What’s an Airport For?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Last week The Sunday Times wrote a piece by Matt Rudd about how unfriendly airports are to children. It presupposes the question that airports are supposed to be friendly in the first place. Not just for children but for everyone.

Airports are there to enable you to catch a flight to somewhere so surely the prime aim is to get you through and out as soon as possible? If you are flying in then the same applies. It is get you off the plane and out into the real world. Then some bright spark decided to add duty free shops, then cafés, then restaurants, then shops, then lounges, then viewing areas and places where you can spend £20 on a ticket to win a car. All of a sudden they were bigger than villages. All they need is a Tesco or a Sainsbury and I can do my weekly shop there as well. This is what Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester have become,- towns where flying seems almost an afterthought. (some are so big they can’t be called villages.) And it is estimated that over 1,000 people sleep on the floor or on seats at Stansted each evening. See , it’s a town complete with it’s own dossers?

Edinburgh has recently been remodelled and Glasgow is next for the treatment.

Has it got to the point now where getting passengers in and out has got so difficult to resolve merely because everything else has been poured into airports so that airports can make greater profits? Get rid of some of the retailing and there will be more room for scanners and security improvements. Get rid of people hawking credit cards and get rid of a coffee shop or two and we might not need to expand an airport into the size of a city.

Airports have lounges for business an first class passengers to go into. And why do passengers go there? For peace and quiet. There are no shops and no hawkers. They can just wait for a plane. Maybe that’s why they are so popular.

I am attracted more and more to smaller airports like London City where being on island stops development or where, such as Newquay, there seems little desire to grow. At least those airports are closer to delivering the service that most passengers want.

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