About three years ago this blog ran a series of postings about the biggest misperceptions people have about the airport. It’s time to dust those postings off, tweak, and repost.
Why? Because the Misinformation Monsters have been out in full force the past week — particularly the nameless critics that the Springfield News-Leader feeds and nurtures at the bottom of its web pages.
British novelist Samuel Richardson said something that sums up many airport critics, and we're paraphrasing here, ‘People with bad information, and therefore little understanding, are most apt to be angry.’
We get all sorts of questions and comments from the public. Here’s a sampling:
- I am having a monkey flown in from Cameroon, what is expected of me?
- Our flight was canceled because the gasket around the windshield of the plane leaked. Why wasn’t this fixed the night before?
- There was no signage telling us where to turn off for the airport from highway 65…
- We want to import dogs from Lebanon (the country) to USA through your airport. Please inform us of the requirements to allow the dogs, coming from Lebanon, to enter to USA.
- I am interested in studying to become a flight attendant. Please send any information to my home or email address.
- Does the Springfield Airport fly into Lafayette, Indiana? (To this question you can add the following cities: Little Rock; Flagstaff; Hartford; Centralia, Illinois; Muncie; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Then there’s the more obvious wish list: Kansas City, Houston, New York City, and Washington D.C.)
- I wanted to know if you have a heated/cooled cargo hold?
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not making fun. At first blush some of these questions do seem silly, but they all have a common need: customer service. They want and need good information. That’s what people yearn for. When they can’t get it from the airlines, they end up asking the airport. And in many people’s minds there is no distinction between the airport, the airlines, the highway department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We’re all just one big ball of wax.
We can deal with it most of the time, but it does get frustrating--especially so with those who don't have a need, they're just mad.
Take the lady who took pleasure in berating the airport because the airlines don’t keep flight information up-to-date. Her email cackled, “One more black eye for the Springfield Branson Airport!” Ouch--didn’t even know we had ONE!
Then there was the nameless News-Leader expert who declared the airport is losing commercial air service. He knew this because his, “Office in on the flight path and we see every aircraft that lands & takes off. 75% of the time, we see military cargo aircraft shooting take offs & landings, NOT commercial carriers."
Ouch--who needs facts? Never mind that our airport was the only airport in the region last year to have positive passenger growth--up four percent. But here’s the real kicker--airplanes landing and taking off in Springfield can do so from four different directions. That means the critic’s office is located in only one of four flight paths…
In the next few days I’ll be blogging about the biggest and most common airport misperceptions:
- The airport receives tax dollars from the City of Springfield.
- The airport controls and sets ticket prices.
- The airport has only to snap its fingers and the airlines will appear and fly wherever we want (get out that wish list)!
- The new terminal wasn’t needed, is a huge waste of tax money.
- The airport is too small to land “big” airplanes.
This is not an exercise meant to berate or insult. It’s meant to inform. Remember what Sam Richardson said.