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Better flooring I'm not sure when that color of carpet was picked but it really does take away from the rest of the building. More clocks. They should have linked clocks everywhere. Other than that I think it is one of the nicer airports that I have been to. Austin and Minneapolis (is that the one with the train) are nicer but they are also newer.


Great airport, but I agree: That baggage security ritual is really outdated. Matter of fact, I just got an e-mail last week from United Airlines saying that, starting yesterday, passengers checking bags at PDX need to check in 45 minutes before their flights depart (up from 30 minutes).

Here's what United's email said: "Why the change? Because Portland is one of the few airports in the U.S. that requires customers to manually carry their baggage to the TSA x-ray machine."

That certainly isn't good for Portland's image.

One other thing about PDX bugs me: The MAX trains to the city depart every 15 minutes throughout the day, except for the final hour, when there's only one train every half-hour (despite the fact that PDX has a LOT of flights arriving after 11 p.m.). There's nothing more annoying after getting off a long flight late at night than boarding the MAX train and having to wait a half hour till it starts moving.


Back in the day, the airport was wonderous. I remember flying out to PDX the first time and seeing Mt. Hood sillhouetted against the sunrise when I stepped out of the airport. Unfortunately, necessity and density demanded the parking structure and so the canopy was born. Kudos to ZGF for keeping us dry, but it is a bit heavy-handed.

The scenic drive into the terminal has been diminished by development adjacent to it. It was once a microcosm of what Oregon contains right down to trees.

Indoors wayfinding is only fair and many routes seem a bit lengthy but that's the nature of airports. There isn't any life early or late here-late night food would be great and a 24-hour Powell's would be a dream.


I just got back from there and I'm grumpy. The signs do a terrible job explaining that there are several ways to pay for your parking, and don't make it clear that you can in fact pay, as before, on the way out. And putting a debit/credit card into the same slot you just put your ticket in is counterintuitive and likewise fairly inexplained.


If they ever remodel, I'd like to see a makeover of the check-in area to the style being used at international airports.

There are far more check-in spots, without using a lot of extra space. There are so many check in desks that the airline can devote each desk to just one flight. They can be shared among airlines because the airline name and flight number is on a digital display. And the luggage goes on a conveyor belt behind each agent, between desk rows.

Here's some pictures of what I'm talking about:


Are any US airports doing this yet?


Whoops. I posted the wrong picture for Bangkok. Here's a better one.

Bangkok (new airport)

Brian Libby

Great point. I've seen this at Narita Airport outside Tokyo, and it worked SO much better.


Interesting. Vancouver's airport requires travellers transferring to another flight that goes into the USA to pick up your bags from your last flight and re-check them in for your next flight to the US...

...in other words, if you only have 15 minutes between flights, you're screwed, cause your bags take 30+


I'd love to see one of the retail areas given over to one of the small nonprofit arts orgs to curate an ongoing exposition of Oregon arts - not just one gallery, or even gallery art exclusively, but a wide spectrum of new and old, of east and west, metro and rural? Creativity is our new culture and commodity, and we might as well start marketing it at the gateway.

There is some public art already in the building - most notably a large Louis Bunce in the main retail area. But most clearly was chosen for it's durability and clean-ability, and not with any aesthetic consideraiton.


I think all in all PDX is great. Compared to so many other U.S. airports it has gracefully(by luck or design?) adapted to changes in security and process since 9-11. The large retail/dining component before security allows those waiting for arrivals to hang out in Powells or have a beer if they don't want to crouch against a wall next to the playground. At the other airport I frequent, DFW, ticketing, waiting, security, baggage checking are all now crammed into the already limited space. It's a mess and I imagine the situation is similiar at other large airports designed before 9-11.

There is ample space at the gates to allow long lines of disgruntled passengers to wrap parallel to the walking path, along perimeter of the seating areas. This is unlike most airports where the lines tend to extend perpendicular to the walking path, blocking traffic, etc...not fun.

Also, I like that you don't have to walk 8 miles to get from one end of the airport to another.


part of what makes it nice is that it's pretty small as these things go (and unfortunately it will only grow from here)


I generally think PDX is fine but the carpeting is really ugly. The Copenhagen airport has wooden end block floors throughout--beautiful. Copenhagen airport also uses the same dark blue color throughout to establish consistency and at the same time brand the airport.

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