Tuesday, June 09, 2009

mcghee tyson gets a facelift

photo credit: MHM Architects

So I'm a pretty frequent flyer, and I spend a LOT of time at Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport, as well as various other airports around the world. If you've ever read my blog bio (right sidebar), you would know that McGhee Tyson is, in fact, one of my favorite things. Why do I love it so much? When you spend a lot of time in and out of airports, you want three things: convenience, speed and cleanliness. TYS has all three. Almost nowhere else in this country can you leave your house at 5am and make it in time to board your 6am flight. It's incredible.

See, I'm from Ann Arbor/Detroit, and while I absolutely love where I am from, I do not love a big city airport. Detroit is one of those cities where you really do need to arrive over an hour in advance of your flight. Add to that the 45 minute to an hour drive from home. That's a lot of wasted time just trying to get to where your trying to get. And big airports aren't clean. I can't bring myself to sit at the gate and wait for flights. You just never know what was there before you were.

And that's why McGhee Tyson is one of the best places on earth. Convenience. Speed. Cleanliness. It's 1 terminal with 12 gates. And it has rocking chairs!

Sure, a smaller market often means pricier flights and an inability to claim allegiance to one airline. Since we're nobody's hub, you've got to spread your miles around. I'm okay with that. I can almost always make it work so that I'm flying on the Star Alliance. Despite the few cons, TYS has so many pros.

So I was thrilled to hear that TYS was diversifying its dining selection. Ruby Tuesday is great, but a coffee shop it is not. And since a 6am flight requires mass quantities of coffee, TYS needed a little something. That something is the brand new Starbucks that opened a few weeks ago. Besides Starbucks are a new Quiznos and Cinnabon. And there's a cute new and clean dining area next to the Starbucks. ..just a little variety for one of the greatest places on earth.

I flew out at 6am this morning and wanted to take some pictures to put up but I forgot my camera. Maybe next time I fly, I'll snap a few to share with you.

15 comments:

The Modern Gal said...

Amen. There is something to be said for a small airport. I grew up flying out of Memphis, and while the convenience of the Northwest hub was great, it always took forever to get there, park and get through the lines.

And there is something charming about rocking chairs at an airport too.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the new selections are terrific!

Although I have to disagree, Ruby Tuesday could only be classified as mediocre...lol

ck said...

why have i never seen a cinnabon anywhere except in an airport?

Discordia said...

Has Tyson ever fixed their wi-fi? And if so, is it still the lame "enter all your credit card information just so you can check your email for five minutes" policy?


Also Modern Gal, you forgot to point out that the Memphis airport boasts being situated in one of the highest crime-rate neighborhoods that this lovely state has to offer.

em said...

Most airports charge for wifi, so that's not something that's exclusive to TYS. I know of only a few where wifi is entirely free. FT Lauderdale is one that comes to mind. Most others use services like Tmobile, etc. to charge for Internet.

The Modern Gal said...

CK: It's because you've never been to West Town Mall, apparently.

Discordia: Yes, except you don't really have to bother with the 'hood at the Memphis airport if you take the interstate.

em said...

CK: Louis CK has a hilarious bit about cinnabon at the airport. It is too vulgar to link to, or else I would have. Google it if you have time and don't mind how disgusting he can be.

Discordia said...

I know Tri-cities, Charlotte International & Orlando International (conveniently the three airports I spend the most time in) have free wifi. Also Jetblue's terminal at JFK does too.

And according to this list, Tyson's now offering free wifi? Anyone else heard of that?

http://www.wififreespot.com/airport.html

Discordia said...

Modern Gal: True, but I still think it's a shame that the airport is still located in such a bad part of town.

benjamin said...

"There's no reason to have a Cinnabon, I've tried to find one: Let's see, I'm about to get on a plane, uhh, how about 8 POUNDS OF CAKE. Sounds reasonable - a little dessert on the go." -Jim Gaffigan

Kevin said...

I flew out of and back into McGhee Tyson twice last month. Once was the third leg after having been to Brussels and Chicago. TYS is definitely everything you said. Also, the bird's eye of Knoxville when coming in for a landing is probably the most beautiful incoming view I've ever seen.

The Modern Gal said...

Jim Gaffigan = awesome. Thanks for posting that, Ben.

em said...

Okay, warning: this one is vulgar. But he has "played" (what do comedians do? spoken? joked?) in Knoxville a few times, so I feel it is appropriate (airport joke at the very end):

http://comedians.comedycentral.com/louis-c-k-/videos/louis-c-k----getting-a-cinnabon

(I don't know how to make a link in a comment. Yeah, that's right.)

Jess said...

Another thing about TYS - the people! From the staff at the counters to the security folks, they are all nice and friendly! They actually know how and choose to smile and be kind. :)

Temple House said...

My aunt works for American Airlines in Dallas. With free flights all over the world she's seen nearly all the airports everywhere. Ours is her second favorite for many of the same reasons you give here. We are very lucky. And yeah, the folks are surprisingly nice too!

Brian