On October 27, Washington Post columnist George F. Will complained about mindless noise at airports: “You step onto an airport’s moving walkway, a flat metal conveyor belt that conveys travelers down an airport concourse, sparing them the indignity of burning a few calories by walking a bit.  And soon a recorded voice says:  ‘The moving sidewalk is coming to an end. Please look down.’  Well, yes.”

   Incessant announcements at airports also advise travelers that “designated smoking areas are located outside, away from doors” and that “a train is arriving.”

   Every ten minutes, every American airport plays a recorded announcement which blares, “May I have your attention, please,” and then proceeds to offer the incredibly obvious advice to not accept any item from an “unknown person.”

   Travelers must always deal with the cacophony from beeping carts carrying luggage and passengers (virtually running people over), as well as the constant audio presence of CNN.

   The audio assault continues once on the airplane, when a flight attendant makes the inane announcement that “this is a no-smoking flight” (despite the fact that this has been federal policy for more than a decade).  Throughout most flights, the pilot insists on providing a running travelogue–the desire for sleep be damned.

   Incessant announcements at airports and on airplanes makes air travel virtually unbearable.  All these announcements demonstrate, once again, the banality of noise.

   Will concludes: “More and more public spaces are like airports, places where we are assaulted by instructions, advice, warning, and unwanted information.  Almost none of this noise is necessary for people mature enough to be allowed to walk around the block, let along fly around the country.  This is the way the world will end, not with a bang but with an environmental blitzkrieg of blather.”



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