claiming to be a ‘destination by itself’, they are fast becoming
the first fancy of travellers exploring a city. In a first of this
two-part series, Poonam Rathore flies through some trendy
A Millennium Millionaire
it a plane?, I asked the air-hostess as we circled the airport
awaiting landing signals. She politely replied, No maam,
its a building. But Im sure like me, many of you
would be mistaken because Dubais new terminal is so streamlined,
you can almost imagine it taking off. The new concourse - with an
unusual tube-like shape - has been designed to fit a space occupied
by a former runaway. Taking the subterranean moving walkway to its
architecturally striking new concourse, I realised that this was
yet another eclectic Dubai landmark. And - cheers all around - as
they have kept it on the site of the old airport, conveniently close
to business and hotels - rather than relocate elsewhere. Though
impressive on the way in, its on the way out that Dubais
showpiece is appreciated.
longer congested as before, after a smooth check-in and swift immigration,
I headed right to the moving walkway to emerge in what appears to
be a shopping mall. This is Dubai Duty Frees new 5,400 square
metre state-of-the-art shopping complex. Boutique-styled outlets
are set as islands down a central boulevard dominated by an 18 metre
metallic millennium tree incorporating hundreds of fibre
optics to produce colourful visual effects. These shops stock everything
under the sun right from alcohol, perfumes, tobacco to designer
wear and electronics; you name it - you have it - that too at amazing
bargains. Though the most alluring deal used to be the widely advertised
car draws, however with time, I guess, these car draws have taken
a back seat, to the recent innovative Dubai Duty Free Millennium
Millionaire promotion. This exciting promotion offers travellers
the chance to win US$ 1 million off the purchase of a 1,000 dirhams
(US$ 278) ticket in a limited 5,000 ticket series. Srike it lucky!
system of display monitors keeps
passengers abreast with the latest flight information
at Hong Kong International airport
far away is the food hall with an option of 25 food and drink outlets
within the concourse. From fast food to speciality cuisine to an
Irish pub, you will certainly be spoilt for choice. The Irish pub
is an appealing base if you dont have access to an airline
lounge. Head for the rear table overlooking the runway activity,
the view is amazing. The same level also houses the bright and extremely
spacious airline lounges.
a nutshell, the new Sheikh Rashid Terminal definitely scores over
the rest in efficiency and comfort, significantly smoothening travel
to the commercial heart of UAE and many points linked to it.
facilities for Privium members at Amsterdam Schiphol
In And Out
more knuckle-whitening flights into the old Kai-Tak airport. After
its initial teething problems, Hong Kongs new airport at Chek
Lap Kok, designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster (who also
designed London Stansted Airport), has settled down to become one
of the regions leading aviation hubs. It was amazing to note
that, the terminal building is the largest covered space in the
world, with the ultra-modern, world-class facility built at a cost
of US$ 20 billion and stretching across 24 miles.
from a long flight, the impressive glass facade, automatic walkers
and proficient functioning immediately caught my fancy. Clearing
immigration in a record 15 minutes, my baggage was delivered within
20 minutes of arrival, as promised. Baggage handling is, inevitably,
second to none. Making my way to the glass tube of the Mass Transit
Railways Airport Express Line, I sat down and began to fiddle,
like most passengers, with the seat-back videoscreens revealing
mind-blowing statistics. After 25 minutes and several opening and
closing of automatic doors, I arrived into Hong Kongs central
district. The airport, undoubtedly, scores as far as efficient transport
options go. Not only can you catch a train to the airport, but also
- at least when flying with certain airlines - check in your flight
pool at Singapore Changi
in most respects, Chek Lap Kok represents a quantum improvement
to its overcrowded predecessor Kai-Tak, however, catering is not
one of them. To pen just one of its drawbacks, majority of its restaurants
have been plucked out of its old location and clumsily plonked down
in the new one. The airports passenger terminal is nearly
a mile long and boasts a shopping mall with 140 restaurants and
retail shops, including Harrods and Gucci.
for tobacco and liquor products, which are duty-free, prices are
roughly similar to downtown, where there is no sales tax. Bored
of shopping, try the Plaza Premium Lounge and its beauty salon.
Plane spotting was a unique pastime with enthusiasts at the old
international airport, and now it is catching on at Chek Lap Kok.
But with a difference. You will notice a small hill next to the
airports entrance corridor. This remnant of the original island
has been left in its natural state and from the top one commands
a splendid panoramic view of the South Runway. Truly, a breathtaking
lounge at Sheikh Rashid Terminal,
Dubai International Airport
touchdown, I could safely vouch for the fact that there are few
airport developments in the world to match those in Hong Kong, and
they are just getting better with time. Not without reason then
is Chek Lap Kok described as Hong Kongs Airport for the millennium.
those of us who spend much of our lives checking in and out of an
airport, arriving into Changi is sheer pleasure after a long and
tiring flight. More importantly, Changi Airport does what an airport
should be doing best - providing speedy and hassle-free clearance.
On a recent trip to Singapore, it took me less than 30 minutes to
clear immigration, claim my baggage and go through customs procedures.
As I browsed around the airport, I discovered that duty-free shopping
at Changi is way ahead of competition. Humongous is not the word,
with over 100 shops in both terminals offering the widest range
of quality products at value for money prices, there was never a
dull moment. You could enjoy the lowest prices in Asia-Pacific for
all perfumes and cosmetic products. If you have a fascination for
cars like me, a visit to Asia-Pacifics first Mercedes-Benz
boutique is a must.
Hong Kong International airport abundant
natural light in a spacious setting
youre looking for liquor and tobacco products, duty free is
your best bet as you can enjoy savings of up to 60 per cent off
city prices. If shopping aint your cup of tea, rest and relax
at the rooftop swimming pool in Terminal 1. But remember to pack
your swimming gear in the hand carry luggage and bask in the sun.
For the marine lovers, you can also relax at the sight of carps
swimming in the koi pond at the Orchid Garden (I can simply go on
admiring the amazing marine life for hours on end).
to be missed is the first and only gameshow in an airport - Whats
our Range. To participate, simply spend any amount (minimum
S$ 50) in the retail or dining outlets in the departure/transit
lounges, and you can pit your general knowledge against other passengers
in a live-quiz gameshow, with shopping vouchers worth
a total of over S$ 13,000 to be won each day.
at Singapore Changi
no other airport offers an exciting combination of user-friendliness,
sheer efficiency and convenience to downtown than Changi.
my flight was about to land at Schiphol, my Dutch co-passenger exclaimed,
Once, Amsterdam Schiphol was just an ordinary place for starting
or ending a trip. But now, its a real airport city,
where travellers can pretty much do anything! Host-hype, I
thought? Not really, for my experience of Schiphol was indeed far
more than an airport. As I picked up a miniguide from the information
desk, it claimed boldly that this was Netherlands newest city. That
may be slightly overstating the case, but there is no doubt that
Schiphol - sorry, Airport City - caters to an audience wider than
the humble traveller. Among Schiphols advantages is that it
is self-contained, with no terminal-hopping that sometimes causes
minor panic in transit passengers or even confuses unwary first
Plaza at Amsterdam Schiphol
my amazement, Schiphol boasts a casino, a supermarket thats
open every day from 6 am until midnight, top-drawer artwork, the
cheapest duty-free in Europe (I could vouch for that), and a kids
play area with (free!) Nintendo games. What Im about to disclose
may come as a shock, but an entrepreneur from Amsterdams infamous
red-light district actually applied for a license to open a relax
club (read between the lines) here, however even the liberal
Dutch turned it down.
I oriented myself with the airport, I discovered that everything
emanated from the massive Schiphol Plaza, the airports central
hall, which boasts 40 shops or more that is sure to make a hole
in your pocket. Though its selection of outlets is limited, the
range of food served is better than a lot of airports. The Touchdown
self-service restaurant can get crowded, but its popularity reflects
the variety of food offered. Do you want to get rid of the weariness
of jet lag by doing something exciting? The Schiphol casino is an
excellent place to do that. Gaming options include roulette, blackjack
and slot machines.
up with time (or should I say technology), the new introduction
at the airport is the automatic border passage using iris recognition.
Frequent travellers can enjoy priority parking right next to the
terminal and priority check-in facilities with the nine participating
airlines. The passenger can cross the border (go through immigration)
in 10-15 seconds without having to queue.
I was excited, all I could reiterate is that Schiphol is sure racing
to become Netherlands newest city.
this part of the series, it could well be inferred that airports
have definitely evolved over a period of time. From being just a
landing zone to now a destination by itself; be it shopping,
accommodation or even a game of roulette, you name it, and you have
it. I guess, thats what one calls traversing time zones.
Lap Kok Hong kong
With the new automatic border passage using iris recognition, you
can cross the border (go through immigration) in 10-15 seconds without
having to queue.
Do you want to get rid of the weariness of jet lag? The Schiphol
casino is an excellent place to do that.
The Panorama Terrace provides the best viewing terrace for aircraft
enthusiasts at any major European hub airport.
Best healthful nosh: Sandwiches from Sandwich Island on the upper
level of the West Lounge area.
Best sinful snack: Chocolate, from any of the shops aptly named
Free Singapore Tour: Passengers with five hours to spare before
the next connecting flight can register for a free two to three
hour sightseeing tour to the city centre, Raffles Landing site
and a 20-minute boat ride on the Singapore River area.
Grab the ever-favourite Baileys Irish Cream now and you
will save up to 35 per cent off Heathrow prices. Liquor is the
cheapest at Changi.
If shopping aint your cup of tea, rest and relax at the
rooftop swimming pool in Terminal 1.
But not to be missed is the first and only gameshow in an airport
- Whats Your Range.
You can also relax at the sight of carps swimming in the koi pond
at the Orchid Garden
Health screening packages are also available to passengers at
the medical centre.
Kong International Airport
The free airport shuttle service transports passengers between
all major hotels and Hong Kong or Kowloon Station. Free In-town
Check-in and porter services are available at Hong Kong and Kowloon
Except for duty-free tobacco and liquor products, prices are roughly
similar to downtown, where there is no sales tax.
When shopping, browsing, eating and relaxing lose their appeal,
try the Plaza Premium Lounge and its associated hairdressing/beauty
Free bonanza at Dubai International Airport
The cheapest duty free in the world: from alcohol to electronics,
you have it all.
Dont miss a chance to participate in Dubai Duty Frees
widely advertised car draws, especially the Dubai Duty Free Millennium