Thursday, August 27, 2009

Woes about Airports

An airport. Grateful for this little nice oasis where the sunlight pouring through the glass panes and the flowing of water both have a calming effect for passengers who are waiting for their flights.

The two airports that left an ever lasting impression on me has to be Heathrow and Manchester airports while other international airports simply pale in comparison. Until now, no other international airports could surpass them in terms of efficiency and services and I doubt there will ever be. This is the year 2009.

Think of them along this line: for the amount of airport tax that you are forced to pay at these airports and the standards of services in exchange.

I know I have been too pampered. So I know it might be a little too extravagant to demand petty things like providing free internet and wireless services or even portable water from these two airports even though they are, up till now, the most expensive airports that I have ever used across Europe and Asia.

Paying a pound to surf internet at Heathrow. What a surprise.

Then think about the punctuality of departures and arrivals. I do not think I am being over unreasonable to consider that as a basic expectation. But I simply cannot tell you how many times I have encountered late departures and late arrivals at these airports and the amount of time I have to spend waiting for the aircrafts to taxi upon landing or to pick up my baggage from the belt. I do not think I am being particular picky to expect services of a standard that is value for the amount of money that I pay. I have had better services at the airport at Kathmandu and that was the year 2000.

A Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3 of a particular airport that provides a green oasis for departing passengers to relax in.

Further to that, as a tourist with a reasonable grasp of the English language, I find it inexplicably difficult to navigate within the airport building of Manchester as to where to find the VAT refund counter and how does a tourist go about getting a VAT reclaim? I have done my homework prior to my arrival at the airport but I just couldn’t find the relevant information that a tourist would need in their website. The most bizarre thing was to expect tourists to grab hold of any ground staff to fish for any information.

As a tourist, I would appreciate if there are clear signs to direct passengers to the train station that is located in one of the terminals at Manchester Airport and probably better still if there is an indication on the floor plan of the airport that could show the location of the train station.

It was futile looking for any information counter which one will expect from an international airport but it seems like tourists are expected to be made to look even more stupid than they already are in a foreign environment.

For your information, in the year 2008, Munich airport has already started testing out the concept of channeling baggage directly from aircrafts to the Munich Main train station in order to save time and trouble for passengers of transferring baggage between the airport and train station.

What an amazing difference.

By the way, I still have not received my VAT refund after submitted my form two months ago at Manchester Airport. I had little hope of receiving any when I posted my form anyway.