19 September, 2012

Day 8: Munich International Airport - Lessons in dignity

There is something about the Germans.

In every brush I have had with Germanic culture, the central theme that runs through every experience is their deep commitment to human dignity. I once said that the dignity of a culture is well-indicated by how people are treated when they have no options. In Austria, years ago, I marveled at how the highway rest stop food options were like a Whole Foods market. I do not exaggerate.

When I boarded the Lufthansa flight, I was immediately struck by the cleanliness of the aircraft, the sleek, minimalist leather seats, and the respectable leg room in every row. The Germans care about design, and would not think to allow the smallest things to be designed badly. Why design anything poorly, when it takes little more energy to design it well?

When the plane landed in Munich, I exited to the most beautiful terminal imaginable. Every 100 meters or so, there is a cappuccino station, self-service, complimentary, with multiple free newspapers. A kindness from Lufthansa.

There are napping stations where you can rest or work in protected silence.

There are gift shops that sell things that are actually nice.

There are restaurants that are quality, though expensive.

Even though I have only 3 hours in the airport of this wonderful country, I am thankful even for that. Every experience in Germany has been a pleasant one.

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