Talking Airports with Aviation Queen Benét

Today tripchi is honored to speak with the Aviation Queen herself, Benét J. Wilson

aviationqueen-30_oBenét J. Wilson is an aviation/travel freelance journalist who currently serves as the Air Travel Expert for About.com. She has also written for publications and blogs including Cranky Flier, ACI-NA Centerlines, Aviation International News,Airport World and the Airline Passenger Experience magazine.  She also blogs at AviationQueen.com on aviation and travel topics and is the founder/owner of the “I Love Sitting In 1st/Biz Class”Facebook group. She is an Air Force brat and is working on her private pilot’s certificate. She resides in Baltimore, Md.  

Benét, what is your favorite airport and why?

This is hard! I love different airports for different reasons. But since you’re forcing me to choose one, it would have to be San Francisco International, my original hometown airport. I am in love with the International Terminal and Virgin America’s Terminal 2. I’m a BIG fan of art in airports, and SFO Museum has a world-class collection. Finally, I love the airport’s food/beverage program, which emphasizes local and regional brands. Sfo_airport.231103515_std

What is your favorite activity for a long layover (2 hours or more)?

It really depends on the airport. I absolutely love the XPress Spa concept, and could spend hours there. I’m also an avgeek who loves walking around airports, taking pictures and coming up with story and blog post ideas.

What do airports in the US need to change to compete with the airports of Asia and Europe?

What they really need is the money to spend that would allow for a more level playing field. But there are some U.S. airports that have made upgrades that allow them to compete, like Dallas-Fort Worth, the expanded and upgraded Terminal 4 at JFK Airport and the new International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson.

International Terminal  at ATL

International Terminal at ATL

Who’s the most random person you’ve run in to at the airport, and describe the situation?

That’s tough because I see all kinds of people at the airport in my travels!

From a passenger experience perspective, what amenity do you feel airports miss the mark on?

That amenity would have to be good, reliable and free WiFi. As someone who has covered airports since 2006, I understand that airports have budgets and installing WiFi and its infrastructure costs money. Someone has to pay for it. But as a passenger, I expect that WiFi should be free — and reliable.

What is one attribute that aviation enthusiasts have that you wished the average commercial passenger had?

I wish that average passengers would have the sense of wonder and amazement that we get when we go to an airport or get on a flight. Despite all the hassles of travel, the act of travel is still a wonderful and amazing thing.

We saw you attended Sun N Fun this year, did you ever get that selfie with Buzz Aldrin?

Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin

I didn’t. I was too chicken to ask, although I did get some photos of him.

Thanks Benét!

Benét  has been featured on AOPA Live, Airplane Geeks podcast and she speaks extensively at conferences and seminars on topics including airports/security, new media and social media. You can connect with Benét on Twitter @AvQueenBenet and or email her at benet@aviationqueen.com.

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