“I wrote this song on an airport piano
I was the guy disturbing your journey
from security to gate 23A“
Goodness me, do I miss traveling…! Playing airport pianos is one of those guilty pleasures for piano pilgrims and most of us have a couple of dozen under our belt. I plead guilty, your honor 😊! Over the years, I’ve been privileged to play airport pianos on all continents, many more to come when this pandemic is over!
What’s different playing an airport piano?
Whether you’re comparing airport pianos to street pianos, those in hospitals or at your local library, there’s a number of reasons to plan an extra half hour before your flight!
- First, notice a 4-panel playing field:
- Land-side vs. Air-side – Think of land-side airport pianos as luxury street pianos, reasons below. Air-side pianos offer you a similar luxury, but with your audience in a different mindset (and maybe yourself too…), at a different pace, again reasons below. Some airports (e.g. AMS, CDG or LHR) will offer you both kinds. Try them, try what songs work where and be very welcome sharing your experience!
- Departures vs. Arrivals – Whether you’re traveling yourself, dropping off a beloved one ór picking someone up after a long-time-no-see, think of what it does to you. If you see tears at Departures, they’re likely to express sadness vs. Arrivals with sheer tears of joy!
- Money-Money-Money – Most international airports are part of a multi-million-Dollar industry, with KPI’s on customer experience and all that. As a result, you’re likely to play a well-tuned grand piano in a perfectly airconditioned environment, with comfortable waiting seats and clean wash-rooms around you. Think of that when you’re playing your next upright outside a bus-terminal in the pouring New Orleans Rain at 11pm, with a bladder about to burst :-p.
- a New York state of Mind – So, with an optimum of comfort available to you and your potential audience, let’s see what traveling does to a human being. Whether it’s your 1st flight ever or your 10th within a month, it brings you a certain level of excitement. To some, that translates into tension where others will switch to Sweet Disposition mode. You’re behind security, practically in no-mans land, so regardless your origin or destination, your language or your color, you’re invited to speak the 1 out of 7117 languages we all understand and make some friends for the day!
- Time in a bottle – Some songs work at 6AM (Grieg’s Morning Mood), others work better at 10PM (It’s Raining Men 😉), right?! Funny thing about playing international airports: Local time means little to both departing and arriving passengers. As a player, you have some more room to maneuver, experiment based on observing the energy around you. Give it a try, it’s quite funny to get an impromptu sing-along around breakfast time…
- But Now You’re Gone – Again, airports give you a little more room to experiment, make an occasional mistake and get away with it. Usually it’s quite noisy around you, so adjusting your volume to the environment gives you a few extra options. And even in case of a complete breakdown, you’re gone forever before anyone blinks an eye. Compare that to playing your local library piano on daily basis…
Disclaimer note – !! Warning !!
Playing airport pianos can become quite addictive:
- Before realizing it, some diehard travelers amongst us do indeed adjust their itineraries, just to play new airports 😊.
- Oh and make sure to catch your flight!
|Americas||Bermuda||BDA - Bermuda St.George's - L.F. Wade International Airport|
|Americas||Canada||YVR - Vancouver International Airport|
|Americas||Canada||YYC - Calgary International Airport|
|Americas||USA||ATL - Atlanta - Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport|
|Americas||USA||CHS - Charleston Airport|
|Americas||USA||CLT - Charlotte Airport|
|Americas||USA||DFW - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport|
|Americas||USA||DTW - Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport|
|Americas||USA||HSV - Huntsville Airport|
|Americas||USA||LYH - Lynchburg Regional Airport|
|Americas||USA||MSP - Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport - Land-side domestic|
|Americas||USA||ORD - Chicago O'Hare International Airport|
|Americas||USA||PDX - Portland Oregon International Airport|
|Americas||USA||PIT - Pittsburgh International Airport|
|Americas||USA||RIC - Richmond Virginia Airport|
|Americas||USA||SAN - San Diego International Airport|
|Americas||USA||SFO - San Francisco International Airport|
|Americas||USA||SJC - San Jose Airport|
|Americas||USA||SLC - Salt Lake City International Airport|
|Americas||USA||SNA - John Wayne Airport Santa Ana|
|Asia Pacific||Armenia||EVN - Zvartnots International Airport|
|Asia Pacific||Australia||MEL - Melbourne Airport|
|Asia Pacific||China||CAN - Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport|
|Asia Pacific||Japan||SHM - NankiShirahama Airport|
|Asia Pacific||Japan||TTJ - Tottori Airport|
|Asia Pacific||Jordan||AMM - Amman - Queen Alia International Airport|
|Asia Pacific||New Zealand||CHC - Christchurch International Airport|
|Asia Pacific||South Korea||ICN - Incheon International Airport|
|Asia Pacific||South Korea||TAE - Daegu Airport - South Korea|
|EMEA||Belgium||BRU - Brussels - Zaventem Airport|
|EMEA||Belgium||CRL - Brussels-Charleroi Airport|
|EMEA||Czechia||BRQ - Brno - Tu?any Airport|
|EMEA||Czechia||PRG - Prague - Václav Havel Airport|
|EMEA||Finland||OUL - Oulu Airport|
|EMEA||France||CDG - Paris - Roissy - Charles de Gaulle|
|EMEA||France||TLS - Toulouse-Blagnac Airport|
|EMEA||Germany||FRA - Frankfurt International Airport|
|EMEA||Germany||MUC - Munich International Airport|
|EMEA||Hungary||BUD - Budapest - Liszt Ferenc Airport|
|EMEA||Ireland||ORK - Cork Airport|
|EMEA||Italy||AHO - Alghero - Aeroporto Fertilia|
|EMEA||Italy||FCO - Rome - Leonardo da Vinci International Airport|
|EMEA||Italy||PMO - Palermo Airport|
|EMEA||Malta||MLA - Malta Airport|
|EMEA||Netherlands||AMS - Amsterdam - Schiphol Airport|
|EMEA||Poland||WAW - Warsaw Chopin Airport|
|EMEA||South-Africa||DUR - King Shaka International Airport|
|EMEA||United Kingdom||GCI - Guernsey Airport - La Villiaze - Guernsey|
|EMEA||United Kingdom||LHR - London Heathrow Airport|
|EMEA||United Kingdom||MAN - Manchester Airport|
Last: most linked songs in this blog were written and performed by Louisiana Hall of Famer and Monroe, Louisiana born Doug Duffey. Man, do I Love My Baby!!
Stay safe, enjoy playing your next airport and make sure to catch your flight!