Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Tale of Two Airports

Clive Davis recounts his troubles at Stansted Airport HERE. Stansted used to be my airport of choice but nowadays it is nearly as bad as Heathrow in terms of an all-round passenger experience. Over the weekend I travelled from London City Airport to Zurich. City Airport is almost a pleasure to go through. It's well organised, there are no large groups of tourists, everything is easy to find and you don't have to walk miles to the gate. Zurich airport is a paradise compared to the larger British airports. It's bright, airey, clean, easy to find your way around and with good check-in facilities. Ok, it's not on the scale of Heathrow, but so what.

One thing I also have to compliment both airports on is their attitude to disabled passengers. My mother can walk a few steps with crutches but for this sort of journey is confined to a wheelchair (the result of five, yes five, hip operations). At both airports the staff could not have been more helpful. At City the lift wasn't working so we couldn't actually go through departures so we were taken through the staff security entrance and then straight onto the plane. I think I might start taking my mother on more trips if they can all be as pain-free as this one!

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days. Partly the trip, and partly blogger's block has returned. Must try harder.

17 comments:

tapestry said...

blogger's block?

maybe the air is changing with Brown hiding, world financial markets in turmoil and the bbc making an apparently serious attempt to cross-question a government minister - Andy Burnham by Paxo I mean.

I think we are all disorientated and in shock. What can bloggers like Dale do if the BBC starts to do its job properly?

Take Mum to Zurich, sunbathe, be silly while the season lasts.

Kate said...

Iain -
Shush! City may be great, but it won't be if everyone realises that ... Keep it under your hat, for goodness' sake!

true blue said...

Iain: "My mother can walk a few steps with crotches" Was that a "Freudian Slip" ?
Speaking of Airports, I find Liverpool JL Airport extremely accessible for people with Mobility problems. Having travelled to Nice on several occasions, from there, we found the staff extremely helpful and good humoured, unlike the surly Staff at Manchester Airport. The last time we travelled from Manchester,I was walking with support crutches as I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. We were forced to stand in a queue at check-in for 90mins. My husband requested if they could be "Fast Tracked" through but were informed that this was a "Pre-Book" facility only ! It was clear that I was in severe discomfort but was virtually sneered at by a Servisair steward ! The "Fast-Track queue was empty with a pair of idle attendants standing around gossiping. Needlesss to say we will not travel from Manchester again!
Glad you and your Mum had a good time in Zurich.

GrimUpNorth said...

Thought for the day. Zurich Flughafen, and Zurich, are exceptionally well run places under the ultimate political control of Switzerland's socialist party. Having lived in ZH for 7 years, the contrast with Labour led-Manchester, where I am now holed up, is like night and day. And whilst we are on the subject of airports, Munich airport, state controlled again, is an object lesson in how a well run airport can function. Just goes to show that political labels can be very deceiving.

strapworld said...

Tapestry you are right.
Guido has one about Prescott..which shows there are good stories about.

as for airports..they should be shut down. Stop people coming in!

Anonymous said...

on a vaguely related note any thoughts about the number of people leaving the UK? what does this say about the state of the country?

Richard Elliot said...

Due to the short nature of the runway at City airport they can have a habit of leaving your lugage on the tarmac if they think the plane will struggle to take off in time.........

Apart fomr being sent on your holiday without your suitcase it is quite a small and efficiently run little airport.

Adam said...

London City has long been the best kept secret for pleasurable air travel in the UK. Please take down the post before too many people notice it... :-)

Johnny Norfolk said...

I used to commute to Germany on a weekly basis and used the City airport with BA. There was very little problem and the airport was on a human scale. I dont know why the regional airports are not being more fully developed. It woud reduce journey times and traffic getting to the airports and would spread the noise load more evenly around the country.

Candidates in the SE would be Cambridge, Norwich, Southend, Southampton, Luton and I am sure there will be more.
More expensive for the airlines but thats all.

Ted said...

grimupnorth
your comments on municipal owned airports follows a post about how awful Manchester Airport is (55% owned by Manchester council, 45% by 9 other councils). Perhaps its German/Swiss efficiency?

GrimUpNorth said...

Ted
It is amazing how Manchester continiues to bask in the media hyped story that it has been the subject of some sort of economic miracle. Manchester airport should have been privatised long ago, the city's flimsy economic success rests heavily on large dollops of public money and the people who call the shots (apart from the Labour led council) are the property developers. Can you name one well-known public company headquartered in Manchester? They deserted the place years ago. No one took the slightest bit of interest when Kellogg ( a US company) moved its European headquarters from Manchester to Dublin. Instead the city leaders spend their time trying to win yet more public sector call centres. Zurich might sound boring but it is a model of a well run European city.

Ttony said...

London City: "there are no large groups of tourists". problem described and explained in one go!

Birmingham Terminal 2 was the same when it was used exclusively by British Airways.

Richard Dale said...

grimupnorth

Zurich airport "exceptionally well-run"?

Zurich is a farce! There is poor communication and people don't get there own jobs done, or don't know there own job outside the narrow experience of a standard, scheduled flight; the processes in place are inefficient. Geneva is only a little better, in that people seemed to know their jobs. At least I can get things done reasonably quickly at any UK airport, and people know or can find out what's going on when I arrive at short notice.

Stansted (or indeed Heathrow, or other UK airports large and small) is generally a model of smooth running. I have been in and out of Stansted in 15 minutes.

Johnny Norfolk

There are attempts to develop many regional airports, but often obstacles. Southend airport management have ambitious plans, for example. The main reason they have not been carried out is that it is very difficult to extend the runway to accomodate 737 or A320-sized aircraft, due to a church.

Local obstacles such as this or simply local opposition affects many airports.

chris said...

Why is everyone putting the boot in on BAA and Heathrow just before it opens a massive new state of the art terminal?

It is hardly their fault that the thing was delayed for years while endless money wasting public enquiries were held (with the unltimate decision a foregone conclusion). It is the idiotic planning burocracy that is to blame.

John Blaimont said...

My wife and I arrived @ Stansted from Las Vegas on Tuesday at @ 1.30 pm (3.30 am in our heads)after a 10 hr flight not to find a single trolley available despite promises from what appeared to be a reliable source ( a man with a yellow waistcoat). Although we were promised that trolleys would be available within 5-10 minutes, it took @ 45 minutes to process us and guss what!- still no trolleys, I am pleased to say that @ 79years I and my wife (@70)were able to drag our bags to the exit- without any offer of assistance from the many staff hanging around. The other passengers did indeed offer generously to help.

John Blaimont said...

My wife and I arrived @ Stansted from Las Vegas on Tuesday at @ 1.30 pm (3.30 am in our heads)after a 10 hr flight not to find a single trolley available despite promises from what appeared to be a reliable source ( a man with a yellow waistcoat). Although we were promised that trolleys would be available within 5-10 minutes, it took @ 45 minutes to process us and guess what!You're right- still no trolleys, I am pleased to say that @ 79years I and my wife (@ 70years)were able to drag our bags to the exit- without any offer of assistance from the many staff hanging around. The other passengers did indeed offer generously to help.

Adrian Yalland said...

Glad you had a god time with your mum. The worst airport in europe is Vienna!

Bloogers block - what about the debale over the hospital 'closures'? Lots to write there surely. It made DC look really silly.