"Our airports are like from a Third World country." - Donald Trump
I don't often find myself wanting to get political in my column, but the above quote from Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States demands a response from any and all reasonable travel professionals.
Trump, who likely possesses only a very limited knowledge of airports (more on that in a moment) - and actually has a grudge against one of them - seems to believe the quality of our domestic facilities are virtually "Third World". Granted, he seemed to be directing his attention to New York City's airports, but made a blanket statement mudding the rest of the country's facilities in the process.
Mr Trump obviously flies. A lot. So much so, he has his own plane. He would likely tell you it's a wonderful plane. A Beautiful plane. A plane better than anybody else's plane.
I've seen his plane. It certainly looks nice. It was parked on the tarmac at a private gate facility at LAX when I saw it. Not at a regular terminal. A terminal designed for private aircraft like Trump's.
This is where his authority begins to sag. Mr Trump doubtless flies into a lot of airports. But from there his perceptions are seriously suspect. Like most high-value celebrities he doesn't use the same facilities we "regular" travelers do. He doesn't go through the same terminals, he doesn't use the same TSA checkpoint, he doesn't sit down at one of the airport's restaurants or lounges.
He simply hasn't bothered to do so...it may be "beneath" him...and yet claims to have enough knowledge of our national airports that he can describe them in deliberately insulting terms.
Bullshit. I'll call it.
First: How would he know? Yes, I know he often uses the suggestion "people are saying" or some other dodge, but that's the mind of a ten year old covering for their own lack of knowledge. Trump doesn't use the airport facilities I do, or you do for that matter. (Unless the reader is Warren Buffett or Mark Cuban, at which point I apologize for my presumption.) HIs perspective is suspect from the start.
Second: Other than LaGuardia, which may be the very airport he is trying to describe here, most of America's airports are equal to other First World facilities in other countries.
I know. I have the requisite perspective.
In the last five years I've been to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, The United Kingdom, Italy and France. Heathrow, Roma, Nice, De Gaulle. Vancouver. Auckland. Melbourne, Sydney, Perth. A decade ago I went through Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.
All "First World" countries with "First World" facilities.
In those same five years I've been through Phoenix, Dulles, Reagan National, BWI, JFK, Miami, Tampa, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Oakland, Honolulu, Long Beach, LAX, San Diego, Orange Country and dozens of others.
So, yes. I'm a little bit of an authority on airport facilities.
Trump is wrong. Dead wrong.
I am not saying America's airports are perfect. Far from it. I've railed against issues in the past and will do so again in the future. There are problems. But Third World? I question whether Mr Trump has even BEEN to a third world country, let alone gone through their airport's main terminal.
If you have little or no experience with something, then keep your mouth shut.
Or, as Abraham Lincoln once noted: "It is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
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