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The Airport Experience

I ended up comparing airports and airlines with a friend recently. You know, the sort of random conversation where worst flight experiences come up and memories of long-haul flights and the weird breaks in between them, when you are not sure where you are or what time it may be in wherever country you just landed. That's what you get when you like to travel, the pain of the journey itself.

I hate flying. I am scared of planes in general, although I am now a bit used to it, having to fly for work during years on a regular basis. And well, it's a long way to the other end of the world by boat, so planes it has to be. I don't enjoy it, but I have grown fond of some little moments of the journey. The feeling of disembarking to a new land, after a night on a flight. These quiet moments you can enjoy in between flights with headphones on, sitting on an airport bench and looking at people passing by, going to wherever it is they are going.

I have also built up the ideal travel kit over the years, to survive through long-haul flights better: mask, cushion, ear plugs, eye drops, face cream, music, books, etc.

So, back to airports. This is my personal list so far:

  • Most familiar aiport: Paris-CDG terminal 2F. I used to be there for work a dozen times a month. I know it inside out.

  • Best services offered: Munich. Convenience stores, hot shower even at 6am, plenty of choices for food.

  • Best smoking area: Singapore. Outdoor, with palm trees and a little water fontain.

  • Best sea view: Santa Marta, Colombia. Not only a view, the airport is open, so you get sea smell, even.

  • Best duty free: tough one this one. JFK, Singapore?

  • Best frequent flyer lounge: Amsterdam. They have cheese on the food buffet, this says it all.

  • The fairest customs: Mexico. Press the button : green, good for you, red, you're in for a search of luggage.

  • Cleanest airport: Tokyo.

  • Worst "are we going to land in the water?" feeling: London City.

  • Worst everything: Jakarta local terminal. Especially when your plane is delayed, time being a quite elastic notion in Indonesia.

  • Worst food: that's a tie between Mauritius and Mombasa, really. Never having food there again, for sure.

  • Worst visa lines: Moscow. And it gets the award for "most non-smiling custom officers ever" as well (even more than the US officers, that's how bad it is...).

What's your list?

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