Sunday, 7 June 2009

Airports - Don't you just love them!

We got back from two weeks holiday in Rhodes a few days ago and I'm still feeling totally disoriented and wondering why.

We've been there a few times before, have had night flights a couple of times too and on the plus side we weren't delayed this year, I don't have to go to work now but I'm still absolutely shattered and can't get back into any sort of routine. Maybe it seems worse because of how much longer you have to spend in the airport due to security measures, however I'm sure it's partly due to the poor state of Rhodes airport, even though it's a new extension.

We were taken to Rhodes airport three hours before the flight was due to be called. Now that's not a problem here, our local airport is OK. It's not exactly Heathrow but it's easy to while away the time in the various cafes, pubs and range of shops before you are called to the embarkation gate. When you are called, you are only in the gate area for a short time, the seats are not that bad and the loos are good. However in Rhodes it's a different story altogether.

This year we stood for well over an hour and a half in the check in line. What a shambles! Not an easy thing standing for that long at 1.30 in the morning for anyone, never mind the elderly, disabled and children. There were only four metal seats in the whole of that check in area.

One thing that kept us occupied whilst we awaited was wondering whether the woman who literally rolled onto the airport transfer bus would be allowed to board. She was more than half cut and her husband looked a bit the worse for wear too! She wandered around the airport with a large bottle of water looking for goodness knows what and couldn't walk in a straight line. The tour company staff were trying to keep an eye on her but were convinced she wouldn't be allowed to board. People in the queue were all saying they would refuse to sit beside them on the plane, have to say I was a bit worried about that.

Due to how long the Rhodes airport staff took to check us in, she managed to look sober and they did let her through. Well they wouldn't want her left in the airport would they! When we got to the gate we then observed a tug o' war between the pair of them over her handbag, not sure why but eventually he left her and she sat down with her water bottle. Luckily they were very quiet and caused no more trouble. She probably went to sleep, I never saw either of them again even at the other end. Maybe she's still sitting there.

After you check in you have to go straight to the departure gate, well there's is nothing else to do. Also despite the airport being greatly enlarged, they still only have two small duty free shops, one pathetic cafe and half a dozen appalling loos that I've never seen clean or all working so imagine the queues! The worst thing however is the seating, there isn't enough and people have to sit on the floor. However the seats themselves are disgusting, uncomfortable metal ones that after five minutes you need to get up and walk about to keep your circulation going.

Nice way to spend a night!

Now I'm sure this airport is bigger than ours in Newcastle, so why can't they provide similar facilities? You feel like they are treating you like goods on a factory line, just processing you through dumping you at the departure gate with no consideration for your level of comfort. It also seems like they're missing a trick on the income side too with having few opportunities to while away the time with retail therapy.

I've made my mind up that I'm still going to go to Rhodes, let's face it most airports in the Greek Islands are worse than here. But this is the last time I'll take an overnight flight, no matter how reasonably priced the holiday is!

Never mind it was a lovely holiday and I'll post some photos later.
Now I must try to catch up on looking at people's blogs, I'm way behind and wondering how everyone is.