[Image by Michael Kappel]
Connecting flights can be a nuisance, can’t they? If you are looking for a cheap flight to somewhere in Asia, for example, the chances are that you will be offered two connecting flights. Sometimes the connection really is a connection, taken care of by the airline. Sometimes you get off one plane, you have half an hour to walk around the airport, look at the duty free goods or have a meal, and then you get on the connecting flight and away you go. Sometimes it turns out to be several hours because of a delay, and in a busy, noisy or dirty airport that is not much fun. It might be just long enough to stretch your legs and look around, and the inconvenience might be insignificant. Or it might turn into a nightmare, literally if you have to spend a whole night there. So connecting flights are not necessarily to be avoided, but you should try to ensure that the connection is within an hour or two. If you do have to spend a night and the airline is responsible, then they will have to provide you with a hotel room. Make sure that they do so. If, on the other hand, it is less than an hour in a well-designed airport, you might even wish it had been a bit longer.
Make the Most of It
After the plane has hit the deck, the captain should inform his passengers of any complications or problems regarding connecting flights. Listen carefully. There might be a map of the airport in one of the magazines provided by the airline, and it surely is not difficult to find such a thing online. So make yourself reasonably familiar with the layout of an airport before you get there if you have a connection to make. It saves time and probably some frustration when you get there. As you leave the plane, there is often another opportunity to ask whether there is any problem or change regarding your connection. As you get to the end of the tube connecting the plane to the port, look out for the smiling and good-looking models who welcome passengers to the airport. They ought to know about such things. Failing that, anyone who works for the airline that you are leaving with, unless it’s Gulf Air, will do their upmost best to help you. After all that is their job.
Choose a Good Airport If You Can, In the Far East there are several:
And in Europe there are more:
Eleftherios Venizelos, Athens
Not all airports are bright, cheerful and friendly, but many are. Some are interesting and are well decorated, whilst some are architectural marvels. Depending on personal interests, some people spend a long time admiring the design and construction of big, international airports. Chep Lap Kok in Hong Kong, Kansai in Osaka and, slightly closer to home, Stansted airport in Essex have all been designed by Norman Foster and Partners. They may be controversial in their own ways, but each is surely worth some aesthetic consideration at least.
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, all on or very close to the Malay Peninsula, are all rather new and also impressive. The first and last of those three are particularly amazing, having been described in print as awesome, cool and spectacular. If you see the fountains and botanical gardens of Changi you will understand why, and Bangkok’s new airport, despite its unpronounceable name, may be what the future looks like. Jumping back to the west, Marrakech Menara is not large by international standards but surprisingly modern and interesting in design.
If going even further west, consider Washington Dulles, which was built in 1962. Its concrete roof hangs down in the middle like a canvas between rows of angled pillars and has been the inspiration of several more recent designs. It is easy to understand why. Madrid, for example, has a similarly swooping roof, but the ceiling is lined with bamboo which gives it a different feeling. Steel struts are painted in all colours of the rainbow from red, to violet, all along the length of the building. Also in Spain, the wonderfully spacious Barcelona airport is refreshing after hours in a plane as it feels like you are outside even if you do not leave.
The airport which looks like it’s on a raft, floating just off the coast at Rio, is something to behold on final approach, and not uninteresting after you land. The great, futuristic concrete cylinder of Charles de Gaulle in Paris and the sheer indifference to the conventions of airport design at Banjul in Gambia are just a couple more randomly chosen airports worth visiting. Having to wait a while for a connecting flight at any of these airports would hardly be a pain.
Ariana Louis has written this article after recently finding special deals at holidayshoppers.co.uk to the South East of Asia. Ariana likes to share her experiences in her blogs and articles and would recommend Travel Republic services to anyone who is looking to book a holiday abroad.