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Penalized for Walking

March 13, 2011

Recently at the Philadelphia International Airport, I tried to make use of a fairly long layover by walking around to exercise. I had to go from terminal B to terminal F, and I was a bit disappointed to see that it involved a shuttle ride, because I knew I had time for a lengthy stroll. Imagine my pleased surprise, then, when I spotted the walkway to terminal F. That is, until I got close enough to see the red warning sign.

“If you walk to the F terminal instead of taking the shuttle, you will have to go through security again.”

I paused a moment, dumbfounded. Much as I wanted to walk, I had just filled up my water bottle and bought some tea. I had also pulled out some hand lotion from my plastic bag of allowed liquids and gels. I didn’t fancy the prospect of storing the lotion again, dumping the water, and gulping my still-scalding tea to go through security, only to refill my bottle and get the lotion back out immediately afterward. My other concern was not knowing how much going through security again might delay me.

In the end I decided to take the shuttle, swaying in concert with my packed fellow passengers. Once at the F terminal, I did get some exercise by wandering the concourse, but it wasn’t very big, and I was starting to feel a bit conspicuous after multiple round trips. Plus, given how long it took to wait for the shuttle, board, make the trip, disembark, and find my gate, I didn’t have much time left.

I know I’m probably one of the very few people who would complain about having to take a shuttle between terminals, and certainly if you were in a hurry with a tight connection, that would likely be faster. But it would have been nice to have the option to walk without feeling like I was being penalized.

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