PDX Airport is an Economic Crime Scene

By Jason Williams
Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The Portland Airport was not a ghost town but rather an economic crime scene.  A crime scene of lost jobs, a damaged economy and financial destruction slamming into thousands of families related to the local travel industry.  I could not believe what I saw.

Here are some notes and photos from my recent trip:

– Almost all shops were closed
– there was only one security checkpoint and only one person in line in front of me.
– Some airport shops were already shuttered and empty

– I saw no planes on the entire gate section on our exit.

– Alaska Airlines was offering free masks to all passengers
– The airline touted that their plans are disinfected between flights and used Hospital grade air filters.
– There was only one passenger per row (except for traveling pairs) and often no person in the row behind you.
– Cabin service was cancelled. First class passenger did get a free water bottle, all others a mini-water bottle.
– The Uber notice on my phone recommended that I not travel if I don’t have to.
– The Uber driver lamented averaging only four customers in a given six hour work day.
– I handed her $40 in cash and she was visibly shaken by the gesture
– Rental cars and hotels are running at 60% off.
– My hotel capacity was only at 10% — never ever witnessed such a quiet and dead hotel
– I noticed the hotel was offering upgrades, like the Executive Suites, for only $10 more
– The buffet breakfast was replaced with brown bag breakfast
– Fitness center, pool were all closed.
– The hotel key card drop box was a bucket of disinfectant water full of reusable key cards.

– Local restaurants take outs seemed to be only serving around three customers in an hour on a Saturday night.
– There was visible sadness and depression among the take-out server.
– The airline, hotel, restaurants and Uber drivers all said nothing has changed in the past few weeks.
– On my departure from PDX, there was not a single Uber driver at the airport on a weekend morning.  It had to be hailed from Vancouver, 20 minutes away.

People who have essential travel should know that the upmost care has been made for a safe travel experience. At every stage of the air travel experience from airport walk-in to walk-out involved consistent safe distancing, safety shields and cleanliness. For hotels, with 10% capacity it is easy for a room not to be used for weeks making virus survival unlikely. Furthermore, what we know, as of today, is that the virus retains on hard cool surfaces (not fabrics, linen, sheets) which are few and easy to disinfect in a hotel room.

Air travel is critical to keeping America connected, please support it when the opportunity arises.


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