


Posted on September 22, 2015

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