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Posts from the ‘London airports’ Category

Impressive #PaxEx at airports? Yes, it’s possible!

April 10th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Jaunted’s Cynthia Drescher paid a recent visit to London City Airport, and showed us just how it is very possible to have a pleasant airport experience:

We just flew through London-City for the first time and came out of the experience a little more hopeful for the future of air travel. It’s true they have some freedom to experiment because the airport is tiny, the passengers are mostly frequent flying professionals, and the flights are mostly limited to Europe, but that’s all the more reason to detour away from the mega airports to try City’s particularly civilized “boutique” airport experience.

Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any reason why airports have to be so emotionally- and mentally-challenging to experience and manoeuvre. It is true that we’re living in a world of heightened security, especially where air travel is concerned.

Granted that London City is the smallest of the London-based airports, which gives them the distinct advantage of easily incorporate changes to approved processes for the purposes of improving efficiency and (possibly, even) economy. Yet, this is no excuse for the larger-sized airports to remain complacent with the true needs and wants of their customers (or passengers).

London Heathrow Airport may be the biggest and has (virtually) all of the major international airlines serving it. But I would try to avoid this airport whenever it is physically possible, and willing to enter Europe through another city — say, Frankfurt or Paris. Why should I, a paying passenger, have to put up with the ignorance of an airport operator which deems their customers’ expectations as irrelevant?

Helsinki Airport is one good example of a larger-sized (or international) airport that have implemented various measures to improve passenger experience. Some of these include the improved security checkpoints, reduced times for transiting passengers, and a very-usable free Wi-Fi offering throughout the terminal (on both air- and land-side).

With the availability of greater airport and airline options, consumers are beginning to realise and understand the concept of greater choice come air travel. However, it’s still a complicated mess that needs some practice before the art of airport bingo becomes second-nature (for example, frequent flyers).

Shame on you, airports-that-couldn’t-care-less-about-our-personal-experiences!

Hong Kong Airlines: clearly in trouble

August 15th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Gulliver from The Economist, on what Hong Kong Airlines (HX) has become to date:

“What has changed in half a year? The press statement referred to “the continuing weak economic outlook in Europe, combined with the strength of the regional business within Asia”. And Yang Jianhong, the company’s president, attributed the move to a change of strategy. “We believe that a regional model focused on Asia Pacific is most appropriate for Hong Kong Airlines at this stage of our growth,” he said.”

Another great summary of the situation at HX, an airline that seemingly houses an inadequete management team.

Buy your Heathrow Express tickets on-the-go!

August 7th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

A recent tweet by @HeathrowExpress:

“Purchase your tickets on the go with our smartphone app for Android, Blackberry or iPhone. Find out more here: http://ow.ly/cz5nW”

One more plus for taking a service that has a proven track record (no pun intended) for effortless, on-time performance.

Tickets purchased via the app are displayed as a 2D bar code on-screen, when required. Simply flash that to the on-board staff to scan and verify. Too easy!

Of the many direct-to-airport public transport services, this is probably the only one which offers a pre-purchase option. It’s the peace-of-mind, in knowing that a ticket can be purchased virtually any time, that matters. I hate having to fumble around, with both luggage and time not being on my side, and queue up to get a ticket!

Visit the related Heathrow Express page for more information and the respective links to download the app.

(Oh, and did you know that the Heathrow Express has saved 204 million kilograms of carbon emissions since it launched in 1988?)

Getting to the London Olympics? Start queuing!

May 24th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Folks who have visited London Heathrow (LHR) recently, especially if you’re not holding a British or EU passport, may have been put to the ultimate torture test of waiting to get your passport chopped — that is, the wait to clear immigration upon arriving into LHR on an international flight.

Get to know thy neighbour…?
(source: Daily Mail)

An article from the Daily Mail on Wednesday updates us with the latest, and starts off by saying…

“The chance of airport security queues of up to four hours cannot be ruled out during the London Olympics, the director general of the UK Border Force has said.”

Encouraging.

“Brian Moore said he was satisfied that planned staffing levels were adequate to deal with the expected surge of arrivals, but said he could not guarantee there would be no delays.

‘I do not anticipate seeing large queues of two, three and four hours because of the work we are doing to move our resources,’ he told MPs yesterday when pressed about recent problems.”

Love the political talk, Brian.

And, of course, there is that disclaimer statement…

“’However there will always be circumstances beyond our control.’”

So who is this Brian Moore?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of the UK Border Force:

I don’t know about you, but whatever “plans” these UK Border Force folks have on improving the current conditions are clearly not showing.

On the other hand, passengers only need to experience the outrage, and not a written statement in hopes of explaining, to be made aware of a very dire situation, which will (and can) only get far worse.

Can’t wait to hear about those (horror) stories…

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