Indianapolis International Airport (IND), the top-ranked airport in the nation for service quality six years in a row, offers an appealingly simple navigation and aesthetic experience that no doubt helps it maintain its high ranking. Navigation-wise, it should be easy: it is neither a large nor particularly busy airport (though big and busy enough to rate among the upper tier of major North American airports). As for its appearance, it has aged well and shows little signs of wear after celebrating its ten-year anniversary, though this is likely explainable for the same reason that its ranks well for its maneuverability.
I’ve blogged in the past about some of my concerns with management decisions at the airport in the past, from its difficulties in devising good uses for the current plethora of gates, to the tendency to eliminate space originally dedicated to local artists, only to get replaced with revenue-generating advertising. In each case, though, I’ve recognized the necessity of these decisions: they were not so much unwise as they were unfortunate that they were needed to generate revenue at a time when the airline industry reacted to both challenging new security regulations and an increasingly finicky consumer culture.
This latest trip to IND, however, yielded a find that I can neither justify nor fully explain: an archetypal photo of the Indianapolis skyline with an unusual feature.It’s a sight most people familiar with the city will recognize, looking eastward along the Central Canal toward the skyline, flanked by Military Park and the Indiana State Museum. Even those only marginally familiar with the city may still be able to identify the spot, since it has proven a popular location for photographing the city ever since the completion of White River State Park some fifteen to twenty years ago. Regardless of how acquainted a person is, it probably takes a person who cares about minor details to notice a glaring oversight. Take a look at the lower right corner.Clearly the photography team had floodlight ambience in mind, but they forgot—or simply didn’t care—that some of that lighting was there to aid a construction team, resurfacing the decorative brickwork on the right side of the canal. It’s as big of a goof as the barely visible boom mic at the top of a poorly framed cut from a movie or TV show. Why couldn’t they wait until the resurfacing was complete? Surely it wouldn’t take more than a couple weeks. The promotional skyline pic is not a subtle location either; this photo is at the end of Concourse A, right before entering the Civic Plaza.And it’s particularly odd, considering that a bustling daytime photo is just a few feet further down the path, on the other side of the corridor.Sure, it has those weird panels. But otherwise the arrangement is perfect. Just like something out of a rendering.
This would be carping on my part, if I were faulting someone for this, but I have no idea where along the chain they might have made such a decision. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter, unless you have an eye for details. But considering that IND consistently gets enough details right to yield an overwhelmingly favorable customer experience—favorable enough to rate at the top time and time again—it’s safe to say that an equally important characteristic is an eye for the right details. Discernment. Separating the wheat from the chaff—or, in this case, the scaffolding.