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The airports for 2004


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#1 kole

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 08:53 PM



I know we just started the year but there are some sleek, tready, and very lame airports out there. Here are mine, Let me see yours.

(no order)

-Narita (tokyo): a recent stop over for 3.5 hours. tried the shower and loved it, $3USD for 30min. can't beat that. Poor selection of food, but you can get your favorite j-pop cd or a little something from Hermes. Love the matching shop girl uniforms.

-JFK: sucks!!!! especially now. you have to pay $5 to ride the shuttle train from the 'A' train stop, even if you're just picking someone up. More complex than it needs to be. Once inside it really depends on the terminal. For example the delta terminal is the worst, maybe in the entire country (too strong?).

-Denver international: sleek and new. Not a bad place to be stuck during a snow storm. service is as good has it gets. and if your really bored you and your companion and can play a game of "who can count the most cowboy hats".

-Chiang kai shek (taipei): I've been a few times but it's really hard to get a read on the place. It has a great open area for departures. nice space and privacy to say good-bye to loved ones (unlike jfk). Like most of the country, It's pretty basic but it works. And please don't forget this. Eat before you go!

-Charles de Gaulle: On every visit I end up running the 100 meter or the 2 by 2 relay. I can never get there on time, not even by cab. My tardiness would account for the poor service I receive. But I'm always happy when in paris, so who cares about airport service.

-Da Vinci International (roma!): Great city but what's with this place? A bit confussing and small. If two internatinal flights land at the same time, the scene there is like something out of the grapes of wrath. One piece of advice. If you do rent a car, get a compact. Big american cars on ancient city streets don't mix.

-Vienna international: Probably the last public place on earth you can smoke. Though they may have changed that rule. since I'm a none smoker it was great to be able to go outside for some air, I have 3 extra stamps in my passport to prove it.

-O'hara (chicago): best seen late night. I can't think of anything better than the light and sound show above the moving sidewalk after one to many cocktails on the 3rd leg of the redeye.

-McCarran international (las vegas): I have one word, slots! you get off the plane and there they are. Even better, you're waiting for a plane and there they are. Slow luggage carousel, maybe they want you to try the slots. tricky cabbies, don't fall for this. a ride from the airport to any major hotel on the strip should be 10 mins and there is no need to take you on the expressway. it takes about 10 mins to get to the expressway and another 15 mins back to the hotels. It may seem like $7-$10 extra bucks is small change but imagine doing this 20-30 times a day + tip.

-Grand Central Station (nyc): Yes I know. it's a train station and a regional one at that, not an airport. But I was a watching this program, extreme engineering. the u.s. and brits are proposing a vacume tube under the atlantic between new york and london. and get this, since the tube will be sealed and near frictionless the carrier will travel at 2500-3000 mph! again, I know! sounds incredible, but image if you will from grand central to waterloo in an hour and a half. and not to mention the fun of joining the new 'one mile below club'. i believe that's true superjetset style.
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#2 isla maia

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 07:24 AM



- chek lap kok (hong kong): efficient, massive, and the cathay pacific business lounge is superb! love the noodle bar area with their subdued lighting.

- changi (singapore): first place i've encountered a computer store with just about everything you need supplied. nice "tropical" and shopping layout.

- arlanda (stockholm): petit, efficient ... very airport.

- allama iqbal (lahore): definitely not a place for women, men rule here, and you won't be able to get an inch near the luggage carousel until the men are done.
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#3 andreas

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 03:32 PM



AMS – Amsterdam Schiphol: My home airport and loving it! Clean, efficient, good connections, easily accessible bla-bla-bla. Plus a duty-free that can’t be beat.

CGK – Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta: Dunno...built in the 80s and it already looks quite outdated, could it be the too pleasing folklore decorations throughout the terminal or is it the cracks and spots which become more obvious when looking closely? Arrival or departure in the evening is most pleasant as the whole place is far less hectic.

OSL – Oslo Gardermoen: Wallpaper International Airport? Very well designed, light ‘n bright plus the use of local natural materials all give it a serene atmosphere. The glitzy high speed train into town is another technical statement.

PRG – Prague Ruzynì: At peak hours waiting areas are jammed with unhappy looking people. This airport is either too small or badly designed. Contrary to glorious Prague it is incredibly ugly too so focus on the city when flying in or when leaving.

SIN – Singapore Changi: Hailed as top airport in many surveys year-in-year-out, I just can’t help thinking of it as a perfect backdrop for an ‘ER’ episode. Changi is an efficient, well-designed airport but it’s just so sterile. Who said airports reflect a nation’s psyche?

SVO – Moscow Sheremetyevo: What a nightmare. The whole airport is monopolized by the mob which keeps taxi fares at an average USD 60.00 – USD 70.00 for a twentyfive minute ride to town. When leaving try to avoid persistently corrupt policemen who check your passport, spot an administrative visa-related irregularity and demand USD 25 or more to let you go. Ow...did I mention the poor facilities here yet?
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#4 adamgreenfield

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:26 AM



On the positive side, it's gotta be Hong Kong. The combination of Norman Foster and John Pawson (in the Cathay Pacific lounge) is a guaranteed nipple-erector.

I'm fond of what jetBlue has done at JFK, though I agree that for the most part it's a got-damn nightmare. I'm looking for them to take over the Saarinen TWA Terminal as well - a better mesh of architectural experience with brand positioning is hard to imagine.

Heathrow's Terminal 4 is one big mall. Even more so than most airports, you could be anywhere. Thumbs down, but for the wine jellies.
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Posted 11 February 2004 - 01:28 PM



GIG (Rio) - not bad but I only counted two stores, both airside and with very little choice. Only US Dollars please! Varig lounge is dark and empty. Got to have your wits about you in arrivals as crime is rife. Departures seem much safer and more organised. Has anyone else noticed the damp, musky smell at the airport?

EZE (Buenos Aires) - chaotic but full of distractingly beautiful people. And those are just the employees! The Portenos are famed for their good looks. Facilites okay but lounges are small.

TPA (Tampa/St. Petersburg, FLA) - Simple and efficient. Lots of brown decor and easy signposting. Gets my vote for the most relaxed and smoothest running airport in the States

SFO (San Francisco) - the new international terminal is sleek and airy. The UA lounge is rarely full. Some okay places to eat even if they're overpriced. The domestic terminal is always crowded. Ditto the business lounges. Food not bad either. Security queues are insane. There's a BART train service into town now.

LIN (Milan Linate) - Delays, delays especially in the winter months when the fog descends, rude staff, overzealous security staff and policemen on power trips. Bad food (a crime in Italy), business lounges are not much better than sitting in the terminals. Best avoided unless you have no choice. Airport caters mainly to European and domestic flights. Only plus point: it's very close to the centre of town - 10 mins by car, a cheap taxi ride or a €1 bus ride.

MXP (Milan Malpensa) - Most international flights. Okay but there's not much to do or buy if you are delayed. Good train connection to the city.

MEL (Melbourne Tullamarine) - Good facilites, helpful staff and the shopping is okay. International terminal is much better than the domestic. Efficient bus service to the CBD

LHR (Heathrow) - My home airport. It's always very crowded, the food sucks, the lounges are truly pants (even the old Concorde lounge in Terminal 4 was awful. Snooty BA staff!) 'Duty Free' gives you all but the tiniest of discounts. Having an elite level frequent flier card/business ticket helps to get thru the departure procedures otherwise I agree with Adam Greenfield and give it a thumbs down. PS. Connections to the city are good but expensive. Figure on a £40-50 cab ride, £5 for an hour's tube ride on the Piccadilly line or £13 for the 15min Paddington Express (by far the quickest and most efficient)

Auckland - Nothing special but it has everything and the food in the Air NZ lounge is something else. None of that finger cucumber sandwiches and thimble-sized Britvic cans poofery. You can get a 3-course meal. It's simply lush and there's plenty of it.

LAX - Poor facilites, naff shops, really bad food and long, long immigration queues. I avoid the airport where possible. Lots of hotels close by if you need a nap

Best shopping has to be Dubai
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#6 isla maia

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 02:45 PM



Hong Kong's a favourite and always will be - can't help the biasness since I grew up there. Norman Foster's team also sent the winning design for this incredible 40-hectacre canopy covered "cultural district" soon to come up in Hong Kong as well! Can't wait for it to be a reality!

I'd like to check on the new airports in China when they're operationable.
baby, we're all beautiful!
--isla maia
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#7 Yellow Pikmin

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 06:43 PM



Worst: Berlin, Tegel... Ugh! Although it gets some points for the convenience (right in the city) and depressing/cool/east germany architecture, it's so small, that they don't have enough ticket counters for all the airlines, so, some counters alternate airline companies; for example, they take the KLM sign off, and put up an Air France sign! My friends and I were walking around and around the airport (yes, it's donut shaped) and couldn't find our airline, and then all of a sudden, it 'showed up'!

anyone been to the airport in Osaka? I hear it sinks a little bit everyday, and that it is pretty high tech.

My favorite architecture-wise, is Dulles, Washington DC.
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#8 isla maia

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:11 AM



I went through Berlin about hmm ... 3 years ago. But I came through an evening flight from Paris, got in at about 8-ish and just had the impression that it was really small. That was an interesting trip too, I went to attend the birthday party of a movie director friend and ended up back at this other actress girlfriend's apartment at 5 in the morning with another producer girlfriend. Tried to grab some sleep before heading back to the airport but as I was undressing, the flesh on my hand between thumb and pointing finger got hooked on this laundry staple that somehow stayed on the garter band of my panty hose! My hands started bleeding badly, and I couldn't get that staple off, nor could my girlfriends. It was major YEOUCH! We ended up rushing to the hospital forgetting to bring our passports. Everything turned out okay in the end though, the super doctors there even while looking and being grumpy initially finally got the staple out, gave me a tetanus shot and off I went. I wasn't even asked to pay!

A country I visit with people that kind will always be a special country for me.

But you're right, their airport's small and to think it's a pretty progressive place too. I thought I was in Tokyo when I first saw all their glass and chrome office buildings.
baby, we're all beautiful!
--isla maia
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Posted 12 February 2004 - 12:01 PM



TPA (Tampa) - lived in Tampa for two years so I was at the airport almost weekly. Clean, efficient and well signposted. Has everything you need on a basic level. Gets my vote for the most relaxed and smoothest running airport in the States

GIG (Rio) - Departures terminal is so much better than arrivals. Crime is rife in Rio and the airport is no exception (especially in the Arrivals hall). You'll need you wits as well as your hands and eyes on your luggage. Otherwise the airport is functional. I only counted two stores, both airside and US dollars only please. One restaurant serving overpriced food. Has anyone else noticed the damp, musky smell around the airport?

EZE (Buenos Aires) - Basic but full of beautiful people, and those are just the employees! My, my those Portenos are good looking!

LHR (Heathrow) - All four terminals are always crowded, Duty Free only gives you the mininal of discounts, service is nonchalant and the facilities border on the medieval for one of the world's busiest airports. Good connections into town, even if expensive. Erstwhile BA Concorde lounge was barely worth using, even though you boarded the plane directly from it. BA staff are notoriously unhelpful and aloof. On the plus side, security is good. Departure procedures are much quicker if you have elite frequent flyer membership or a business/first class ticket but, overall, I have to agree with Adam Greenfield and give it a big thumbs down.

LIN (Milan Linate) - Small, crowded, poor facilites, really bad food (a crime in Italy), police and security officials on power trips (must be those Valentino designed uniforms), and flight delays, especially when the fog descends during the winter months. It's very close to the centre - 10 minutes by taxi or a €1 bus ride. Air traffic control frequently like to take extended lunch breaks (read: strike) and the place comes to a standstill.

SFO (San Francisco) - Love the new international terminal. It's big, clean, airy with good choice of food stores (even if they are comparitively expensive. Aren't they all?) Immigration process is quick and there's a new BART line into town. Gates are set away and downstairs from the main hall so you can wander thru and not see the hundreds of passengers waiting for their flights.
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Posted 12 February 2004 - 12:32 PM



SFO (San Francisco) - love the new international terminal. It's big, clean, airy and well designed. Airside, the gates are set away and downstairs from the hall. Makes you feel like you're the only one walking thru the hall, even though there are hundreds of passengers waiting to board below. Good choice of food stores, even if they are overpriced. Aren't they all?

GIG (Rio) - Basic. Departures is so much nicer - and safer - and Arrivals. Only counted two stores airside. US Dollars only please! Has anyone else noticed the damp, musky smell around the airport? I've been here a few times and the smell is still there

TPA (Tampa/St Pete) - Been thru here countless times. Hardly compares to the futuristic designs of Chep Lok or Changi but it has eveything you need. Gets my vote for the most relaxed and smoothest running airport in the States.

LHR (Heathrow) - Have to agree with Adam and give it a big thumbs down. Always crowded, poor facilities, aloof and unhelpful staff and Duty Free gives you all but the most miniscule of discounts. You would expect more from one of the world's busiest airports. Departures process is somewhat quicker if you have a premium airline ticket or elite frequent flyer membership. Good but expensive connections to the centre of London.

LIN (Milan Linate) - Small, busy, really bad food (surely this has to be a crime in Italy), security staff and policemen on power trips - must be the Valentino designed uniforms - frequent delays, especially in the winter when the fog descends. Air traffic control frequently take long lunch breaks (read: strike). On the plus side, it's very close to the centre of Milan.
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#11 kole

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:25 PM



I'll be going to osaka (I'm crossing my fingers) this summer. While there I'll check out first hand the sinking airport!
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#12 pharis

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 10:23 AM



GIG (Rio) - Most scary. Especially in the arrivals hall. Keep your eyes and hands on your luggage and be weary of stranger danger. There's also a damp, musky smell around the airport. I thought it was a one time only thing but I've been a few times and it's still there

TPA (Tampa) - Far from high tech but get my vote for the smoothest running and most relaxed airport in the States

SFO (San Francisco) - Love the new international terminal. Big, sleek, airy and well designed. The gates airside are set away and downstairs from the main hall so you could walk thru oblivious to the hundreds of people boarding their flights close by
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#13 pharis

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 10:41 AM



LIN (Milan Linate) - Vices far outweigh its virtues. Small, crowded, really bad food (surely a crime in Italy), power hungry security officials and police (must be the Valentino uniforms) and delays, especially when the fog descends in the winter months. Air traffic control have a penchant for long lunch breaks. On the plus side, it's very close to the centre of Milan.

LHR (Heathrow) - Grubby, always crowded, rude staff, bland tasteless food and Duty Free gives you all but the most miniscule of discounts. Applies to all four terminals. Even the esteemed Concorde lounge in terminal 4 was not much to right home about, beside the small advantage of boarding straight from the lounge. Departure/check-in procedures are quicker if you have a premium ticket or elite level airline frequent flier membership. Good connections to London, if expensive. Have to agree with Adam Greenfield and give it a BIG thumbs down

Kai Tak (HK) - for most precarious landings, in the days when it was the main international airport. Chep Lok is a world away now.

JFK (NYC) - slowly getting better. At least the Port Authority are making an effort! Still think Idlewild was a much better name for the airport. Ditto Orchard Fields for Chicago's O'Hare
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#14 Gabriel

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 09:38 PM



CDG as everyone knows is too far from Paris, ugly and badly designed (despite all the effort) and too crowded. ORY (French/European domestic) is so boring it's like a joke. I had to stay there one night because I missed a flight. They actually shut down the airport at night and turn off the lights, and the place fills up with bums.
Malaga Spain - it's just a big waiting room for UK, full of sunburnt tourists. I don't have any good + recent airport experiences. But of course i've never been to schipol images/icon_smile_dissapprove.gif
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#15 isla maia

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 10:38 PM



kai tak - really miss that airport, but it did get noisy for the residents who lived around the old airport area and i had friends in kowloon tong who owned fabulous houses (not high rise apartments so this is quite an amazing area, if they didn't encourage the high class prostitution in some of the mansion posing as beauty and massage salons) - and you'd have to repeat some conversation everytime a plane took off or landed!

at least it's there for posterity in this super must-have documentary "baraka".
baby, we're all beautiful!
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Posted 22 February 2004 - 08:04 PM



Well, here's my .05 euros on some airports I had the pleasure to visit last year.

Arlanda, Stockholm - For some reason, every time I end up here, I have to wait for something. The departures are especially annoying, you have to wait to be able to wait some more. STHML express is cool, though.

JFK, New York - I ended up in just about every bonus security check on arrival, but for some reason everything went quite smoothly. Departures was cool time- and securitywise, but the place was as boring as your standard health education class. Ugly also.

Helsinki-Vantaa, Helsinki - Everything (expect security checks) goes quite smoothly, but the place looks too clean. Not a bad thing, but you, or any else living being end up looking like you don't belong there because some droids or something else non-human control the whole place.
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#17 kebab

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 08:04 PM



Well, here's my .05 euros on some airports I had the pleasure to visit last year.

Arlanda, Stockholm - For some reason, every time I end up here, I have to wait for something. The departures are especially annoying, you have to wait to be able to wait some more. STHML express is cool, though.

JFK, New York - I ended up in just about every bonus security check on arrival, but for some reason everything went quite smoothly. Departures was cool time- and securitywise, but the place was as boring as your standard health education class. Ugly also.

Helsinki-Vantaa, Helsinki - Everything (expect security checks) goes quite smoothly, but the place looks too clean. Not a bad thing, but you, or any else living being end up looking like you don't belong there because some droids or something else non-human control the whole place.
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#18 adamgreenfield

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 05:16 AM



There are some great Kai Tak scenes in Greenaway's "The Pillow Book." Ahh, nostalgia.

Airport brevis, ars longa!
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#19 kiteless

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 04:22 PM



El Prat Barcelona: Tax free cigarrettes within EU, a Mandarine Duck franchise, Zara/Massimo Dutti, Chocolate factory fifteen minutes away from Placa Catalunya. Slack security where they won't spread your legs and open your ass crack open just because you wear sunglasses and travel light. The only airport where I don't oppose being an hour ahead of departure.
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#20 fumi

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Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:52 PM



LIN (Milan): adding to pharis, I never knew that the international airport can shut down at 9pm. everybody goes home. There's a train ride to central Milan, but to catch the 6am airplane you have to take the 70euro cab ride in the morning. (the train won't run until 6am or so) when I asked where I can wait for the mornng flight, a airline officer suggested that I should find a warm spot on the hard chair and make myself comfortable...
hiding in a closed airport overnight was kind of fun though...
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