Saturday, 20 August 2011
I hate . . . Airports
I enjoy travelling - seeing new places, trying new foods, experiencing different cultures. I even enjoy the travelling part - driving through new scenery and the surge of power as an aeroplane takes off.
But what I really cannot stand is airports. I had the misfortune to be stuck at one for about 6 hours the other day - a combination of a delayed flight and getting an early lift. It's a miserable waste of time that sucks so much of the pleasure out of travelling.
First of all is the queues. Queues for everything. To check in, for baggage, for security, for boarding. Then there is the irritating and illogical security procedures. I'm pretty used to the things you can't take on board, but so many of them make no sense. Nail scissors? Dangerous weapons! Half drunk coffee from one of the terminal shops? Probably an explosive! (even if you are still sipping it).
What made me laugh was that you can get metal cutlery in any of the shops in the secure area. They are blunt, but 10 minutes and a bit effort would get you an edge or point. Of course, it would not do you any good, as the new on-board security prevent access to the flight deck anyway.
Then there is airport design. They are big buildings - I suppose they have to be accommodate the gates - but I'm sure they make them bigger than required purely to drag you past all these shops. You are a captive audience, and they really want you to buy overpriced rubbish. I especially hate the duty free shop in most airports, designed so you have to walk through it, with banners screaming special offers that are not so special if you could compare them to the supermarket down the road.
Lastly there are the waiting area. Waiting is what you do in airports, so you would expect the most attention paid to it. Instead you get limited, uncomfortable seating, food service that seems to only supply reheated, poor quality food that is massively overpriced, and hundreds or thousands of surly customers and staff.
Yes, I hate airports. Next time, I think I'll walk - or swim.
UPDATE: See Joe the Peacock Yay Rules of air travel for a really useful list of things to do in the airport to make other passengers lives easier.