I am constantly amused when people tell me of their dislike for airports. I know they can be quite stressful at times especially with all the extra security measure and there is inevitably time spend waiting in queues and hanging around. Here are my top ten reasons for loving the airport
- Holidays and backpacking – you have been planning and dreaming about this chance to forget the everyday stress and relax a little. The airport is the starting point of your adventure. Shop, eat and dream of everything you are going to be doing. Yippee!
- Going home – you have been on your adventure and now you are just needing some home time to catch up with family and friends. You have probably already made plans for what you will do on your return and there is lots of catching up to be doing. Time now to think of all the home comforts you have been missing.
- Social interactions – no matter who you are, what you do at some point in your life you will be in airports. Everyone is thrown together in a mass, all with their own stories and reasons for being there; look around you there is so much to see. Couples kissing on arrivals after a long time apart, terrified parents saying goodbye as their teenagers are going backpacking, tired parents hoping to get some rest in the sunshine, hen and stag parties all dressed up, the business workers in their suits having a pint before the flight and the wedding or honeymoon couple ready to start their life together and don’t forget the drunk man (usually Scottish) who will either get arrested or lose his passport. All nationalities forced to spend time together. Sit down relax and observe. It is people watching heaven.
- Variance – no two airports are the same so I love discovering new ones and you would be surprised what you can learn about an area or country as soon as you arrive. From the shed sized chaos of some of the Greek islands to the architectural delights of the big cities. If it all appears very civilised and friendly, it probably is, if you are being harassed by security and porters it is likely to be a preview of what is to come. Did you just breeze through security with an open bottle of water in your handbag? Never a good sign!
- Time – whether you are travelling alone or in a group there is going to be some point of your journey that you are alone in your thoughts and time to think things through. Airports are a place of constant change and a great space to think about your life.
- Shopping – whether it’s taking home souvenirs or stocking up on things you can’t live without there is something special about shopping in an airport and yes you do deserve that treat! For me airport shopping generally involves stocking up on toiletries, magazines and books that I will not be able to buy at my destination.
- Delays – ok so I don’t actually enjoy delays, however there is nothing like a 24hr flight delay for someone to show their true colours. Having previously worked as a Holiday Rep I may have more experience than most in this one but you would be amazed how people change. A delay can bring on tears, aggression and downright rudeness. No one generally cares about the reason for the delay just the inconvenience it will cause to their journey and what they will receive for this inconvenience. Although you would be surprised how many aircraft engineers or pilots seem to be travelling on each flight whenever there is a delay. The demands become completely unrealistic and believe me when that flight finally takes off, no one is happier than the staff that has been dealing with EVERYONE!
- Friendships – I once sat next to a lady on a flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam, we remained in touch by writing to each other for a few years (yes, actual pen and paper stuff!) Then one day she invited me to stay with her in her holiday apartment in Hawaii!! Incredible and yes of course I went, it was a great opportunity to see somewhere I may never had to the chance to visit. We are still friends to this day (sadly all by email now).
- Luggage – It amuses me that so many people do not know their hold and hand luggage limit or what they can or can’t take home. You are guaranteed at some point to see the entire contents of a suitcase, and really you brought 30kgs for a week in Spain? Also despite ongoing and increasing security measures there is always someone who wants to bring home a weekly grocery shop, a replica gun or a pair of scissors in their hand luggage. Yes it happens!
- Work – Being a rep you spend so much time in the airport and the days are long and tiring but you get to say goodbye to the nice guests, you are glad to see the back of some and then you have the excitement and anticipation of the new arrivals who will (mostly) be all excited to start their holiday. This may be the only chance to catch up with friends in different resorts too, so many a story is told between reps at an airport and this kind of makes it like your living room. Maybe that’s why I am so relaxed in airports and get the chance to enjoy all of the above?
And just if you are wondering, my favourite airport is Athens. I seem to spend so much time there and I know where everything is. It is the only time I enjoy sitting in a McDonalds, I can stock up on Greek toiletries and there is a museum and a photo gallery that is always changing. If that is not enough there is also an Ikea within visiting distance. What more do you want from an airport?