UKH

/ Airports

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girlymonkey - on 30 Nov 2018

I hate airports! I'm currently hanging around Edinburgh airport waiting for a flight and thinking of ways of improving it.

I think rather than the shops selling stuff we don't need and overpriced food outlets, there should be active spaces instead. Ratho could open a clip and climb, there could be monkey bars down the length of the corridors, exercise bikes with various challenges etc.

Other fun things that could keep people active while waiting for flights? (A full on gym would mean lots of stinky people getting on flights, needs to be less serious activities!)

1
gribble - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Paintball.  Have racks of preloaded paintball guns and never be bored again.

1
dsiska on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Very good sentiment. I agree 100%. But I am afraid that what goes into airports has nothing to do with making our travel more comfortable / healthier and everything to do with how much money they can make us spend while there. So the problem isn't lack of ideas, the problem is the awful financial incentives. 

Oh and regarding sweaty, smelly people getting on flights after a bit of bouldering: I'd take that over drunk (sweaty, smelly) people getting on flights after a session in the airport Weatherspoons at any time!

PS And Edinburgh airport isn't even that bad as far as airports go... 

girlymonkey - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to dsiska:

But they could charge for all of these things. 

There must be so much tat ends in landfill from airport shops too!

girlymonkey - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to gribble:

I like it! Airport chaos!

doz on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Try singing real loud...

Post edited at 10:23
Babika - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

I don't know Edinburgh but there must be strong competition for worst airport in UK and worst in Europe. 

I'd probably say Luton and Grenoble

doz on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to gribble:

This is a great idea

Would confuse all the hundreds of terrorists hiding in the perfume aisles and they could get rid of airport security

LastBoyScout on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Babika:

> I don't know Edinburgh but there must be strong competition for worst airport in UK and worst in Europe. 

> I'd probably say Luton and Grenoble

I've hated Heathrow T5 ever since the first time I used it, as none of the lift doors are wide enough to get a trolley with a bike bag through!

Turin airport on changover day in the ski season is horrific - the queues just to check in took up all available space in the airport and carried on down the road, compounded by the lazy attitude of the staff.

2
Greenbanks - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

First World problem???

12
girlymonkey - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Greenbanks:

Yes, definitely is. But doesn't mean it wouldn't be worth changing. The amount of waste being generated and excess food and drink being consumed is totally unnecessary.

Northern Star on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Babika:

Rant time - sorry!

Up there is Manchester Airport for worst airport.  You pay your airport tax when you book your flight yet they still want to rip-off their customers further by charging you extra for luggage trolleys, or the cheek of dropping off someone at the terminal in a car or taxi.  None of the worlds best airports do this.

Due to not enough staff or lanes open there are frequent queues in security upwards of 45mins despite knowing ages in advance how many passengers/flights are leaving in a given day/time.  Luggage retrieval is a complete lottery, sometimes quick, sometimes waiting over an hour!

On top of that the place is dirty, scruffy and poorly laid out with poor food retail options in T2 and T3.  T1 is better - that's if you can make it through security with enough time to eat anything.

I complained once to the airport management and the response was as follows:

It blamed security queues on the unreliable nature of predicting when its passengers turn up for flights.  It blamed queues in passport control on the unreliable nature of aircraft arrival times.  It blamed baggage delays on the airline handling agents (airlines responsibility).

It blamed passenger drop off charges on too many passengers/too much congestion.  This is despite the airport some years ago halving the size of it's drop off areas and increasing massively the costs of it's short stay car parking.  In short a problem of the airports own making, but now customers must pay (or get on a free bus which adds 30mins to your journey).

In short nothing was their fault/responsibility, and many of the problems were their customers fault!  The airport is no more about good levels of customer service, ease of passengers getting on and off flights and seems all about trying to screw as much money out of it's passengers as possible.  Management are not fit for purpose in my opinion. 

Heaven help what foreign passengers arriving in the UK must think - first impressions, friendly welcome and all that!

Perhaps the airport management should pay a visit to Hong Kong, Copenhagen or similar to see how to actually run an airport.

 

 

summo on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Edinburgh is airport heaven compared to Manchester. 

I do agree though. A big gym. You could easily get an hours training in, shower, buy a snack and make your flight. 

summo on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

Not sure if it still is, but prestwick was previously pure dead brilliant. What ever that is. I thought it was shite and vowed never to go there again. 

1
Andy Hardy on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

I'm glad you typed all that out, it saved me the trouble!

Charging for drop off is the absolute pits. It's as if they don't want you to use their poxy airport.

Jim Lancs on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

I'm afraid we, the flying public, have to take some blame for the nature of UK airports. We have been so enthralled by cheap 'headline' ticket prices for short haul flights in particular, that the 'no thrills' airlines have ruthlessly played off one airport's landing charges against another: "If  you charge us too much to land at Manchester we'll go to Liverpool, or Blackpool, or Leeds Bradford, or . . .

So airports needs flights to exist, but make no money from them unless they can cover their costs from parking charges and shopping / bars, etc.  The passengers pay one way or the other. But if you're a main airport in a capital city, you hold more of the whip hand and can offer 'free' stuff because a greater percentage of the airport's cost can be hidden in the larger ticket prices for long haul. 

Ryanair said at one point that its ambition was to offer free travel with everyone's costs being met from airport charges and outlet profits. Apparently the new terminal layout at Stanstead (?) was designed with this aim in mind.

Post edited at 11:22
Northern Star on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Jim Lancs:

Good points Jim, however if I was a restaurant or shop owner at Manchester Airport then I'd be up in arms at the security queues in particular.  I frequently arrive at the airport 2hrs ahead of my flight yet security delays mean that I'm often not left with very much time at all air-side to eat or drink (or shop if that were my thing) before walking to the gate.  As a result I sometimes bring my own food even if I'm on company expenses.

Yes I could arrive much earlier but who wants to do that if they don't have to?  Airports restaurants are probably charged a fortune by the airport for their lease, yet their customers are frequently having 45mins scrubbed from their eating/shopping time by being held in a security queue where they are not spending any money.

Stoney Boy on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

Have to concur with this. Probably up there with some of the worst in the world and I have been through a few.

Interesting when you know who the owners are.......

jimtitt - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Trolleys, shops, food outlets, bars? Clearly there are European "international" airports you haven´t visited yet Queues aren´t generally a feature though.

deacondeacon - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Singapore Airport is great!

Outdoor gardens, butterfly garden, koi carp garden, free computer games, gym, bus tours of the city. Even Duty free prices that were good! Probably loads more stuff but wasn't there long. 

Wiley Coyote2 on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Agree Mcr is rubbish. I once even scrubbed an entire trip because the only flights were from Mcr. There is just no excuse for such lousy service.

However, when considering airports you do have to accept that they are now essentially shopping malls with landing strips

Northern Star on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to deacondeacon:

London City Airport also used to be great - with hand luggage only you could turn up 15 mins before your flight and still make it to the plane no problem.  Simple, straightforward and convenient.  No idea what it's like now however as years since I lived down that way.  Reykjavik airport is also nice, expensive but an okay place to spend a bit of time.

TMM on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to deacondeacon:

Singapore and Hong Kong make for very slick and easy experiences. I visit Japan and SE Asia quite a lot for work and my transit through either of these airports is a breeze. Manila, Caracas, Manchester and CDG are probably my least favourite although Addis Ababa was alos pretty miserable. 

jkarran - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Charging for drop off is the absolute pits. It's as if they don't want you to use their poxy airport.

It does have a good train service.

Still, I feel dirty defending Manchester, it's gone from one of the best 20 odd years ago to one of the worst in a tough competition to be Britain's shittest. It's not all the airports' fault, security has become part paranoid pantomime, part money-milking opportunity and the airlines are all tightening their belts squeezing prices down with costs and associated service cuts.

Still, nothing quite beats converting all your taps to hot soapy water dispensers then selling water at 6E a bottle (Helsinki IIRC) when it comes to gouging your captive customers.

jk

jkarran - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to TMM:

Oh but the spectacular approach to Addis Ababa makes up for the derelict factory squat aesthetic the airport has going on.

jk

jonfun21 on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

As someone who worked for Heathrow airport once said to me “Heathrow is a retail and car parking business which happens to have two bits of tarmac connected to it which allow some planes to come and go”

 

TMM on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> Oh but the spectacular approach to Addis Ababa makes up for the derelict factory squat aesthetic the airport has going on.

> jk

Sadly never got to experience that compensating factor due to night time arrival and very early departures. Did get some great views of Kilimanjaro as flew South though.

Wiley Coyote2 on 30 Nov 2018

 

> It does have a good train service.

What? In common with the rest of the North West it has a hopeless service. With their record of delays, cancellations and breakdowns there is no way I'd trust Northern to get me to an airport on time to catch a plane

 

jkarran - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

> What? In common with the rest of the North West it has a hopeless service. With their record of delays, cancellations and breakdowns there is no way I'd trust Northern to get me to an airport on time to catch a plane

I have countless times, never once have I come close to missing a flight because of the trains. I can't count on two hands the number of squeaky bum drives (crawls in gridlock) I've had to the air and ferry ports of the Northwest.

jk

Wiley Coyote2 on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to jkarran:

Obviously luck of the draw. I have had an airport train terminate in Manchester for lack of a driver and on another occasion was left wondering whether to get on the plane as my climbing partner frantically tried to get to the airport by taxi after suffering exactly the same hiccup. I agree re squeaky bum drives. I wonder what the heart attack rate is for that semi-permanently jammed section round Stockport?

Wiley Coyote2 on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to jkarran:

And this from the Northern Editor of the Guardian on twitter only yesterday

Helen Pidd?Verified account @helenpidd Nov 29

Argggggghhhhhhhhh @northernassist - after being abandoned at the wrong station & told to wait 45 mins for the next train to Accrington, the next train has just been cancelled. The one after that is late too, OF COURSE. It will have taken me 3hrs 15 mins to travel 23 miles. HOWL.

Northern Star on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> It does have a good train service.

Depends where you are coming from, for a few possibly.  I live 10 mins drive from the airport but have no train station close by.  I can get the tram but even being within 2 mins walk of a tram stop it's still a around an hours tram journey involving a change, and for early commuter type flights the tram just does not start early enough in the morning.  Heavy luggage - forget it!  As others have also said Northern Rail is an unreliable shambles.  So to drive or taxi for me is the only realistic option.

The New NickB - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

> But they could charge for all of these things. 

Probably a lot more than you would be prepared to pay. Airport rents are eyewatering.

Dave Garnett - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> It does have a good train service.

> Still, I feel dirty defending Manchester, it's gone from one of the best 20 odd years ago to one of the worst in a tough competition to be Britain's shittest. 

I totally agree.  I used be a big supporter but it’s now positively embarrassing.

> Still, nothing quite beats converting all your taps to hot soapy water dispensers then selling water at 6E a bottle (Helsinki IIRC) when it comes to gouging your captive customers.

I quite liked Helsinki Vantaa until I found the bear pate in duty free.

1
Blue Straggler - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

> Ratho could open a clip and climb

 

Have you really thought through the logistics of that?

At best, people get to the airport just over two hours before their flight.

They then need to find their check-in desk 

They may have to check in a big bag. There might be a queue for this. Ok if they are hand baggage only, they can do online check in and skip this step.

Then through security with their hand baggage. This can take 15 mins if lucky, 1 hour if unlucky.

Then the force wander through Duty Free, a bit bewildered, then see what gate they need to get to and figure out that it could take 15 mins to walk to it and they are expected to be at gate 30 mins before take off

If lucky there might be a 40 minute window during which to either get something to eat, or do something fun.

 

They spot a clip and climb. Maybe they’ve heard of such a thing and fancy having a go. So they check it out and find that they have to fill in a membership form and pay £4 membership and £15 to have a play for, oh, 20 minutes?

 

My guess is that such a venture would fold within a day.

 

 

11
wildebeeste - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to deacondeacon:

Yes! And free to use confortable armchairs scattered about the place.

Wiley Coyote2 on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to wildebeeste:

> Yes! And free to use confortable armchairs scattered about the place.

 

Philli used to have white rocking chairs

 

John W - on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

I have the misfortune to have to use Manchester shithole airport around seven or eight times per year, and despise it more with each visit. Every single aspect of it pisses me off, but unfortunately it’s the only practical flight. 

Rob Parsons on 30 Nov 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I hate airports! I'm currently hanging around Edinburgh airport waiting for a flight and thinking of ways of improving it.

> I think rather than the shops selling stuff we don't need and overpriced food outlets, there should be active spaces instead.

As others have pointed out: all this stuff has nothing to do with travel or anybody's personal preference; it's just an obvious money-making opportunity - with a captive, bovine audience. In other words: that's capitalism, baby - suck it up.

By way of slight contrast: I once flew international from Sheffield airport, while that facility still existed. Quite a pleasant experience: the 'departure lounge' was just a small shed; the entire process didn't take very long; and I distinctly remember various passengers' nanas waving goodbye to the plane from just outside the chain-link fence which formed the airport perimeter.

 

 

Blue Straggler - on 01 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

 

brilliant ! Four dislikes on a sensible post and no actual replies 

 

oh right it’s Friday night 

 

3
steve taylor - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Jeddah is a complete sh!thole of an airport. Manchester is an oasis of calm and example of enlightened airport design when compared.

Andy Gamisou - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Greenbanks:

> First World problem???

Umm - didn't you start a not entirely dissimilar thread on trains recently?  

TobyA on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> Still, nothing quite beats converting all your taps to hot soapy water dispensers then selling water at 6E a bottle (Helsinki IIRC) when it comes to gouging your captive customers.

When Helsinki was my home airport I learnt the various places I could fill my water bottle after going through security. Some of the disabled toilets had separate taps. After flying quite a lot for a number of years, I fly rather rarely now it seems, but it does seem that airports are putting water dispensers back in so people can fill their own bottles. Probably enough people moaned (very fairly) that price gouging on water (or forcing people to get dehydrated!) is pretty despicable behaviour.

 

TobyA on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I quite liked Helsinki Vantaa until I found the bear pate in duty free.

You can buy that in any big department store or supermarket though.

A certain number of permits are given out to shoot bears each year, plus the police often end up shooting one or two a year when they won't leave a town. That's when you get the bear warning scroll come up on all the national TV channels (it's very exciting until you read it's in some village on the eastern border that no one has ever heard of and is about a 10 hour drive away).

Lots of other dead animal products available in Helsinki duty free as well - reindeer skins and the like. It's a huntin' and fishin' (and fur-farmin') sort of place when you get away from the Guardian and BBC reporters in central Helsinki reporting on the stylish social democratic nirvana.

 

Duncan Bourne - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Of airports i have been in Innsbruck was by far the worse while my all time favourite is Zadar.

Innsbruck was so monumentally tedious I nearly ate my own arm out of boredom while Zadar was so relaxed I felt I could spend the whole day there. Not a huge amount of services but such a chilled out atmosphere.

Rob Parsons on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to steve taylor:

> Jeddah is a complete sh!thole of an airport.

I got stuck there for a day once, when Alitalia screwed up. You're right: it's a shithole.

artif on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

I'd like to put up Shanghai Pudong for inclusion.

Biggest airport I've been to with the least going on, 6 hour stop-over felt like a lifetime,  not helped by the BA flight to get there

Seoul Incheon gets my vote for the best 

 

Neil Williams - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

> Good points Jim, however if I was a restaurant or shop owner at Manchester Airport then I'd be up in arms at the security queues in particular.  I frequently arrive at the airport 2hrs ahead of my flight yet security delays mean that I'm often not left with very much time at all air-side to eat or drink (or shop if that were my thing) before walking to the gate.  As a result I sometimes bring my own food even if I'm on company expenses.

Is Manchester that bad?  Really needs to sort its act out, I haven't had queues like that at any other airport in years - about 20 minutes is the most I've seen, and it's usually much less.

nniff - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Brunei is one of the most wretched airports to try and waste five hours.  Zurich is one of the best at turning you upside down and shaking you until no more money falls out.  I have the M25 and Heathrow T3 to look forward to tomorrow, followed by 9+ hours in a seat next to someone whom I hope will be smaller than their seat.

pec on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

> Up there is Manchester Airport for worst airport. . . . . .

You forgot to mention that to get to the departure gate you HAVE to walk through the duty free shop, there are no signs to the gates in there and the exit is not visible from the entrance so you end up wandering around lost for a while trying to escape and not miss your flight when you haven't got time for this sh*t because of the delays getting through security.

 

 

 

 

 

jkarran - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to steve taylor:

> Jeddah is a complete sh!thole of an airport. Manchester is an oasis of calm and example of enlightened airport design when compared.

I remember being dragged from the lounge, robbed at gate security and run/driven to a full and idling 747 (+400 hot and angry folk, doors open mid summer) on the apron. Not a single clock in the place agreed, lounge clock was 90 odd min slow, no announcements. It does beat Manchester for shitness but not by as much as it should!

Jk

Post edited at 19:02
Blue Straggler - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I'm currently hanging around Edinburgh airport waiting for a flight and thinking of ways of improving it... Ratho could open a clip and climb,

 Does anyone want to debunk/deconstruct my list of things I think would go against this idea? Maybe one of the many people who disliked my comment about it.

 

Babika - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

>I haven't had queues like that at any other airport in years - about 20 minutes is the most I've seen, and it's usually much less.

Then you've been extremely lucky. 

At Lisbon last week nobody could get on flights on time as there were only 2 security staff working and massive queues, about 1 hour. 

At Grenoble last year 6 flights sat empty on the tarmac while no one could get through security as the scanners were broken. About 2 hour delay. 

Lots of European airports seem quite grim and inefficient to me. 

 

The New NickB - on 02 Dec 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

Manchester is my local airport. It’s shabby and the drop off parking thing is rediculous, but i’ve only experienced security queues of more than 20 minutes once in the last 10 or so visits. I’m not going to say it’s a good airport, they could do much better, but I’ve experienced much worse.

Sao Paulo Guarulhos is probably the worst I have experienced.

Dave Garnett - on 03 Dec 2018
In reply to The New NickB:

> Manchester is my local airport. It’s shabby and the drop off parking thing is rediculous, but i’ve only experienced security queues of more than 20 minutes once in the last 10 or so visits.

I agree.  There's the occasional problem (especially very early in the morning when the holiday charters go out) but security is usually OK, and often friendly (which is more than you can say for many places).

The queues at passport control when you get back though...  Again, they seem to be unaware of when planes full of people are due to arrive, and half the bloody machines are usually switched off or out of order.

Plus the general air of scruffiness, transport posters that appear to have been drawn by 5 year-olds with no particular aptitude for art, the random wandering about up and down sets of stairs and the gauntlet of perfume-spraying muggers in the maze of mirrors (where I wouldn't buy anything even if I actively needed it).  

Dave Garnett - on 03 Dec 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Lots of other dead animal products available in Helsinki duty free as well - reindeer skins and the like. It's a huntin' and fishin' (and fur-farmin') sort of place when you get away from the Guardian and BBC reporters in central Helsinki reporting on the stylish social democratic nirvana.

Yes, I get that and I have no problem with the reindeer skins and the tinned moose.  But bears are endangered through much of their range in Europe and it just seems wrong to actively encourage a market for the meat.

1
krikoman - on 03 Dec 2018
In reply to Babika:

> I don't know Edinburgh but there must be strong competition for worst airport in UK and worst in Europe. 

> I'd probably say Luton and Grenoble

Stansted, beats Luton by a country mile, in the shithole stakes.

On the other hand East Midlands is very nice.

Post edited at 16:36
pasbury on 03 Dec 2018
In reply to Babika:

I like Hamburg airport

I hate CdG unless I've a connection and need a massive cardio workout.

Post edited at 16:40
captain paranoia - on 03 Dec 2018
In reply to Babika:

> I'd probably say Luton and Grenoble

I'd take Luton over Gatwick any day.

Grenoble is pretty grim, I'll grant you.

RomTheBear on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Well there is a new brewdog bar opening at Edinburgh airport so at least we'll be able to get intoxicated without commiting the crime of going to the awful whetherspoon.

Terminal 2 at Charle de Gaule airport has a large collection of free vintage arcade games (Pac-Man, space invaders etc etc). Kills the time.

 

 

Post edited at 06:58
RomTheBear on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

> London City Airport also used to be great - with hand luggage only you could turn up 15 mins before your flight and still make it to the plane no problem.  Simple, straightforward and convenient.  No idea what it's like now however as years since I lived down that way.  Reykjavik airport is also nice, expensive but an okay place to spend a bit of time.

Unfortunately London city is absolutely awful now. They are cramming so many flights and shops in such a small space, it is way too crowded. Also a burger will cost you £30.

 

Post edited at 06:55
Dave Kerr - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

On a brighter note Vancouver airport is lovely. Some proper art and an an amazing aquarium.

Alan Bates on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Because of my location I now average one flight per week and one of the first things I got into my head when making this move was to have a 'don't get flustered in the airport mind-set'. I get on with things I need to do, or read a book, usually eat away from the airport and if I do need food/drink, a meal deal from Boots or Superdrug will keep me going for less than a fiver.

Let's face it, for those using low-cast short-haul, we want to pay sod all for flights, so we cannot expect much.

Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Unfortunately London city is absolutely awful now. They are cramming so many flights and shops in such a small space, it is way too crowded. Also a burger will cost you £30.

LCY stopped being good when they added the extra gates about 10 years ago.  Heathrow is now vastly preferable (at least unless your flight is in one of the old terminals).

Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> On a brighter note Vancouver airport is lovely. Some proper art and an an amazing aquarium.

Vancouver generally is lovely.  Would love to live there.

Post edited at 08:25
Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I'd take Luton over Gatwick any day.

 

Same.  Neither is particularly *nice*, but Luton is much quicker to get through in both directions, in particular the baggage delivery, because it's really simple ("chuck it on a flatbed Transit and drive it over") it is really quick.  At Gatwick you walk miles over the "A380 bridge" and through tunnels and queue for passport control and you're *still* stood there for half an hour.

 

Post edited at 08:27
RomTheBear on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> LCY stopped being good when they added the extra gates about 10 years ago.  Heathrow is now vastly preferable (at least unless your flight is in one of the old terminals).

Well I have to say if you're going for a business meeting in the city for the day and want to be in at 10am, LCY is pretty much the only option if you don't want to go the day before and stay in a hotel. Would be nice if there were decent trains in this country, we wouldn't have to fly everywhere.

Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Well I have to say if you're going for a business meeting in the city for the day and want to be in at 10am

And therein lies the problem - why *do* people organise business meetings for people at 9/10am when they know full well they are coming from miles away?  It's just inconsiderate.  Why not a civilised meeting over a provided lunch from 11 to 2 instead, perhaps?

If you're needing a full day of workshops, better to stay over in any case, you'll be better rested and more effective for the price of a Premier Inn.  Nobody performs well after a 4am start, whether that be for a plane or a train, unless they are one of the very few people who is adjusted to do that daily.

Post edited at 09:02
Xharlie on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

Will never happen. The company doesn't want to pay the cost of the hotel to stay overnight (bearing in mind that any non-shite lodgings will cost WELL north of 100 currency units in any business area if you want a bog that flushes, a hot shower and actual, breathable air in your room) and, at the same time, they consider that starting the meeting at 11 is wasting most of the day.

The only way to change that culture would be for more employees to refuse to travel and, trust me, that's a career limiting manoeuvre.

Personally, I do the early flights for early meetings, returning on the same day. I then sleep in on the next day and just go to work late, daring anyone to challenge me on this. So far, nobody has -- probably because I do good work.

I have tried other strategies, in the past, but I have come to the conclusion that this is the least worst option. Nothing sucks more than being stuck in a cheap hotel in the dirty and boring part of a business-oriented city -- almost certainly without proper Internet. I've spent too many nights like that, listening to the growl of an over-priced mini-bar that I can't unplug and will never pay to use. (Why do mini-bars still exist?)

The real question is why we travel at all. Seriously, meetings CAN be held over the Internet. There is seldom a valid reason to fly somewhere just to sit and talk over crappy, monotonous Nespresso.

EDIT: Your mileage may vary. It is entirely possible that other people have good luck with cheap hotels. I, personally, do not. In Switzerland, I even have bad luck with really super-expensive hotels.

Post edited at 09:21
1
Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Xharlie:

Sounds rather like your company is a rather toxic environment...I do some business travel (though not much these days) and it doesn't breed that kind of resentment as the company is much more reasonable.

Post edited at 09:55
Rigid Raider - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Another vote for Manchester as Britain's worst shopping mall with runway attached. The people in T1 and T3 Security are a shower of bastards. The place is scruffy, gloomy and ill-maintained and queues infuriating. To witness the fat jobsworths at Immigration bullying arriving non-EU passport holders is an embarrassment.

The two nicest airports I use regularly are Durban and Cape Town. You can thank the footie world cup for them.

RomTheBear on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Xharlie:

Agree I'm the same - I'd rather wake up early rather than staying in a shitty hotel.

Sure meeting can be held remotely but I have not seen one company yet that had a decent video conference system that doesn't completely fail 50% of the time, ruining weeks of preparation and work - even those 500k high end Cisco telepresence system are completely unreliable - so I pretty much gave up on those.

Post edited at 10:58
Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

I mostly work remotely and have done a lot of such work, and have always found videoconferencing to be a solution looking for a problem.  We have the capability to do it but we never actually use it.

What's actually useful is screen-sharing, sharing PowerPoint slides, sharing documents etc for collaborative working.  There are a million and one tools that will do that, but I mostly use Skype for Business, you've also got things like Unify Circuit, Webex and goodness only knows what else.

Maybe not useful for a client sales meeting (those work best in person) but then nor is someone looking dishevelled having dragged themselves out of the wrong side of bed at 3am.

I suppose re hotels it depends on what you think of travel.  I enjoy a change of scenery once in a while, and it's nice e.g. to get a run in around an unfamiliar city and to reward yourself with a free hotel fry-up afterwards   Doesn't have to be an expensive hotel - I find Premier Inns and Motel Ones quite acceptable.  If your employer won't even stretch to a Travelodge and insists on e.g. the YHA or a cheapo B&B, find a new employer.  They really don't care enough for your welfare to bother with.

Post edited at 12:04
1
cb294 - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to pec:

The prototype shopping mall with gates is LAX. Worst airport on the planet, ever, tightly followed by Chicago O'Hell.

CB

 

cb294 - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to pasbury:

Try flying to a French overseas territory via Paris. Mad dash from CdG to Orly because internal means INTERNAL.

CB

yorkshireman - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I mostly work remotely and have done a lot of such work, and have always found videoconferencing to be a solution looking for a problem.  We have the capability to do it but we never actually use it.

Interesting to hear that experience. For me it's invaluable. I work in a western Europe business unit for a global company and work with colleagues spread across 14 countries. I spend the majority of my time working remotely and I video conference several times, every day and it's considered bad etiquette to not share your video.

Firstly seeing the people you're talking to helps you gauge their level of engagement in what you're presenting - non-verbal cues and being able to interrupt more easily. 

Secondly, with the majority of my colleagues being non-native English, but English being our business language, they all say how much easier it is to understand each other when you can see the person talking.

It's actually got to the point where I find it slightly off putting having an audio-only phone call.

> I suppose re hotels it depends on what you think of travel.  I enjoy a change of scenery once in a while, and it's nice e.g. to get a run in around an unfamiliar city and to reward yourself with a free hotel fry-up afterwards 

I'm lucky that we've got quite an enlightened view to travel in terms of having nice places to stay, and not being expected to put yourself out in getting ridiculously inconvenient flights just to save a few euros. Being part of a big company, we have a dedicated travel team whose job it is to go round the world checking the approved hotels and making sure the minibar is cool and the pillows are fluffy (I'm sure there's more to it) so we very rarely get a bad place. We generally have our off-site meetings in interesting locations, but the general office travel to the European capitals can get a bit monotonous, but living in the middle of nowhere I like the opportunity to get to civilisation on a frequent basis.

I can't complain really. But back to the original topic: Airports are what you make them and from experience a lot of people don't do themselves any favours (arguing with security, not having stuff ready etc) when it comes to making the experience less stressful.

My local airport is Lyon - not bad now that they've built the new Terminal 1A (so long as you avoid EasyJet which is basically still using the old gates). However T2 is pretty dire. However, it's big enough to run fairly well, but small enough that I can be off the plane and into my car in 15 minutes.

There was an interesting article in the Economist recently about how Uber and Lyft are (mostly in the US) causing airport revenues from parking and rental concessions to plummet and they're struggling to fight back. It just shows that the cost of our airfares are significantly subsidised by all the other commerce in the airport.

One tip: check the website 'sleeping in airports'. Not that you want to doss there necessarily, but it's good for tips on where the quiet spaces and comfy chairs are if you're in an airport you don't know very well.

 

pavelk - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Wish you to visit Douala airport (not to visit toilets..) You will love Edinburgh airport then

Lemony - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

I'd like to nominate Fort Lauderdale for "Worst Airport in the World". It seems to be managed with a malevolent genius which sees queues broken into chunks and spread randomly throughout departure halls so that no one can find the start, checkins with queues that force you outside, through the automatic doors and into the  taxi drop off area. Then the immigration stuff all takes place in a narrow corridor so noone can work out who's queuing and who has finished and is ready to move on so it takes twice as long as it needs to.

Dave Garnett - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to cb294:

> The prototype shopping mall with gates is LAX. Worst airport on the planet, ever, tightly followed by Chicago O'Hell.

Yes, LAX is pretty bad.  Only place where I've actually missed a flight because of huge, unmanaged check-in queues.  It's absolutely vast and it can be difficult to figure out which terminal you need to get to (and even which one you are in). 

Even when we touched down there on the way to New Zealand we had to disembark and go through immigration formalities.  I don't understand why there wasn't a sealed transit area.  The aggressive security and immigration announcements were stark after the super-friendly Air New Zealand crew and excellent Sauvignon Blanc that they tend to use for crowd control. 

 

Neil Williams - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Even when we touched down there on the way to New Zealand we had to disembark and go through immigration formalities.  I don't understand why there wasn't a sealed transit area. 

Because the US, being the US, doesn't allow that.

 

Clint86 - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

We need to stop flying............ 

RomTheBear on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to yorkshireman:

Lyon st Exupery not the worst but the easyJet terminal is essentially just a tent. Yes. A tent.

Also the staff there is racist. 

captain paranoia - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Yes, LAX is pretty bad.

I've only ever been through LAX twice, en route to San Diego. Both times, I found the immigration queues reasonable, and the security relatively friendly, even sharing a joke. The first time, the immigration guy seemed to take pity on me, when, arriving on Sunday evening, I told him I would be flying out on the Tuesday morning...

I even managed to drop my boarding pass in the loos, and go back and find it was still there...

Dave Garnett - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I've only ever been through LAX twice, en route to San Diego.

Thankfully, I now use the direct BA flight from LHR but I used to get to San Diego via LAX sometimes.  I agree, immigration on the way in was tolerable (compared to, say, JFK or Miami) but the check-in and security queues on the way out were a nightmare.

Blue Straggler - on 04 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

This Clip and Climb thing . Please do elaborate on the business model. I’ve brought it up at least twice and frankly it is quite discourteous of you not to engage with my comments given that you mention it in the OP.

I travelled through Luton airport yesterday.

I had 1h50m between arrival in airport and my scheduled departure. i didn’t rush through , I spent 25 minutes having a beer whilst doing some work, and bought a meal to take onto the flight. I had a long walk to a badly signposted toilet and then they were flashing up “final call” for my flight, 23 mins before departure. I dutifully headed toward the gate which was an 8 minute journey. Then I sat patiently 15 minutes watching the queue thin out before finally getting off my arse and getting onto the plane.

i spent a lot of my airport time wondering whether I could have realistically managed a climb in that time. Yes, if I had not had not sat with that beer and my laptop. But I was t that keen on a climb. And I am a keen climber, so....

8
Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Typo. It should say "I wasn't that keen on a climb"

Not that anyone gives two hoots about my posts on this thread, especially girlymonkey whose OP was full of ideas about how to replace the bars and restaurants with exercise bikes, monkey bars and Clip & Climb. 

6
Dave Garnett - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

If it's any comfort, I think it's a daft idea too, but I'm not sure it was entirely serious!

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> If it's any comfort, I think it's a daft idea too, but I'm not sure it was entirely serious!

Nor me; I rarely take girlymonkey’s posts seriously (anyone on a climbing site having “monkey” as a part of their username can’t be taken entirely seriously) but in this case I’m not sure. The dislikes I am earning are mysterious - they either mean the OP is serious or they are an indication that I am a fool for pushing my question when the OP was a “joke”

 

if only girlymonkey would reply....

4
Flinticus - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Better waiting in the airport than on the plane. Sitting on runway waiting for cloud to clear destination (London city) with head fugged from lack of sleep and purpose.

timjones - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to cb294:

To be fair to LAX I've always found that it operates so smoothly that I never have time to notice the shops.

1
girlymonkey - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I thought it was fairly obvious that it wasn't a business proposal with a business model in mind! Other people's suggestions of paintball may not have been entirely serious either!!

It was idle musing while bored at the airport. 

Although, for what it's worth, I would pay for a play on clip and climb at an airport, or any other active options. Whether it's viable for a business, I have no idea. I hate sitting and waiting, I also won't buy stuff in airports. I regularly walk every corridor along to every departure gate just due to lack of anything else to do (I'm not much of a reader). 

cb294 - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to timjones:

My last time at LAX I arrived at some outlying domestic terminal 4h before my connecting flight back to Europe. Exit the terminal, walk almost 3km (not exaggerating) around some building site, back in through security at the international terminal after queuing for more than one hour, then wait for the flight at the international terminal. Of course, the constant gate changes are only announced at that silly board under the cupola above the shopping mall or via phone messages. There is not a single information desk in there, which kind of gives away the priorities. 

Will have to fly to the West coast again in February, but this time via Denver. Never had any problems there. 

I am aware that I am part of the problem I am complaining about, but I very rarely fly for anything else but business (maybe twice in the last 10 years).

CB

 

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Thank you for your courtesy in replying after my many posts.

9
girlymonkey - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

There were a lot of replies, and I was on holiday (hence being bored at the airport!), so I didn't really read much of it. I prefer to spend holidays with the people I am with and seeing the sights! I think most people understood this nature of the thread and didn't really expect a huge amount of interaction from me on it!

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

Sorry for not knowing that you were on holiday.

1
timjones - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to cb294:

I have to confess that connecting flights may be different, my experience relates to direct flights from London to LAX and the experience of checking in, clearing security and boarding has been excellent every time.
 

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

You’d probably enjoy Munich Airport 

you can get a back-and-shoulder-and-head massage from a real person , not a silly vibrating chair

 

There is a barber-and-shave (didn’t see if women can get hair done)

 

There is a proper shoe-shine man

 

There are micro-rooms with beds in them that you can shut yourself into for a peaceful nap

Lots of shops but they don’t feel so “in your face”

 

You can buy a pressure cooker on the way to the departure gate.

girlymonkey - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Funnily enough, it was Munich that we were in. We had a nice wander around the Christmas market, had a nice venison burger and my husband had some gluhwien (I don't drink). 

Did you also find the video screen with the Japanese lady who gives you Lebkuchen if you have a conversation with her? It's an advert for Lufthansa, but quite funny.

Yes, certainly at this time of year it is much better than Edinburgh airport 

nufkin - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

>  On a brighter note Vancouver airport is lovely. Some proper art and an an amazing aquarium.

+1 to this, having spend an impromptu night there. I didn't notice the aquarium, but I did like the nice fountain and appreciated the general spacious and calm atmosphere. I even found some benches that didn't have arm-rests for ever seat so I could lie down to sleep.

Denver airport also seems quite nice, as far as they go.

It might also be worth mentioning that last time I arrived back to Gatwick I was off the plane, through passport control, bag collected and onto a train in less than half-an-hour. Definitely an improvement over past experiences

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

I walked past the Japanese lady on video screen and guessed it was interactive as I broke step just long enough to be detected and she seemed to start to “respond”

 

Landing at Stansted is going be quite a comedown.

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to nufkin:

>

> It might also be worth mentioning that last time I arrived back to Gatwick I was off the plane, through passport control, bag collected and onto a train in less than half-an-hour. Definitely an improvement over past experiences

 

a year ago I landed at Gatwick on such a cheap airline that our apron appeared to be in Luton. Took 30 mins just to get to the passport control queue!

 

captain paranoia - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Thank you for your courtesy in replying after my many posts.

Get over yourself, dear.

Blue Straggler - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Get over yourself, dear.

Says the one!

 

2
ThunderCat - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to Northern Star:

Manchester airport also has a genius scheme of making the short stay car parks so cramped , with such a bottlenecked exit that when you pay for your ticket, it takes you so long to get out that you actually get charged an extra 2.50 at the barrier....and then everyone complains at the barrier....making the bottleneck even worse.  Quite a good money-spinner really

mbh - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to ThunderCat:

I note the comments above from habitual users of Manchester airport, but my one experience of departing from it was the single worst time I have had in getting through security at any airport. It took an age, the staff were not friendly and at one point I was stood there by the X-ray( or whatever it is) arch, hands up as ordered, saying 'What do I do now?' to no great interest from the operatives around me.

Given the volume of passengers, perhaps I would be as surly as the staff there were, but it certainly wasn't pleasant to get through.

The best airports are the tiny ones like Newquay, or Paris Beauvais, at least as it was when I used it 20 years ago, Ryan Air at that time testing the waters with the use of "Paris" in the place name.

In these, you  don't need to pack your sandwiches or poles for the walk between check-in and the actual tarmac, which you do get to walk across to the plane, which I like. 

You may however get stiffed for £25 for a day's parking even at these tiny ones, as I was en route for Manchester.

ThunderCat - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to mbh:

I've actually only used it twice I think... Maybe three times and its not that bad.  My crap parking experience was from picking up and dropping off there. I also used to live a few miles away from it,  and one of the feeder roads to the m56 runs right by it. Due to people trying to avoid the parking fees the junction roundabout pretty much turns into an ad hoc car park at certain times. 

John Stainforth - on 05 Dec 2018
In reply to cb294:

In think you meant to say INFERNAL


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