We came home from Quebec through Detroit, which has a fine, modern airport. Unfortunately, it also has one of the banes of the frequent traveler — the under-the-runway concourse connection I call the Tunnel Of Chiming Weirdness. In Detroit, it is the tunnel connecting Concourse A and Concourses B and C. The tunnel has the standard moving walkways, but then inflicts upon the weary traveller a dim changing light show and weird, chiming, otherworldly music. In O’Hare, the Tunnel of Chiming Weirdness is the neon-ceilinged monstrosity that connects the United concourse with the rest of the airport. I am sure there are others I can’t think of at the moment.
Why do these off-putting light and sound shows exist in airport tunnels? Does someone actually think they are a triumph of modern “public art,” music, and design, or are they consciously designed to be so disturbing that they will cause travellers to sprint through the tunnel? Why can’t travellers who are changing planes just have a little peace and quiet as they walk through airports?