February 1, 2007
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The nation’s airport terminals have won this month’s Noisy Dozen award for creating a cacophony of unnecessary noise that makes air travel thoroughly unpleasant. For many passengers, air travel is a miserable experience.
One source of ridiculous noise is the constant, blaring FAA announcements about “airport security.” In the nation’s airports, every couple of minutes a loud announcement comes over the intercom (“May I have your attention, please?”) informing passengers that they should not accept packages from strangers. Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, wonders “why can’t they just put up a sign? Do they have to keep blasting the same monotonous announcement over and over again? It’s incredibly annoying. No one listens to these announcements. They’re just noise.”
Rueter also noted that many airports have “people-movers,” with loud, piercing beepers. “In Chicago’s O’Hare airport, these golf carts are everywhere, and they are always beeping. It’s enough to give you a headache.”
And then many airports have “moving sidewalks,” with constant announcements: “You are on the moving sidewalk. Please be careful. You are on the moving sidewalk.” And then, once you’ve reached the end, the announcement changes to: “You are leaving the moving sidewalk. Please be careful. You are leaving the moving sidewalk. Please be careful.”
Further, virtually every American airport plays ubiquitous, annoying “background music.” A survey of passengers at Great Britain’s Gatwick airport found that forty-three percent of respondents strongly disliked the music–causing Gatwick officials to terminate the canned music. “American airport officials should do the same,” said Rueter.
And a passenger’s problems are not over when he boards the plane. “Once you’re on, the flight attendant screams into a microphone about fastening your seat belt, and then the pilot comes on every so often to inform you that ‘we’re flying over Toledo.’ There’s no rest for the weary traveler,” said Rueter.
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Echo Manufacturing and Circuit City. Noise Free America’s web site is at http://www.noisefree.org.