Airports

An article I read several days ago:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/738684/Heathrow-voted-worlds-least-favourite-airport.html

This made me think about all the airports I have been at and to try to compare them.

Belgrade airport "Nikola Tesla"
Too small to be compared with the others, it is Serbian most important airport. And I could describe it with only one word: boring. As long as you stay out of checked passports area, you may find yourself some kind of fun. Looking at stewardesses, for instance :whistle: or sitting in some of the crowded bars (during summer, at least). Inside the boarding area there is nothing interesting to catch your mind with, only thing you may do is reading newspapers and waiting for your flight. And police officers are too serious, like they are expecting some terrorist activity after every corner (there is only one, by the way :P). Big airport museum could be interesting point to visit but it is too far away for walking and there is no organized transport. In Arrivals, there are taxi drivers that will peel your skin off if you are foreigner and don`t know what to do, their prices are insane. If you decide to come to Belgrade and take a cab to the city, it would probably cost you about 50 eur but if you go upstairs to Departures level you may get a cab for about 10-15 eur to the city center. Or you may go by bus but I am not sure what the prices are, probably much cheaper than taxi.

Zurich Airport

I was there in 1992. having connecting flight to Barcelona. Airport is pretty big and crowded but somehow everything is just "there". I liked it. All of the shops and restaurants, employees very kind and helpful. Then, it is no wonder they have gotten Travel Industry Awards (by World Travel Award) six times in a row for being Europe's Leading Airport for its user-friendliness and general quality standards.

Barcelona Airport

Can`t remember almost anything about that airport πŸ˜† Good thing I remember is that you can reach a center of city in about 20 minutes by train. I was there about a month before Summer Olympic games started in 1992. and airport was crowded with police, there was even an armoured vehicle on the parking. It felt like a war zone :left: I guess it is different now πŸ™‚

Rome airport "Leonardo da Vinci" Fiumicino

A new Terminal C building with its shuttle train looks nice and handy, also the main building, with lots of cafes where you can have excellent espresso. But, informations on monitors are incomplete sometimes, showing only flights about 1 hour ahead. I was a bit confused because there was no information on my ticket whether my flight is on terminal B or C (they were for intercontinental flights as I remember, now they have moved USA flights to newly opened terminal 5). You would probably ask why I haven`t tried at Information desk? Well I did but the answer was so… unrecognisable… that I gave up and just waited for anything to appear on monitors. Luckily, I have found and interesting Alitalia stewardess who spoke excellent English and she told me where and how to reach Terminal C. Also, I was advised to check about my sword (yes I was going to Japan) upon boarding to the plane. The information I got was of the same level of understanding as with one I got on Information desk, like they had the same English teacher. We were well over the Austria when I decided not to torture myself with trying to decode it. Overall, it would be the biggest minus for this airport. One interesting thing: it is hard to see that airport is named after Leonardo da Vinci, but you can see Emporio Armani sign from the air πŸ˜›

Narita International Airport, Tokyo

The most impressive airport I have ever been. And probably the biggest one. The international Terminal 2 is actually a 5 levels building big enough to manage all of the incoming and outgoing flights. Personel are very well organized and even if there are passengers from a two or three arriving flights, passport control would be finished in about 20 minutes. Everyone speak excellent and fluent English and can help you about everything. Once I asked where I could buy adapter for my cell phone charger and girl at Informations told me even the floor and the name of the shop where I should try to find it :faint: My favourite way to go to or from the airport is by Narita Express JR line (train), but shuttle busses are very suitable and not much more expensive than train. The only thing that was a bit annoying is a security, they have checked my sword two times upon arrival and 4 times on departure :faint: But this is how it is supposed to be. Too many people around :left: And safety regulations are different than in Europe`s airports. If you, say, buy a bottle of whisky in a duty free shop in Europe, it will be packed in a sealed plastic bag and you are not supposed to open it until you arrive to a destination. In Narita, they don`t do that, you can take it in your hand luggage with yourself in airplane, but they are polite enough to warn you that, if you have connecting flight somewhere in Europe, you will have to prove what you have there and why it is not in sealed bag :left:

Milan Malpensa Airport

In future I will try to avoid that airport. On my return from Japan in 2006. a flight from Milan to Belgrade was cancelled. I was tired because of jet lag and 11 hours of flying so it was a bad news. Alitalia clerk really tried to help me, she told me they have organized a hotel for us to stay during the night but remained silent when I asked her if they will guarantee for me because I don`t have Schengen visa. She asked her superintendant what to do but that ass just looked at me like he is giving a shit and told her to give me dinner voucher and get rid of me. So she did. When I realised I would have to stay in the airport during the night, I went to restaurant with that voucher in my hand but waiter had no problem to slam the door in front of my face with a shitty excuse that they are closing. I tried to explain what happened and insisted to talk to his superior but he told me if I don`t step out he will call the police :furious: All I managed to do is to buy a sandwich (with my own money) and ice tea. Later I got myself a cup of espresso (even there a waitress was grumpy and whole area was full of garbage) and it was all I put in my stomack for next 17 hours. One of the passengers on a flight to Belgrade advised me to sue Alitalia for that but I was too lazy and wanted to forget the whole thing.

Frankfurt Airport
I must admit I was surprised to see it on the list of 20 worse airports in that Telegraph`s article. I spent there 5 hours waiting for flight to Tokyo last year and it was completely pleasant for me. Enough places to eat or for shopping but you may just sit and watch at the airplanes through a window in waiting rooms. Despite its significance, it was not too crowded and everything worked with German efficiency – so for people who worked there, it was probably a good day πŸ˜€

Munich Airport
On my way back from Japan last year, I decided to go via Munich because I could have a flight to Belgrade in about 50 minutes. Everyone of you who knows how big pain in the ass jet lag could be, may appreciate that opportunity. When I stepped out of the plane, I decided to walk around for a while – I always do that – and have found a small restaurant with few sorts of German beer. Of course, I was in Bavaria :doh: having a glass of Paulaner was a must. Cute waitress suggested me to eat something before drinking beer but I explained her I don`t have enough time for that. Beer would be enough. After all, it is a liquid bread, right? :whistle:

Vienna International Airport
I was there 4 times and it felt OK to be there. Only thing, if you have to wait for a flight somewhere on a gates B and it is a rainy day, you might consider avoiding waiting rooms, it is too cold for sitting there. But I may suggest you to go and have a beer or lunch (or both) in Johann Strauss restaurant near gate A – prices are ok and food is good. Do I have to say that beer is excellent? πŸ˜€ Also, in Arrivals, it could be confusing to find a conveyor belt to collect luggage, but only if you arrived with a small plane like I did πŸ˜€

Oh, I didn`t think this post will be so long, now when I read it again it looks like tourist guide πŸ˜† But I like to travel and I like to fly. Therefore, spending time at the airports is as exciting for me as the journey itself. I like to feel like a part of all the people walking around; all the nations and races, faces, clothes, baggage, kids running around, pilots and stewardesses, handy men in ther working suits – they all give that unique feeling of life at the airport πŸ™‚
In Frankfurt airport I met a man from Ecuador, he was travelling to Japan too, he is a captain of a cargo ship and his boat was waiting for him in Chiba port. He was tired from a jet lag but willing to talk to someone while waiting for a flight. He said, `Who knows, we met now and we will probably never meet again. This is the same thing with ship ports and airports. And, one day, you may be in a plane that I will look from a deck of a ship. This is the life of travellers…` :happy:


Narita airport, Lufthansa`s B 747-300 take off

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148 Responses to Airports

  1. Furie says:

    Man, you've travelled a bit. :eyes: I can see police being wary of terrorist activity at an airpost named after Tesla. One terrorist with a sense for the ironic… :insane:

  2. gdare says:

    Now that you`ve mentioned…. :insane:

  3. gdare says:

    There was one in Frankfurt but went away when I came in :PStupid thing to use international airport for military use too, but I know it is not unusual in some countries. Pula airport in Croatia has military part, I was there during my service in air force πŸ™‚

  4. ricewood says:

    How different we are! I simply hate airports. Moving around in one, I feel like a cow among a hundred other. Mooooh!

  5. Dacotah says:

    :eyes:

  6. L2D2 says:

    I love airports and bus stations. They are great places for people watching. My first flight ever was from Dallas (Love Field. DFW wasn't built then)to New York Idylwild (now JFK Airport)to Brussels, Belgium to Luxembourg. I was scared to death, had a tension migraine and sick as a dog. Enjoyed flying nevertheless. Coming home from France was different. Friends carried me to Frankfort, Germany train station where a shuttle bus picked up G. I. dependents and took us to Rhine-Maine Air Base where we had a chartered Lufthansa Airways jet that flew us to Idylwild, and American Airlines from N.Y. to Dallas, where family met me and brought me home. I was pregnant and first thing I had them do was stop at a Dairy Queen and get me a good old U.S., Texas-sized hamburger. I hadn't had one in a year. Lufthansa was a nice flight. Flew from N.Y.to Brussels, though, on Sabena Belgian World Airlines, which I have been told is no more.You've traveled a lot more than I have Dare.

  7. L2D2 says:

    McLeod, you ain't right. I think I have told you that before! πŸ˜€

  8. thetomster says:

    I like airports, and like linda I like bus stations but the most I like train stations … there''s so much to see … not vΒ΄necessarily to do but to see … and what I see is not related to shopping and shops … it's to see on people's faces … coming from a different place … the joy of arriving where someone wanted to go to … the joy of heading somewhere eagerly saved the money for this moment … the melancholy and sadness of goodbyes … the irritation and loneliness of people on they're way from nowhere to nowhere … that has always fascinated me, caught my eyes and thoughts since I was a child and saw Hamburg central station for the first time …the strangest but at the same time the most interesting airport I've ever seen is Juanda Surabaya … there was a young woman I'd never seen before and I just knew she's the love of my life …

  9. sanshan says:

    I love airports, I feel so comfortable in them. Some are pretty boring though. One of the best airports I've been in is in Singapore. There is so much to do there: a gym, movie theatres, great shopping, and a place to shower and nap. I really like our Vancouver airport as well. The native artwork, sculptures are incredible. And as you come into customs down the escalator there is a sculpture like a waterfall. It might not have as many services as bigger airports but it certainly is pretty.

  10. Stardancer says:

    I really like O'Hare International in Chicago. A city all of itself.Fascinating place.:smile:

  11. L2D2 says:

    I know exactly what you mean Dirk. I love to see the people from all over the world in the airports. All the different clothing, the looks on their faces. And I like to make up stories about what this one is doing and where that family is going. One can see anything, everything, and anybody in any public transport system, whether it be trains, planes or buses.

  12. thetomster says:

    yes, the stories that are made up in my mind while looking at all the different people … I guess they're more thrilling than real life … but I just could spend days and nights sitting there wandering around … that's life …

  13. KYren says:

    πŸ™‚ Have you been to India? How many countries have you traveled till now?

  14. risis1977 says:

    Wow :eyes: you've been travelling almost around the world :yes:My airports not to interrested place to wait flight…….in my city I mean…But in Jakarta, the airport looks comfortable place.. The most is every public places must be CLEAN..:D

  15. ellinidata says:

    As an avid traveller myself I find airports fascinating. Some can be memorable and others a bad memory… I find the Athens Airport to be now days one of the most amazing places to be! Jost the endless marble and the mix of the modern world and ancient Greece makes it definitely memorable in an amazing way!The people hired speak at least 2-3 languages, and the convenience for checking in, pick up suitcases is amazing! I give it 10 out of 10. I hope one day you will be able to see it πŸ™‚

  16. gdare says:

    Carol, what? :lol:Allan – πŸ˜† a lot of people don`t like them, some of my friends come to gate minutes before closing time, they just hate being there *shrugs*Linda, I didn`t know you`ve been in Europe. Were you married to someone who served military service in Germany? Yes, as far as I know Sabena Airways bancrupted few years ago. This is not unusual, a lot of European companies are (or were) having problems with being profitable – on the other hand, there is Lufthansa who has bought some of the important companies, like Swissair for instance. I have heard that Alitalia and Austrian airways are having hard times, too :left:Graham, what kind of plane was that? :lol:San, photographs of Changi International Airport I`ve seen in some magazine during one of my flights were amazing. I liked the swimming pool and butterfly garden, being in airport like this makes jet lag suffering easier. One of my friends spent a day there last year when he travelled to Australia; unfortuately, he and his family were so tired of jetlag, they spent almost entire day in hotel :zzz:Dirk, when I was younger, the most interesting way for me was to travel by trains – in 1990. I travelled through Hungary, Chechoslovakia (they were one country back then) and Austria by train and it was amazing. I met a lot of interesting people there and some of them gave me advices on how to find a nice but cheap hotel, where to go and what to avoid :DStar, I think that most of the USA airports need to service a lot of aircrafts and passengers, knowing the distances between major cities. Europe is smaller and trains are fast and accurate enough to connect even the distances between capital cities – especially because procedures to get into the train are not that complicated as ones at the airports. This goes for west European countries, though; railways are not THAT developed in eastern Europe :awww:KYren, I have never been in India, but to tell the truth I don`t think I will ever go there by myself – if I will ever have enough to pay for a tourist trip I will go, though :up: Most of the countries I have visited so far are European + Japan :)Risis, our airport is small and borring, mostly because we don`t have major intercontinental flights; our serves for European tours, Mediterranian and few toward north Africa, most of them charter flifghts during summer :)Angeliki, my coleague told me about Athens` airport when he travelled few years ago to summer holidays. So far I didn`t have reasons to go there, but I hope we will be in white Schengen list from January 1st, 2010. then it will be easier for us to travel :happy: All I need then are money :whistle:

  17. Dacotah says:

    I :eyes: that's a long list of airports. I :eyes: you been to a lot of airports. :eyes: now what I meant? πŸ˜€

  18. Dacotah says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜€

  19. gdare says:

    :lol:Well, if everything goes well, I plan to visit few more in a next year πŸ˜€

  20. BabyJay99 says:

    :hi: Sir Darko, check out Singapore Airport πŸ˜‰

  21. rose-marie says:

    I like flying. I don't like airports that much anymore though. Probably because there are so many new, small airports outside the big cities, mostly used by the cheaper airlines. Those airports are so booooring.The bigger ones are ok, though :D.

  22. gdare says:

    Graham, and you were the only passenger? :lol:Rose, then you should use only the big ones :DI was checking today, for fun, what would cost an airplane ticket from Belgrade to Singapore. I went to an famous airways web site and searched for available flights in nearby future. I got an offer that would cost about 1700 eur for round trip. Then I changed criteria because I wanted to see how much it would cost for a next summer. And I got an offer worth almost 6000 eur!!! For economic class!!! :eyes: It is a way too much. So I wanted to see how much it would cost if I fly in first class and the cheapest ticked they offered was more than 12000 eur :faint: I mean, all of the airways companies are ranting about decrease in number of transported passengers and goods, because of world economic crises, but on the other hand their prices are still too high. I mean, the cheapest ticket to Singapore costed 600 eur more than a ticket I payed last year to Japan. Also, what is the difference worth 12000 eur that people pay for first class? It is true they have better food and drink on their menu, also they have beds to sleep and more movies to watch, and they are first to board and first to leave a plane, but is it that worth? In Serbia you can buy yourself a car for that amount, a good car. This is more than my year`s salary and my salary is good comparing to rest of the country. I guess those people live in some other world, different than mine :left:

  23. gdare says:

    Then I think I was lucky in Barcelona, back then. But I know someone who wasn`t. Rose? :DDo you have some of the napkins saved? It would be nice to read that post :up:

  24. PainterWoman says:

    I've been in a few airports and didn't mind any of them at all. If I have a couple of hours to wait, I go have a glass of wine….or two….watch people and sometimes write my thoughts down on napkins. I should do a post of my observations on napkins. The train station in Barcelona is what stands out for me as being unpleasant. There were many gendarmes (?) standing around and some milling through the crowd. Besides small guns, they also had rifles. Kind of scary. Plus, the gypsies were very in your face with their hand out. You have to say 'no' several times before they would leave you alone. Even with all the officers around, it didn't stop bandits from getting on the train. The bandits would pretend to be sleeping on the floor by your feet but would actually be rifling through the luggage of the person in front of you.

  25. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Do you have some of the napkins saved?

    I'm sure they are somewhere. I usually keep them for later reference for a poem or something. Once I did a sketch of a guitarist playing. He saw me doing it and I sold it to him. I was going to give it to him free but he insisted on paying me something because he'd never had anyone ever draw him. I thought it was cool.

  26. gdare says:

    It was, indeed. Did he liked it?

  27. PainterWoman says:

    Yes, he liked it very much. In fact, he loved it. Wish I had the nerve to go sit in bars more often. The ones that have musicians that is. I'd bring paper and an ink pen and sketch away. I'd at least order one drink too.

  28. L2D2 says:

    Might be a good source of income, Pam. Paint patrons for a fee, and give barkeep a small sum.

  29. PainterWoman says:

    I've thought about that but I think I'd rather do the musicians…..that didn't come out right. I'd rather DRAW the musicians. The patrons would be getting drunk and start getting too close and hanging over me. Seriously. If a woman is there alone, they think she is there to get picked up.

  30. Suntana says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    I've thought about that but I think I'd rather do the musicians…..that didn't come out right. I'd rather DRAW the musicians.

    :eyes: :yikes: Pam!!!!! Why you 60s Free Spirit you! πŸ˜†

  31. L2D2 says:

    You are right about that Pam. Maybe a friend to go with you.

  32. gdare says:

    Ok, find these napkins and make a post. I would like to know more about it :up:

  33. Suntana says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Oh, I didn't think this post will be so long, now when I read it again it looks like tourist guide. πŸ˜†

    Ehhh, it's a little bit shorter than one of my typical Comments. :jester:So, the Belgrade Airport has 1 corner? :insane: And perhaps 1 airplane? πŸ˜‰ My Dad likes to joke that the AeroMexico airline only has 1 airplane. So the Arrivals Taxis will rob you blind and leave you nekkid if you let them, Eh? :insane:Darko, is that Narita International Airport the one that is built on a man-made island? The one that is sinking?When that Supervisor at the Milan Airport told the clerk to just give you a food voucher and get rid of you :yikes: … did he do it in English and right there in front of you to where you could hear it? He didn't discretely and off to the side whisper it to the clerk?

  34. gdare says:

    Carlos, our national air carrier has 16 planes and is having a big problems to survive the crisis. It could be that they end up with one plane, but for the sake of people who work there I hope it will not :left:As for taxi drivers on Arrivals, they are rude and determined to take as much money as they can. Last year, when I returned from Vienna, the moment I left the building one of them came and asked me, in English, do I need a cab. Just for fun I asked him (in English too) that I do, and how much it would cost me. He said 50 eur and then I told him to f*** off. In Serbian :PNo, Narita airport is located on the main island (Honshu), near the town Chiba. But two others that I know are made on artificial islands: Kansai (near Osaka) and Kobe Airport.That supervisor talked only in Italian but he could speak swahili as well, I saw everything in his eyes 😑 And when she came back to me, she couldn`t look me in the eyes how embarrassing situation was.

  35. Suntana says:

    Okay, Darko, I'm unclear regarding your sword situation. You're not nonchalantly carrying along a sword in the secure area and onto the plane, are you? Is this the wooden sword?

  36. gdare says:

    Carlos, it is aluminium alloy sword and serves for kata practice. And no, I was not allowed to have it in cabin; I gave it with my baggage but asked to be marked as fragile. So they took a special care for it… I hope πŸ˜€

  37. SittingFox says:

    Favourite airport – Calgary, Alberta πŸ˜€ It's got lots of character and information / statues connected with the local area.Second favourite – Bozeman, Montana (very, very tiny, and has a huge bronze grizzly)Least favourite – Probably Stanstead :yuck:

  38. rose-marie says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Rose, then you should use only the big ones πŸ˜€

    I would, but it does cost a bit if you're going to fly with them everytime… :p*ignores the Barcelona thing*

  39. gdare says:

    :awww: It would be more but I need visa for most of the world`s countries, including almost all European :irked:

  40. MizzMartinez says:

    Only NINE airports? :eyes: You disappoint me.

  41. gdare says:

    Adele, why would they put a statue of grizzly there? :left: :insane:Rose, well, I guess you are using low cost flights :up:Originally posted by rose-marie:

    *ignores the Barcelona thing*

    πŸ˜†

  42. gdare says:

    At least something :up:

  43. SittingFox says:

    Because it's close to Yellowstone :p

  44. gdare says:

    Yes, I know, one of Opera members came to Belgrade by Norwegian this summer. They have a direct flight and are not expensive :up:

  45. SittingFox says:

    There's a relatively reasonable number in Yellowstone. They're gone from the vast majority of their historical US range.

  46. gdare says:

    I thought it is because they have a lot of them around… Do they? :left:

  47. rose-marie says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Rose, well, I guess you are using low cost flights :up:

    I do fly quite a bit with Norwegian for my shorter trips, yes. That's mostly because they have a decent direct route program so I don't have to stopover :).

  48. MizzMartinez says:

    πŸ˜† :devil: Poor you!

  49. gdare says:

    :irked:

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