When one travels by air these days, any little convenience helps. If you doubt it, consider how frequent travelers pay extra and submit themselves to added government intrusion into their lives just so they won't have to take their shoes and belts off as they go through the security check-point.
They'll study the art of minimalist packing so that they can get by on a single carry-on item rather than go through the mind-numbing waits for luggage at Baggage Carousel 4 ... no, make that Carousel 32 ... no, correction, head back to Carousel 4.
Still, even among those looking for every convenience, we'd be shocked if anyone who frequents Northwest Arkansas National Airport sheds a tear if the facility ends up losing the 55-foot-long moving sidewalk that transports (sometimes) travelers toward Concourse A or back toward the central part of XNA's terminal.
It turns out the sign above XNA's little walkway that says "Moving sidewalk ends" might not have just been a caution, but a prophecy.
It is, we're told, the only moving sidewalk in the state. That status has delivered a small bit of fame. "The Only Moving Walkway in The State of Arkansas" has a page on Facebook (with 119 followers and 1,603 check-ins by travelers looking for tongue-in-cheek-style entertainment).
We never saw any specifications on our friend, the walkway. We're told it was but a three-minute journey from security to the last A gate using the moving sidewalk. It might have been 2 1/2 minutes if you just walked around it.
Recent news of our slow-paced friend has moved us (slowly) to write of possible demise -- the permanent kind, not the intermittent kind airport travelers are already familiar with.
XNA officials in discussions about more renovations at the terminal say the moving sidewalk has run its course after about a dozen years of use. Last week, an official said it's current and frequent status is "inoperable."
Nick Fondano, chief infrastructure officer at XNA, told airport board members the walkway isn't a necessity today. It was originally installed as a "fix" to a slight incline when the A Concourse was built, said Brian Burke, the airport's attorney (although we'd suggest the moving walkway might want to get its own legal counsel).
"I think the real question is do people use it because it's there. or do they use it because they need to use it," Burke said in recent news coverage.
Ouch! That's gotta hurt after all these years.
Still, board members appeared to agree the walkway's journey should come to an end.
Oh, Moving Walkway, we hardly knew ye ... or used ye.