Sunday, December 20, 2009

Denver Airport Concourse Comparo!

Yesterday while waiting for a connecting flight in Denver Airport with Jess I realized that I've spent an unreasonably large portion of my life waiting for connecting flights in Denver Airport. When Jess suggested that we find food my first thought was, "There's no good vegetarian food in this concourse. Let's go to the United concourse." And thus the Denver Airport Concourse Comparo was born.

Concourse A

  • Airlines: Frontier (17 gates plus several more in the small-plane area operated by Lynx), Continental (3), JetBlue (2), AeroMexico/Air Canada/Lufthansa (sharing 2 gates), British Airways, Mexicana, Midwest, AirTran, Alaska, Frontier JetExpress, Great Lakes (several in the small-plane area)
  • Food (constraints: cheap-ish, fast, vegetarian): The only place to get quick vegetarian food in the A Concourse is Panda Express, and there your choice is basically lo mein and... more lo mein. Oh, yeah, there's some place called Lefty's with some vegetarian stuff, but they're on my blacklist from a previous trip for only serving breakfast food at 8 AM. THIS IS AN AIRPORT, PEOPLE! TIME HAS NO MEANING HERE! That's what pushed me to the Panda Express... I'm sure breakfast exists in China, and maybe even breakfast food, but in America Panda Express will sell you mushy lo mein all day. Um, where was I? Concourse A has Hope's Cookies, which are OK. No trendy coffee joints, but apparently there's a Quiznos with espresso and a full bar.
  • Centerpiece Art (There is lots of public art in Denver Airport, and much of it is in the terminal, which is outside the scope of this comparo; I'm limiting myself to the centerpieces around the tram stations and vertically above): On one side twisted train tracks through a desert; on the other a semi-flattened globe anchored by structures evoking satellite dishes or grandstands. There's some kind of museum exhibit on the mezzanine level, but it's not memorable.

Comments: Frontier is a pretty good airline but its concourse is the worst in the airport.

Concourse B

  • Airline: United (16 bazillion gates), United Express (7 bazillion gates in each small-plane area).
  • Food: There's a pretty good quick Mexican place on the second level. Lots of variety. There's a TCBY. Annoying hipsters and chipper businessdroids rejoice: B Concourse has a Coffee Beanery, a Seattle's Best, two Starbuckses, and a Caribou Coffee. There's something called Pour la France. I didn't know la France was a liquid.
  • Centerpiece Art: There is a sculpture of an astronaut down in the tram station. The motorized walkway continues through the center area, leaving room only for some random neon squiggles and some arches, like something out of that crazy walkway in O'Hare from the United concourse to baggage claim.

Comments: B is the biggest and busiest concourse. This last time there was an enormous Crocs stand on the upper level. It's the most mall-like of the concourses (but not even approaching DFW). The art is not so hot, the crowds are crowdy, this concourse ranks in the middle.

Concourse C

Concourse C is the concourse you're not supposed to know about. It's really a top-C-cret military base. Say it out loud: top-C-cret. And they thought they could get away with it. If you want to figure this stuff out you have to think like they think. See the patterns.

  • Airlines: I guess the army or whoever it was (CIA? WTO? Illuminati?) put up fake airlines and stuff there: 12 gates for "Southwest" and another 5 for "Northwest" and "Delta". Like I believe that -- worst fake airline names ever, amirite? It's rounded out by "US Airways" and "American", which are almost as obvious. We didn't see no planes take off, that's for sure. Oh, and they put the whole concourse in a TIME VORTEX.
  • Food: There's a TCBY in there. Not as big as the one in B. And some place that claims to have tamales, we haven't tried them.
  • TIME VORTEX: When you enter the TIME VORTEX you see spinning pinwheels. When you leave the TIME VORTEX you see flashing lights and a swinging sickle. A++++++ very good TIME VORTEX. Would TIME VORTEX again.
  • Centerpiece Art: It's this awesome decayed garden. Only the truly enlightened can see it, which is how it got so decayed: most people can't even see C Concourse at all, let alone the garden, so nobody can maintain it. Hell, I have it on good word the President's secret puppet master himself can only see the garden through a shard of a mirror once belonging to his puppetmaster. I am on to something for sure!

Comments: Jess and I just took the tram here to see what it was and it opened our eyes. They paged Jess over the intercom, so she picked up an information phone and dialed the number for "paging". Except that's for when you want to page someone else, so she hung up and dialed information. They said the page was actually for a "Jessica Mylan", not her. We got the message loud and clear: we know you're here and we're watching. So we went to a gate for a "Southwest" flight to San Francisco and sat and waited. We started talking one of the people at the gate. An agent or a dummy? We introduced ourselves as Jessica Mylan and Billy Philbert. He said, "Didn't they just page you, over the intercom?" The agent at the gate called for boarding. Nobody lined up. We got the hell out of Concourse C.