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Travel Woes: How American Airports Lost Their Glamour

The dissolution of the industry was reflected in airports, where architectural innovation was quickly pushed aside to make room for quick, easy fixes.


American Airlines’ filing for bankruptcy protection last week provoked surprisingly little reaction from the media or regular travelers. Perhaps we've grown immune to the whims of the rapidly changing airline industry, where the past three decades have seen the merging and dissolution of countless carriers.

Yet it wasn’t so long ago that air travel was synonymous with Americans’ visions of the future, when purchasing a boarding pass meant participating in the ever-expanding dreams of post-war America. Somewhere along the way, the optimistic glow surrounding air travel faded away, leaving a beleaguered industry that causes stress and frustration, not awe, for American travelers. And the dissolution of the industry was reflected in airports, where architectural innovation was quickly pushed aside to make room for quick, easy fixes.

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