17 November 2014

Airport Annoyance: the Small – Big Airport Paradox

Since I moved from Romania to The Netherlands I traveled several times between the two countries. Some trips were by car while the majority were by airplane.

The airport in Amsterdam (Schiphol actually) is BIG. Really big.
The airport in Bucharest (Otopeni actually) is rather small. Not tiny, but rather small.

Even when things go smoothly, there are two very annoying moments associated with air-travel. The first is the security check which, although I deeply dislike, I accept it as a necessity. After all, we all enjoy safe flights (at least in the EU).

The second annoying moment is the waiting at the luggage belt. After sitting in a small and usually uncomfortable (at least for me) chair for several hours and after traveling thousands of kilometers I feel that the wait for the luggage is an unnecessary delay.

Both small and big airports have their advantages and disadvantages. Small airports have the advantage of relatively little time needed in order to get to the airplane. In large airports one might need to walk for half an hour to get to the gate. God forbid for a Gate Change.
That’s at the departure airport.

At the arrival airport things are a bit different. If the airport is big, a traveler would still need to walk quite a lot to get out. If the airport is small the traveler needs to walk quite little.

But here’s the thing.

The waiting time at the luggage belt is different in small and big airports. Surprisingly or not, the waiting time is shorter at larger airports than it is at smaller ones.

From the airplane to the luggage hall people travel on foot while bags travel by (sort of) car. At a small airport people get to the baggage belt much faster than do bags. Hence the higher waiting time and subsequent higher level of annoyance.

At a large airport people need to walk for quite a lot and by the time they get to the luggage belt, the bags are almost there, hence the waiting time in the baggage hall is short(er).

This could be solved relatively easily. Either make the route people have to walk longer or make the waiting time more pleasant or useful.

Happy travel!

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