The Post’s View

An airport design that worked when it opened

Philip Kennicott wrote an interesting review of the new PBS program “Ten Buildings that Changed America” [“Top 10 list fails to impress,” Style, May 10]. But I have one quibble from a historic perspective.

Kennicott wrote, “No mention is made of how locals mostly loathe the moving lounges at [Eero] Saarinen’s Dulles Airport.” When the airport opened, we loved the mobile lounges. The airline timetables showed mobile lounge departure times. We simply crossed the main concourse and boarded them. The short distance was a plus for seniors and those in wheelchairs. The lounges took us directly to the planes, and we boarded. There was nothing like this anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, the volume of traffic at Dulles increased so that this solution was no longer feasible. Now we have midfield terminals, a rail system that sometimes goes to a stop between the current terminal and a future terminal and shuttles to other areas. For seniors, wheelchair users and people with luggage, Dulles now requires the ability to use stairs, escalators and elevators to board trains or shuttles to get to a plane. It will be no better when the Metro Silver line lets you off two football fields away from the terminal.

I applaud Saarinen’s vision for an ideal airport, though it wasn’t able to keep up with demand.

Edward J. Kelty, Bethesda

 
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