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Airport Ambience

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This is the Savvy Traveler, I'm Rudy Maxa. I flew out of Los Angeles Monday - one of those busy travel days after the long Thanksgiving weekend. With a few minutes to kill at the gate before boarding my flight, I picked up stray coffee cups and discarded newspapers left on chairs and end tables. Don't ask me why. It's a habit probably born of being raised as an Army colonel's son. Policing the area was always an important chore.

So it came as no surprise to me to see a new J.D. Power survey of airline passengers. It revealed the gate area is one of the most important factors in determining whether a passenger likes an airport or not. As flight delays increase, the ambience of a departure area and the availability of shops or eateries nearby can make a big difference in the quality of someone's waiting time. Who scored the highest? Among large airports: Orlando, Las Vegas, and Denver. Among medium-sized ones: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Washington's Reagan National.

Now, I'm no Army officer, so I wouldn't presume to suggest you pick up the litter of strangers even if it would make a departure area more pleasant. But you know, every once in a while it can be interesting. On my flight from LA was a very famous movie actor. On his seat I found discarded pages from his personal address book. I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with 'em, but it's good to know that if I ever want to drop a personal note to Al Franken, Jeff Goldblum, or Robin Williams, well, I now have their addresses.

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