Recombobulation Area

A touch of kindness at Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee

Considering the degree to which air travellers must disrobe at airport security it’s a wonder we ever make it to our destinations as intact as we do.  I know I’m not the only one who finds it somewhat unnerving to be in the company of two dozen strangers in various stages of undress surrounded by the sounds of buckling, zipping and closing things.  There we stand,  clutching boarding passes, hawkishly scanning items as they exit the xray machine to ensure we leave nothing vital behind.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this announcement:

“Will the passenger who left a brown belt at security please return to collect it.” 

It gives me an instant mental picture of some poor soul – suitcase in one hand, holding up drooping pants with the other.

One airport is seeking to give its patrons a bit of relief by providing a recombobulation area.  The photo above is from the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.  We still have to disrobe, but now we have a calm spot in which to put it all back together.  I love it.  You have to appreciate the humor and humanity in this gesture.  Thanks MKE.

By the way — to show how community focused they are…  I tweeted this last night and they tweeted right back.  Impressive.  We should all listen and engage with our customers as well as this airport does.

For the next few months, I entered airport security with renewed curiosity and a sense of fun. As I made my way through each one I would look for a recombobulation area. Of course, none of the other airports had one, so I would then send a tweet to Mitchell Airport announcing that they are still the friendliest airport in all the land. I never would have believed that I’d develop a relationship with an airport, but there it is. And don’t you know if I have a choice of airports to make a connection, I’m going to choose this one over others. That’s a fine example of corporate social networking.


4 Replies to “Recombobulation Area”

  1. Dear Susan,

    Thank you again for your kind words and for appreciating our efforts to have a little fun with travel. We look forward to bringing a smile to your face next time you travel with us and will keep up the hard work to make Mitchell International Airport the customer friendly airport in the Wisconsin and northern Illinois area.

    – All your friends at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport


    1. Hey, you guys deserve a special reputation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recounted this story during public presentations and conversations – and even within my own company as I help us understand the importance of engaging effectively with our client community. Keep up the great work.



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