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Luton - 3rd World Airport

Old 15th Sep 2009, 17:45
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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MidmarMile - Vilanculos is not the average Mozambican airport. You might find that departures at Maputo during a busy time rather different in atmosphere
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Old 15th Sep 2009, 17:47
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Nice story MidmarMile,

I am afraid we will never experience such delights in the UK however I guess we need to aways remember the number of flights and people around the terminal buildings.....jealous about the prawns though - McDonalds or whatever rule the roost at UK airports!

Well off topic!

Nivsy

Last edited by nivsy; 15th Sep 2009 at 18:13.
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 00:26
  #23 (permalink)  
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Firstly - I agree that LTN is now a poor experience but, because it is my local, I use it in preference to STN or LGW due to further travelling times to them and they are no better, of course!

Two weeks ago I left JNB (a 2nd World country, I suggest ) I had checked in on line for my BA back home to LHR but the system had not been able to print a BC and it told me to do so at the airport.

Approaching a bank of three auto check in machines - which served several carriers!!!! - I was greeted by two smiling members of staff who were there to help. Yes, that is HELP all pax, irrespective of carrier, provided by the airport.

The woman who took my enquiry asked me which carrier I was on and then immediately set that up on the touch screen and then asked for the flight number. As it happened, I had got the print out in my hand was ready with the locator as that was what I was expecting to put in. So she quickly changed the screen input to accept that. When she saw that I knew my way around, she left me to it - with a smile - whilst turning to another pax.

If that was not enough ... on approaching the slow bag drop area, the queue passes a staffer who checks your self issued BC and your passport and tells you if you are in the correct line, redirecting where needed.

Let's recap ... the airport provides extra members of staff to help those pax that are not sure of what to do and where to go. They have them at strategic points and they are polite and helpful. I wonder if that has any positive result in the way that pax are fed to the check in agents? I wonder if pax feel calmer and as if the airport really wants them to be there?

I won't ask LTN take note because it's already waaay too late. LTN has miles of corridors but no travelators. Some gates are a walk around three sides of a square taking 15 mins to walk - because they chose not to build a bridge across the one side of the square. All to save money and so reduce the customer experience for the times that you can save money and improve matters are VERY few.

The UK airports went down the route of using automation to save money and care not what the pax thinks (yes, we all know that they pretend to care!) and they design their terminals for the shops not the customers. Same old, same old.
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Old 16th Sep 2009, 19:08
  #24 (permalink)  
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Flying Frisbee

Think about it carefully and you will see that I picked my words carefully.
 
Old 16th Sep 2009, 21:01
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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PAXboy - it is a little unfair to compare Johannesburg with Luton. One is the primary airport for not just a country of 49 million people, but in practice an entire region of Africa - flights from Europe to places like Botswana are not common. As such it will tend to attract the premium traffic, and thus not only will its airline customers be prepared to pay more, but so will the passengers.

Luton on the other hand has Heathrow and Gatwick way ahead in the pecking order, with City picking up the high-end business traffic. For many years, Luton lived off holiday charters to Spain. Yes, there is a bit of private aviation but this tends to have minimal involvement with the main terminal. The people for whom the terminal was built are the great unwashed who are generally looking for value for money rather than a plush experience. This means that revenue per passenger will be lower, and Luton has to manage its affairs commensurately.

Building bridges between areas of a terminal and installing + maintaining lots of travelators doesn't come cheap !
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 06:18
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Yesterday 21:08 Final 3 Greens
Flying Frisbee
Think about it carefully and you will see that I picked my words carefully.
Have done.
Still don't agree with your statement that that the UK is sliding from being aligned with the West to being aligned with the Warsaw Pact.
Like I said earlier, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Worlds do not refer to some kind of ranking.
From Wiki
French economist and demographer Alfred Sauvy, in an article published in the French magazine L'Observateur, August 14, 1952, coined the term Third World, referring to countries particularly in the Middle East, South Asia, Central and South America, Africa, and Oceania, that were unaligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or the Capitalist NATO bloc during the Cold War. His usage was a reference to the Third Estate, the commoners of France who, before and during the French Revolution, opposed priests and nobles who composed the First Estate and Second Estate. Sauvy wrote, "Like the third estate, the Third World has nothing, and wants to be something," He conveyed the concept of political non-alignment with either the capitalist or communist bloc.
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 19:50
  #27 (permalink)  
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As the Warsaw Pact no longer exists, it is obvious that the UK cannot align with it.

However, I did travel in some of the Warsaw Pact signatory countries and the way they managed their airline pax was pretty adjacent to Capot's description of his experience.
 
Old 18th Sep 2009, 22:53
  #28 (permalink)  
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davidjohnson6 That is fair comment and I take your point. I wound two things together. Leaving out the extra staff then ...

I have used LTN as my local airport for 25 years and loved it. From my first trip through the new terminal - I hated it. I could see all the places they saved money - the lack of roads is but one of the most obvious. Having a single lane road in and a single lane out - that go through the same bottleneck? Someone did not want to invest. Yes - I've read all the arguments about who owns it and the leasing and the wot not - but no one has done the right thing by the airport. No one.

I use it because it is closer than any other but I no longer like it and consider it a chore, in the same way that STN and LGW are.
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Old 19th Sep 2009, 19:00
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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I used Luton today, for the first time in several years, and my experience was quite different to that of the contributor who started this thread. I found it spacious, clean, efficient and (almost) a pleasure to use.

Even at 5.30am, all the shops and food outlets were open and fully-stocked, with sufficient staff to deal with the number of customers wishing to use them (which is more than I can say about the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras, for example), and everyone we dealt with was courteous and efficient. Almost every security channel was open and there were no more than half a dozen people queuing at each one - I've frequently waited longer at security at London City than we did at Luton today. On the way back this evening, all the immigration desks were manned and we were through in under 30 seconds.

Luton is clearly a low-cost airport, with some fairly basic construction and fixtures, and additional charges levied for everything from dropping-off passengers to plastic bags for your liquids to fast-track security. But it is very far indeed from being a "third world" airport.
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Old 26th Sep 2009, 09:41
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I love Luton airport, you just have to know what to expect; bring your own plastic bags, have luggage with it's own wheels so you don't need their trolleys, park down the road at the super cheap British Rail parkway car park and get the 1 door to door bus etc.

"UK BORDER FORCE" are quite capable of making us wait an hour in a stupid queue at any airport, not just Luton. I do like all the posters they've got at Luton now though claiming the delays are for our own security
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Old 26th Sep 2009, 12:53
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Originally Posted by derekvader
I love Luton airport, you just have to know what to expect; bring your own plastic bags, have luggage with it's own wheels so you don't need their trolleys, park down the road at the super cheap British Rail parkway car park and get the 1 door to door bus etc.
I think loving Luton airport is taking it a little far: it's a bit like saying you love a multi-storey car park.

By the way, last week when I used it, the shuttle bus from Luton Parkway railway station to the airport was free.
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 07:09
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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By the way, last week when I used it, the shuttle bus from Luton Parkway railway station to the airport was free.
I think the shuttle bus cost is supposed to be included in rail tickets, but if you've just pitched up at the car park and are not using a train, you're supposed to buy a 1 ticket from the machines (or when I was there a few weeks ago, they had humans collecting the 1s).
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 12:56
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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LTN is a 3rd world airport in a 3rd world town. If you don't believe me go and have a look, just drive around and you'll see.
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 20:50
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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LTN is a 3rd world airport in a 3rd world town. If you don't believe me go and have a look, just drive around and you'll see.
What a ridiculous remark.

Luton may be a rather ordinary little place, and no-one would ever claim it's attractive, but to call it "third world" is nonsense.
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Old 3rd Nov 2009, 23:17
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I have had cause to complain about Luton security once before but a recent incident takes the prize.

By coincidence, friends of ours, who are quiet, refined, and far from being troublemakers, were in an adjacent check in queue for the same flight (the Orange airline) as ourselves. Their check in agent rudely told them that their cabin bag looked too big and asked them to fit in into the rack. It was fractionally too big and they removed an item from it. Our check in agent did not even look at our cabin bags, so there is no consistency here, just a total lack of professionalism, or simply nastiness on the part of the other check in agent.

End of story? You'd think so, but no.

A few minutes later we were all standing chatting on the other side of the check in area, nowhere near the desks, and the (nasty) agent came over to us and demanded our names and addresses. When I asked why, she said : "Because we we have seen you talking to these people", rudely pointing at the other couple. I asked her since when was that a problem and why it gave her the right to ask for our details. "I'm not having people swapping luggage over so that they don't have to pay for it" was the answer. I told her that under no circumstances was she getting our names (particularly as one of the party was not even travelling) to which she replied that if I got 'gobby' she'd call the security. I told her to do so, even to call the police if she wished. I was not rude or abusive, but I was undoubtedly obnoxious and sarcastic, which under the circumstances was probably justified.

A security supervisor was called after we were tracked, presumably on CCTV, to another area of the airport. He refused to speak or listen to me and took the other couple aside and apologised to them for the airline's bad handling of the incident. He wished to tell them, but not in front of me, that they had not been 'picked on' because they were not 'white'.

Britain moves closer every day to being a totally repressive police state, with petty officials who have no manners and no training in dealing with the public, exceeding their powers and being backed up by the authorities. Madness. Of course, it's not unique to Luton.

Last edited by Capetonian; 3rd Nov 2009 at 23:50.
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