A note on airports

I used to think that all airports are equivalent: just very large boring buildings that "warp" you from one city to another. However, I am starting to have my favorites and, above all, my hated ones.

If you are flying to or from Europe, you should avoid Frankfurt airport (a.k.a. Fraport). Apparently is one of busiest of the world, and that should have made them streamline the flow of passengers… well, not exactly. Waiting times for security are awful, (and I´ve been more than a handful times through this), eternal connections between terminals, bad signage and, as a consequence of all this, angry and annoying passengers.

One of the things I dislike most of an airport is when they make you go through the middle of the duty-free shops to get to the gates and/or security. Kind of funny that, in this age, the commercial benefit seems to be way more important than the comfort and safety of passengers. Plenty of this in Frankfurt.

Another instance of the disdain for the passenger is present in most airports but most obviously in Heathrow: dynamic monitor graphs everywhere that almost make the departure monitors invisible.

I´m writing from Dublin airport, and so far this is the second worse (narrow corridors, long lines, unfriendly staff). I´m still to go through Atlanta (never been there, but I´m not expecting anything good).

It is often by seeing the really bad that you realize about how good it is what we are used to. Models of my favorite airports: Schiphol (Amsterdam) and Pearson (Toronto). Also, smaller airports such as Saskatoon and Christchurch are much more pleasant than the larger ones, although I have to admit that the architecture of some of the bigger ones could be worth admiring (e.g. Charles de Gaulle – Paris, and Singapore).

A model of efficiency is Berlin TXL airport. Here the check in and the Gate are in the same place, so you don´t waste your time having to navigate the whole building.

Behavior at airports never ceases to amaze me. Why do people insist in waiting in line the very second that the boarding is announced (usually for premium flyers and families)? Do they really enjoy being in the crammed space of the plane so much? A similar effect happens the moment that the plane lands…

My final word of gratitude is for the obnoxious woman that keeps trying to get in front of you in the line, as if she were more important than anyone else and we were all idiots. Good thing that she will not really arrive earlier than anyone else…

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