(Air)Port of Call

The September issue of GQ features a lengthy look at Merhan Nasseri, who has been living in Terminal One of Charles de Gaulle Airport for 15 years. Having no valid identification papers — and having declined travel documents the last time he was offered them — he is unable to leave the airport or fly to another country.

Maintaining a savings account at a bank in the airport and visiting the airport doctor when he requires medical attention, Nasseri spends his time reading, sleeping, and smoking, shaving throughout the day and showering in an airport bathroom. I spent a mere hour in the Atlanta airport this past Sunday, irritated that I couldn’t easily find an ATM — and that my lunch consisted of a shrinkwrapped sandwich.

Even in these days of Laptop Lane, substantial shopping options, and airport chill-out zones, I’m hard pressed to imagine what 15 years in an airport must be like. For me, that hour in Atlanta was interminable.

How do you pass the time while in airports for business travel? Do you keep working during stopovers?