As a kid, I loved the observation deck at Auckland Airport. The chance to see a jumbo jet taking off was not to be missed - it still isn't. My dad got a kick out of the place, and the planes and his boyish enthusiasm for watching take-offs and landings rubbed off on both of his sons.
For me, the airport was a place of wonder connecting my small-town life to the vast outside world - and the observation deck was central to that fascination. No visit to the airport was complete without having a gander at the planes. Consult the departures board, and you could time your arrival to see something big taking off.
So I understand the annoyance some readers have expressed with the mixed messages from Auckland Airport's management regarding the future of the observation deck.
They haven't given a clear indication as to whether or not there will be a public observation area when the ongoing developments are completed. The space where the old observation area once stood is now occupied by the (very nice) Air New Zealand lounge.
I can sympathise with airport management. Their different stakeholders have different needs - and while the development is under way, the day-to-day business of a busy international airport continues.
There's no doubt the airport today is a nicer place to visit, a nicer place to land at and (most importantly) a nicer place from which to fly out. But I'll be sad if there's no public viewing area in the future plans. I won't get to watch planes there with my kids. A little bit of the romance of the place will have departed.