What makes a good aiport?
I was researching some potential holiday destinations online a few days ago and I was provoked into writing this by discovering the World Airport Awards.
The World Airport Awards measure more than 38 aspects of passenger satisfaction for airport product and service standards - evaluating the airport experience and then awarding airports for a number of different categories. This got me thinking about my airport experiences to date and what factors would rank important to me depending on where and when I am travelling. In my short travelling life so far, I am lucky not to have endured any particularly horrific airport experiences. I don't count the odd flight delay or my luggage coming last as factors that may determine my use of the airport again however I think it is the smaller things that make a huge difference. Below is a list of the things I think contribute to making the airport experience a 'good' one.
1) Retail outlets - If we are going to experience delays, waiting around and lots of queuing, then evidently we are going to need occupying. Having a good selection of (affordable) shops, bars and eateries is a necessity to me, not only to entertain me whilst I wait to board the plane, but to stock up on any last minute holiday essentials I have forgotten. I do particularly like Gatwick airport for this.
2) Clear Signs - This is integral to any passenger experience. Nobody wants to be left panicking about where they have to be and not being able to get there due to lack of directive signs. In terms of signposting, it would also be a good if, when a flight was delayed you were given as much information as possible to save the stress of wondering what the current situation is. I do however, feel that this is something airports are working on and in the future I believe there will be some kind of technical system in place that will give passengers up to the minute airport information.
3) Good Transport Links - A quick and easy shuttle service from the airport car park, within a couple of miles from the motorway and easily accessible from the major UK train stations are all factors I consider when travelling to the airport. If I am travelling by car, I like to know that the carpark is secure, close to or on the airport site and clearly signalled so I can find my car on the way back! Take Cardiff airport parking for example, I parked onsite and walked straight to the terminal which was really convenient.
4) Customer Service - This should go without saying but I really think the staff represent the airport image. I understand that delays, masses amounts of holiday makers and agitated passengers can cause stress to airport staff but I think it makes a huge difference if staff are calm, friendly and informative and this attitude goes a long way.
Personally, I would rate Gatwick as my favourite UK airport. I have always had a good experience at Gatwick and find that at such a large airport, your every need is catered for. I have travelled to the airport by train, car and minibus and have found the services to be of high standard every time.