NewsLocal News


Lawmaker trolls SLC airport with resolution for a new name for long concourse walk

SLC International Airport
Posted at 3:51 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 19:41:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker is trolling the new Salt Lake City International Airport by proposing to rename it after the long walk people have to take across the concourse to their gates.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, has introduced a resolution in the Utah State Legislature jokingly seeking to rename the newly built airport to "Pioneer Children Memorial Airport." It's based on the Mormon hymn "Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked."

The song goes like this:

Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked.
Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked.
They washed at streams and worked and played.
Sundays they camped and read and prayed.
Week after week, they sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked.

"I think the name would be more reflective of the passenger experience for those of us who like to walk and walk and walk and walk," Rep. Thurston said in an interview Friday with FOX 13.

The Provo lawmaker said he's flown in and out of the new Salt Lake City International several times now, and each time it has been a long walk to the airplane gate.

"It can take a person who’s not a fast walker easily a half-hour to get from security to the far B-gates," he said.

Passengers FOX 13 spoke with on Friday described the walk to baggage claim from their gate as both "a journey" and "exhaustive."

Rep. Thurston insisted he was not serious about the resolution, which is a statement by the legislature and not legally binding, nor would he even take up lawmakers' time with it. He said he likes parts of the new airport, but is hoping to send a message, especially after hearing some constituent complaints and experiencing it himself.

"The great thing about SLC airport is we have more flights to more places because of the expansion. So that’s nice," Rep. Thurston said. "But the downside of the airport is the passenger experience may not be world-class at this point."

Airport officials insist the walk isn't really that much longer, but it was designed to handle millions more passengers than the previous airport. They say it makes up for it in other ways like less time spent on the tarmac, more flights and faster services in other areas. But they have definitely heard the complaints about the walk.

Airport Executive Director Bill Wyatt has even had a little fun with it in social media videos, where he reads Facebook posts and tweets calling for his firing or comparing going across the concourse to running a 5k race.

"Nicole writes, 'I will tell my children someday I walked 18 miles to get to my gate at the new SLC airport.' Thanks, Nicole. We’ve actually measured it, once you clear the main security gate, the longest walk is six-tenths of a mile," he said on one video posted online. "Rest assured, your children will walk much less with the new central tunnel currently under construction. Kids, no matter what generation, they always have it better than us!"

In its next phase, the new airport will have a central tunnel that officials said should alleviate some of the walk (and walk and walk).