Airports – Your last point of call before you board your plane. This is where it all happens. Will start with a few trivia about airports.
Mini cities. Most airports in the developed countries such as Singapore’s Changi International, Dubai International, London’s Heathrow and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are basically mini cities. You can find basically anything and everything you want in them or within the premises they are located. They can virtually function independently without the need of outsourcing from their resident towns and cities. They have all the amenities you can think of. Hotels up to 5 star ratings, fully equipped hospitals that run around the clock depending on airport operations as well as bus and train stations. They also have prayer rooms and chapels for worship and some even have residencies for a section of their employees. Fully functional banks and financial institutions of all kinds. They have fully equipped emergency services to cater for various situations. One can literally live there and be covered.
Lounges. Airlines treasure good reputation and strive for excellency as much as possible. What it means is that you are golden as a customer and your comfort and satisfaction is a priority, well for most airlines and if you pay big. So you find that most airlines pride themselves with their waiting lounges, they equip them with state of the art and up to date facilities. The high paying clients such as Business and First Class passengers get private lounges free of the hustle and bustle of the general airport traffic. Been in one of these lounges, I tell you I wished my flight would delay so I stay in there longer.
Duty free parlor. We have all been there if we have flown international. I wish I could say that you can get bargains there but I cant because the prices there are very steep. The honest truth is that we end up buying there though because of the appeal, those places are build to entice you and entice you they will. Dubai International has the biggest duty free shopping area in the area and you can all see for yourself how nice it is. Its bigger than most ordinary city malls we know.
Security. To me airport security is beginning to become frustrating for travelers and airlines alike. I guess we can call it a necessary stress because of the growing threat that is beguiling the aviation world. Aviation security when properly implemented is one the tightest forms of security you can come across. Security is integral to an airport and all across the aviation world to ensure the safety of passengers, goods being transported, airport infrastructure, machinery and aircraft and the people handling all these things on a daily basis. Most big airports have their own police stations with a well equipped force to deal with some major incidences.
Baggage collection. You know your journey is almost up when you go collect your baggage. This can be a hustle in other airports especially the large ones therefore reading the noticeboards and following other passengers tend to help. By the way, clearing immigration first or getting off the plane first does not mean you will get your luggage first, but most airports are designed to make this as convenient as possible for its travelers to access their baggage. State of the art baggage handling machines are coming into the market all the world so I’m pretty sure in no time this will be a stress free part of your journey.
Immigration. Ever noticed something, immigration officers seem to have been born from the same parents lol. It does not matter where you go, those guys can just turn on you in an instant. One moment its all fun and chatty and next thing you are being put in corner that you know might have you sent back to where you came from. None the less immigration controls are necessary for many legal reasons. This basically makes an airport a doorway to anywhere in the world in the shortest possible time. Despite our sometimes negative experiences with them it pays to cooperate with them. Once you are past immigration at the airport, you are officially in international territory and cant be arrested, mmh interesting.
Like I said earlier airports are mini cities. They have it all. From immigration to hospitals to hotels and restaurants, to shopping malls and chapels, banks and bus, taxi and train stations. Next time you are at a big airport, just look around and take note of these. Some even have great landscaping inside with beautiful gardens and other beautiful scenery.
Wish you all a pleasant week ahead
AviaConnect (M B Dube)