I found the airship port in the beta, but didn't find anything about how to get a pass, is that quest released? or something we will have to wait for? I started in Gridania
It's quest related, you get it when you hit 15 and do the missions up to that point.
Everyone says they liked being able to see the airships coming and going in XI, but really how often did you notice after the initial novelty wore off? I think travel needs to be as easy as possible so this is a good thing in my eyes.
I always loved the airships in FFXI mainly for nostalgia I guess. I'll never forget how cool it was to attain rank 5 and ride the airship for the first time. I absolutely loved the music also. Back then you pretty much had to ride it anyway, so I wasn't worried too much about the time it took. It made the world seem big and real.
Also, when I was riding in from Sauromongue or wherever and happened to glance up and see the airship coming into Jeuno I always thought it was a neat little touch that tied everything together. These details shape your overall experience of the world as a whole.
I agree that it did suck when you were about a foot away from the airship and it took off.