When the Airport Becomes a Library

Title (Dublin Core)

When the Airport Becomes a Library

Description (Dublin Core)

In the middle of March in 2020, flight prices dropped dramatically. I took advantage out of this circumstance by purchasing a $75 non-stop round trip ticket on United from Phoenix to Chicago. My flight to Chicago on Monday, March 16 was somewhat full, and O'Hare Airport in Chicago was less crowded than usual. However, the Coronavirus situation quickly worsened each day. I returned to the airport on Thursday, March 19 for a 10:00 AM flight to go back to Phoenix. O'hare, normally packed with people during this aviation morning rush hour, was almost like a ghost town. It had only taken a couple of days to make the big drop in passanger traffic. It was earily quiet. The colorful walkway to the satellite concourse in Terminal 1 had just a few people, making it quite easy to hear Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." When I got to the satellite concourse, it felt like a library. You could walk on the concourse with barely anyone around surrounded by little to no noise. It was if you owned the place. I went to Starbucks, a favorite among travelers in the morning, where there was no line. The workers enjoyed conversating among themselves. Walking past each of the gates, I could hear near silence as most were empty or near empty, with very few gate agents working in the terminal. As someone who had taken flights out of this airport since I was little, this felt very bizzare. I knew this was historic and I took a couple of photographs along the way. One of the things I've realized about the history of the pandemic, and major historical events in general, is that it isn't necessarily about what's added, but what is removed. The sensory details do not necessarily involve jolts to your senses, but perhaps the opposite. Like Lower Manhatten after the collapse of the World Trade Center, sometimes what you may sense during major historical events is near silence. No one on my flight that day needed to point out the sheer gravity of the situation; the silence spoke a thousand words.

Date (Dublin Core)

March 19, 2020 09:06 -05:00

Creator (Dublin Core)

Peter Schultz

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Peter Schultz

Event Identifier (Dublin Core)


Partner (Dublin Core)

Arizona State University

Type (Dublin Core)


Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

English Aviation
English Education--Universities
English Travel

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)


Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Sensory History

Linked Data (Dublin Core)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Item sets

This item was submitted on October 14, 2020 by Peter Schultz using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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