sets one airport apart from the other? Is it world-class shopping,
efficient services, rejuvenation facilities or the need-of-the-hour
safety aspect. In the concluding part of this series, Charmaine
Fernz lounges through some of the world’s trendiest airports
Being a frequent flyer to the US, the Atlanta Hartsfield airport,
has always been a business link for me. William B Hartsfield International
Airport serves more than 79 million passengers a year and recently
wrested the title of worlds busiest airport from
Chicagos OHare International Airport. No question about
it, Atlanta is big and busy, but thanks to a US$ 250-million makeover
inspired by Atlantas spruce-up for the 1996 Centennial Olympic
Games, the facility is fairly easy to navigate and full of amenities.
Youll find that the airport consists of a Main Terminal and
six concourses. The concourses are all connected by an underground
people-mover transportation system. Without sounding cliched, Atlanta
is undoubtedly a rising star in the airport firmament. With every
visit, Atlanta comes across as big and getting bigger. Its
ideal for business travellers, as it moves people efficiently with
the help of one of the worlds largest airport rail systems.
I am not insinuating, that it is a hassle-free airport. At times,
its a heck of a long way to some departure gates and, apart
from electric buggies for older or infirm travellers, its
a case of walk and fly.
the Main Terminal atrium, you can sample regional cooking (biscuits,
barbecue etc) at Paschals Southern Cuisine, or opt for a more
mainstream menu of soups and sandwiches at the Atlanta Bread Company.
Or if youre in the mood for soothing music, try the piano
bar at Houlihans. Designed as an easily accessible central
point where people can meet, grab a bite to eat, shop or relax,
the atrium features a 100-seat lounge area, lots of interesting
stores, a full-service restaurant, a food court, a full-service
shoe repair shop (Heel Quik), and a Business Centre.
the Main Terminal atrium, shop for souvenirs of Atlantas best
known exports at the World of Coca-Cola Store, or pick up T-shirts,
key-chains, and other mementos of Atlanta at the City Store. Art
lovers will want to make tracks for Concourse E, where more than
US$ 1 million was spent on public art for the largest international
concourse in the United States. The collections centrepiece
is the 54-foot-tall, 2.5-tonne sculptured light installation titled
Ascension in the Millennium. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit
Authority (MARTA) subway station is located inside the airport terminal
and trains arrive at and depart from the airport every eight minutes.
a nutshell, the mammoth Atlanta Hartsfield airport is as cosmopolitan
as the United States of America.
the thought of travelling to London, makes me feel very English.
As we touched base at Heathrow, the feeling of been there,
done that emerged on entering the terminal. Handling over
60 million passengers each year, it is indeed one of the worlds
busiest international airports! With that sort of pressure, the
strain on facilities sometimes shows. Heathrow Airport has four
consecutively numbered terminals (a fifth is on the drawing boards)
serving more than 90 airlines. Youll find both sit-down and
fast food restaurants in each terminal, along with plenty of good
coffee shops and snack bars. For real meals in Terminal
1, saunter over to Garfunkels Restaurant; in Terminal 2, try
the pub food offered by the Shakespeare AleHouse and Wetherspoons.
The Food Village in Terminal 3 has a salad bar and a highly rated
Indian restaurant called Noon. Terminal 4 has a good selection of
a seat near any food court if you want to sit back and watch other
travellers rush by. Or head airside for the departure
lounges if youre looking for more comfortable seating, including
some areas that feature sleeper chairs for the extremely
weary. If a little pampering perks you up, visit the Beauty Centre
in Terminal 1, where several types of facials and manicures are
complimentary with the purchase of varying amounts of cosmetic and
body-care products. For more serious freshening-up, head for the
free shower facilities located in Terminals 1, 3 and 4.
can shop for everything from jams and jellies to fine jewellery
at Heathrow. And dont worry if one of the duty-free shops
you want to visit isnt in the terminal youll be using:
Heathrow has a free personal shopping service, with
escorts to take you between terminals so you can shop in whatever
store strikes your fancy. Before you pass through security, the
following shops will tempt you: Virgin Music Store (Terminal 1),
the Sock Shop (Terminal 2), Glorious Britain (Terminal 3), and the
Body Shop (Terminal 4). Post-security, youll find branches
of Harrods, the Caviar House, the Chocolate Box, and the World of
Whiskies in each terminal. Shopping at Heathrow certainly puts one
a step ahead. Many of your favourite brands are available exclusively
at the airport for a limited period, and many products are launched
by World Duty Free before they are available anywhere else in the
youve got two hours or more to spend touring, ask the folks
at the information desk for directions to the Heathrow Airport Visitor
Centre, which has a series of interactive exhibits covering the
airports past, present and future. Its a free 10-minute
bus ride from the main terminals, and an entertaining and educational
endeavour that includes a great view of one of the airports
three runways. Golfers rejoice! At the Golf Studio in Terminal 1
(past security) you can play virtual golf, enter the weekly competition
for the longest drive, or get a lesson from the on-duty golf professional.
is surely one of the worlds premier aviation hubs.
In Safe Hands
blue skies cleared, what outstretched below me was the mammoth new
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), set amidst vast landscapes
of palm trees. KLIA is, undoubtedly, one of the worlds largest
and most advanced airport, which is currently being upgraded to
suit every business travellers need. To my amazement, as we
proceeded, what stood before me was a well-designed airport, with
state-of-the-art facilities - the worlds tallest air traffic
control tower (130 meters high), the biggest columnless hangar,
the longest baggage conveyor belt system and a high-tech Olympex
flight information display system. It certainly couldnt get
my first visit, I was advised to take it easy, stroll along and
delight in this new-age airport. Passing through the Main Terminal
Building (MTB), we swiftly cleared all our formalities, and headed
for the Satellite Building, that caters solely to international
arrivals and departures.
an avid business traveller, airports are a part and parcel of my
travel. However, a subtle fear still persisted post 9/11, it was
then a colleague informed me that KLIA is the second airport in
the world, after Munich, to have a special chamber to defuse explosives
as part of its sophisticated fire-fighting systems. This certainly
put my cynicism to rest. Moving on I was introduced to a city
by itself as it is better-known amongst locals. The KLIA Duty
Free boasts the works. International fashion houses like Elizabeth
Arden, Calvin Klein and Gucci frequently organise shows of their
latest collections. So if you happen to coincide your visit with
any of these, dont miss an opportunity to revel in their designs.
But definitely take home a feel of Malaysia Truly Asia
by picking up some of the variety of traditional handicrafts on
Service check-in at London
in at the Pan Pacific Hotel, which is located within walking distance
from the airport terminal, I reminisced my brief stint at one of
the most innovative airport developments in recent times. KLIA is
fast matching up to the impeccable standards of efficiency set by
current leader Singapore Changi.
airport, Frankfurt Flugafen
my second trip to Frankfurt, the airport as usual stood vast and
humongous in the chilly morning in November, welcoming its national
carrier - Lufthansa and other airlines touching base. As I proceeded
to board my cosy Delta flight, reality struck once again as I made
my way through its huge alleys that connect one terminal to another.
(I simply detest walking those extensive distances between terminals).
After having checked in early, I had enough of time on hand to browse
through my favourite Duty Free. I could personally vouch that shopping
at Frankfurt Airport is a sheer delight; youll find that time
simply flies by. Dont miss out on a fabulous chance to stock
up liquor and cigarettes at extremely competitive prices. Next in
line is Frankfurt Airports international Shopping Centre,
which has everything from haute couture to business suits and fashion
for the young and restless.
a foodie at heart, I enjoyed exploring the assortment of gastronomic
delicacies on offer at the airport. Just try any one of Frankfurt
Airports cafes, gourmet restaurants and bars or even the supermarket
that has options galore. Be it international cuisine, Asian delicacies,
or typical Mediterranean food - it certainly got me in the mood
for my journey, so Im sure it would do the same for you. A
must visit are the Chinese and Steak joints.
Flugafen, surely stands firm in its position as one of Europes
premier aviation hubs. Despite lacking technological advancements
common with a number of recent airport developments, Frankfurt definitely
holds its own.
London Heathrow airport
a relaxing stopover at Changi airport, I was all set to touch base
at the Kingsford Smith International airport, Australias most
talked about international airport. From a birds view, this
881-hectare world-class aerodrome, is often referred to as the Gateway
to Australia. Perfectly so, as we touched base Down
Under, what unfolded before me were the 10 international gateways,
served by major international airlines as well as, the national
carrier, Qantas. Unfortunately, we Indians would certainly miss
this Aussie hospitality, with Qantas terminating India operations.
about every travellers sine qua non- Duty Free
- there is a gamut of options available. Duty Free Express, which
boasts a fly-buy experience, has from liquor to fragrances, wine,
confectionery et al. One will certainly find only the top selling
items, so you are in and out of the store and on to your plane in
stopped by to take a quick bite, at one of the numerous cafes and
restaurants - Astro Cafe, Bistro Bistro, Blue Sky Cafe, Bok Choy,
Bondi Walk Cafe, Cafe Addio, Doctor Juice - the list is endless.
The efficient transport facilities between terminals was a delight.
Trains run every 10 minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak
hours. Qantas, Ansett and Green and Gold Airport Express buses operate
frequent services between the terminals. This airport is definitely
a cut above the rest as it endeavours to suit every business travellers
airports vie to meet the business travellers discerning needs,
we can inevitably look forward to even more innovations in the near
future - be it shopping, dining, entertainment, relaxation, technology,
business facilities... a city by itself.
Seouls new state-of-the-art US$ 5 billion international
airport is breathtaking in its sheer scale - the terminal
is only second to Hong Kongs in size. Koreas
massive new gateway is further from Seoul than the old
Kimpo International and takes more time to exit. But
the building is new, comfortable, and there are more
runways and frequencies. According to the airports
management, it takes 30 minutes for a full Boeing 747
to be emptied and processed. The artificial island created
for the new complex is enormous - taxiways, runways,
cargo warehouse and empty fields stretch across the
horizon. The airport is passenger-friendly and has a
90-room transit hotel, 51 Internet kiosks, child and
baby-care centres, four transit lounges, five smoking
lounges, 18 information booths, 43 catering outlets,
17 bureaux de change, 42 retail outlets, three business
centres and three pharmacies, plus showers, business
rooms and couple of hair stylists. There are also extensive
leisure facilities including fitness centres, a bowling
alley, games rooms and video theatres.
An executive conference centre on the third floor
of the main terminal atrium has meeting rooms, workstations,
fax and copying services.
Best bet for a carry-on-meal: Pascals Southern
cuisine will pack up everything from biscuits to barbecue.
Best sinful snack: Candy from Pecan Street Sweets,
on Concourse C.
The MARTA subway station, located inside the airport
terminal, provides convenient transportation options.
Best healthful nosh: Salads from La Brioche Dorée
(past security in Terminal 1 and before security in
Best sinful snack: Fish and chips from Harry Ramsdens
in Terminals 1 and 3 (before security).
Play virtual reality golf at the Golf Studio in Terminal
Heathrow has a free personal shopping service,
with escorts to take you between terminals so you
can shop in whatever store strikes your fancy.
Alcohol and cigarettes are the best buys here.
A must visit are the Chinese and Steak joints for
a sumptuous meal.
Smith International Airport, Sydney
For a quick buy, passengers visiting the airport can
save time and money purchasing the duty free shopping
via the phone. Dial 1 800 807 127 F to place your
order and collect your goods at the airport, as you
arrive and depart Australia.