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Friday, October 27, 2006

Small airports

I love small airports. Small airports may not have the amenities of larger airports, and may require flying on tiny aircraft, but there are lots of reasons why I love them.

Someone recently asked me whether their 20 minute connection at a small airport was safe - would they make their onward flight? Would their checked bags make it? I said, and this may well come back to bite me, that not only is 20 minutes sufficient for easy connection but there is also enough time to visit the airline lounge should they wish to do so. Simple, no fuss connections - great.

Contrast this with larger airports. At some, depending on the airline(s) and terminal(s) involved, even a 2+ hour connection has a chance of passenger and/or their checked bags not making the onward flight. Los Angeles LAX and London Heathrow LHR spring to mind as banes for travellers like me who often cannot fly point to point.

Another reason I like small airports is that you can virtually guarantee that checked bags will arrive within minutes of landing, and a gate to exit time of 10 minutes would be considered unusually slow. Great for people in a hurry, like me.

Yet another reason is the staff (moreso in the really small airports with only 1 or a handful of commercial flights a day). In this age where corporate policies rein supreme it is refreshing to find helpful staff willing to bend the rules in the name of good old fashioned customer service. For example allowing check in for the flight less than 15 minutes before departure (since the aircraft hasn't yet arrived at the gate it is hardly going to delay the flight!). Great for those who sometimes run late, again like me.

With a much lower number of aircraft movements, small airports do not suffer the fate of larger airports (hubs especially) whereby delays compound into bigger delays. Great for people frustrated by delays, or who have tight schedules.

1 comment:

Jon Raio said...

Great article, I also prefer small airports to larger ones. I've found that it is much easier to make your connecting flights in smaller airports and find your gates in time.

Jon (Airplane Travel Tips)