Airport Departure Boards and Imagination


Last year I began writing a novel as part of NanoWrimo. The opening scene: a washed up management consultant walks into LAX and sits crosslegged in front of the international departure board, letting his eyes rest on each exotic destination.

Alain de Botton, in an interview on, talks about how airport departure boards light up our imagnations:

Airport departure boards help to put us in touch with the idea of alternatives. They make us think that right now, somewhere on the other side of the globe, very different things are happening. They do that very basic task of the places of travel: jolt us into remembering that the world is stranger, more exciting, more various than we imagine it when we are in familiar surroundings, and in danger of boredom and routine.

Next time you're in an airport, stop at the departure board and take a minute to contemplate the possibilities. It's my favorite thing to do in airports.

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