Saturday, July 27, 2013

What I Like About: Airport Terminals

Qantas 1st lounge at SYD International
a top rate lounge
I have not been doing quite as much business travel as in the past years.  But at the moment I am on the road again.  And for the most part, not much has changed.  Travel is as it has been the past few years.  Crowded airports, flights, delays, long transit times to allow getting through security screening without missing flights, etc.  And since the last rare post for this blog was a big whinge (rightful, but nonetheless a gripe)...I thought I should remark a bit on things I actually Like and Appreciate.

There are things I Appreciate very much.  They are the sorts of things that make one's life on the go a bit more pleasant, or easier, or both.  And my combination of love of form+function and also beauty/aesthetics means I like things to be well thought out and also presented  in aesthetically pleasing way.  It is not impossible.  And the good news, is some nice resources are still out here.

So, in the world of queues, harassing security screening, and crowds, what is there to like about airport terminals ?  Here are a few things I thought of just now (while I am a captive in ORD Terminal 3).

Sydney International Qantas First Lounge.  Wow, I love this lounge.  The vertical garden wall on entering (I now really want to plant african violets and anthuriums on a vertical wall--so pretty !).  The lovely service and attitude, the panoramic view of the planes parked in gates and flight line through soaring tall and wide windows.  And the gorgeous restaurant service, with brilliant food, drink, and service.  I love having my lunch or dinner there and then having a snooze on the flight.

Sydney International also gets marks for decent courtesy and yet competent security screening.  I really Appreciate I have never gotten barked or yelled at there (like is common at LAX TBIT, T4, or many other US airports).  Generally speaking I give good marks on security screening in a civilised and competent manner to several Australian airports (Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne).  Contrary to common belief, you do not have to mean and rude to the traveling public to perform competent security screening (and we traveling public are not idiots).  The TSA could do well to study this and look for ways to improve their passenger care attitudes.

But I digress--this is meant to be things to Like (more than Not Like).

well done !  asking how customers rate the
security screening at LHR T5.  (can TSA
at LAX TBIT try this ?)
LHR T5.  This has improved a lot of late.  I was there earlier this year.  And Very Impressed to see that security screening has a Customer Satisfaction station after departing screening.  Well Done !

LHR T5 also has a great WHSmith shop.  I know these exist in many places, but this one up after security screening is really good and has an excellent selection of magazines, books and more.  I have a very fierce (bad) magazine habit and I love the UK interiors magazines.  I must buy up 4 or 5 to take on my flight ex LHR.  Why not ?!

I do also like the BA 1st Lounge at LHR T5.  Lovely and can be quite nice (but the staff not quite as friendly and elegant as Qantas 1st lounge in Sydney...and I always get the impression the BA lounge attendants are gate-keeping, and trying to push all they can to the Business Lounge and keep the riffraff out of the 1st lounge !).

big selection of magazines at
LHR T5 WHSmith
ORD Terminal 3.  Such a busy place.  But a small peaceful area is the  lovely AA Flagship Lounge.  Not only is this always calm, even when the small areas are crowded, the staff at this lounge are top notch and always helpful and kind.  They have corrected things for me that other checkin or lounge agents have missed or not gotten right.  And they are unfailingly kind and polite.  Everything is kept nice and tidy too, a pleasant little gem in a very busy place.

Also in ORD Terminal 3, Barbara's Bookstore.  I love this bookstore.  Jam packed with books, magazines, accessories and always showing great customer service attitude.

Well, that is it for the moment.  I will be in LAX again soon.  Usually have to "dig deep" to find things to like, especially at the dreaded TBIT terminal, which has possibly the meanest and least efficient TSA screening teams in all of USA.  But I hope to be surprised.  If that happens, I will definitely post about it !!

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