Not Everyone Knows What Airport Moving Walkways Are For

Moving walkways help you traverse long distances in airports quickly. It’s understandable, though, that many passengers may not remember how they work.

  • It’s been a long time since many people have traveled because of the pandemic, so they’re out of practice.

  • Airports like Dallas – Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare have removed some moving walkways because you zip right past the retail shops. They’d rather have you stop in and make an impulse purchase, since they’re getting a cut of the revenue.

So for the uninitiated, you get on the moving walkway that is moving in the direction that you’re headed. In the United States you’re going to get on the moving walkway on the right, while the walkway on the left is going in the opposite direction.

This may seem obvious to some travelers, but with business travel still down by about 75% and planes full of leisure travelers – in American Airlines CEO Doug Parker’s words today’s passengers are “somewhat different from our normal clientele” – you’re bound to run into situations like this:

The woman moves slowly while being passed on the right – but it’s worth watching for what happens nine seconds into the video.

On the other hand, while you don’t get much elevation here, treadmills are expensive. And so is travel. If you’ve got the time, perhaps you pack on baggage instead of weights and hit the airport treadmill for some exercise.

Or, do like Jennifer Garner does, and use the moving walkways at the San Francisco airport for ballet practice.

(HT: @xJonNYC)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Walk left, stand right. Most people are either ignorant, or inconsiderate, these days. Drop them in Japan and watch them get run over. Wish we could do that here.

  2. We’ve all done stupid things. But the best are when we don’t get hurt and nobody’s looking. Well, she wasn’t hurt anyway.

  3. Given that the USA is the world’s worst country for motorists to stay in the right lane unless passing, what happens on moving sidewalks is totally to be expected.

  4. Funny…got a good workout

    Can’t figure out the airport – the G2 signage looks European, the brown tile can’t place

  5. Am I missing the punchline? What happened at the kine second mark? She just stopped walking and went backwards.

  6. I say “tight connection” and they let me through. I thank them for letting me pass.

  7. “The other people I hate are the people that get on to the moving walkway and then just stand there. Like it’s a ride? Excuse me, there’s no animated pirates or bears along the way here. Do your legs work at all?” – Jerry Seinfeld, “The Trip Part 1”

  8. Think it’s funny that people have an opinion on what others do or don’t do on the moving walkways. If you don’t like what others do on them, get your fat butt off and walk around them and stop worrying about others.

  9. I go around the walkway and try to walk faster than those walking on the walkway. Hah – I beat you.

  10. When I ‘ve been traveling 10, 20 or even 30 hours bone tired and groggy… I could do something like this too.

  11. Many Americans simply don’t encounter enough “moving sidewalks” to know how to use them properly. They do not understand that you’re supposed to keep walking on them, and not simply stop and wait for the ride to end. And many of the standees also don’t understand to stay to the right.

    When I see a standee blocking my way, I start rolling my suitcase loudly in hopes that they’ll know there’s “traffic” and move to the side. If that doesn’t work, a polite-but-firm “excuse me” almost always works.

  12. After a a roundtrip flight to Vegas this past weekend, I can confirm most passengers have no clue what they are doing. Utter chaos on both flights.

    And seriously, it’s a moving WALKWAY not a moving STANDWAY…

  13. @JH mentions saying “Tight Connection” but I think part of the point of this post is that there are a lot of amateur travelers right now and many would have no idea what a “Tight Connection” is.

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