In 2015 I spent a lot of time in airports. I shared my thoughts on those trips with you in a series of posts. I managed to get through 2016 with my feet firmly planted on the ground, but it looks like I’ll be collecting a few frequent flyer points this year. I think I was in seven airports in February, waiting for a plane. There’s not much else to do in airports except read or write, so I jotted down my thoughts as I traveled. Once we finish my airport reflections I have some travel posts about what I saw.
The first thing I noticed was that the duty-free alcohol was actually cheaper than at home. That usually isn’t the case in duty-free stores.
I didn’t buy any though. Just because something is a good price doesn’t mean I need it. The chocolate seemed reasonable priced too, but we were running late, so I just noted prices as we walked by. Swiss chocolate anyway, it should be cheaper when we are in Switzerland.
That running late stopped me from really assessing Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. Traveling with others means that my ideas of when we should leave for the flight are sometimes overruled. Those with a later flight didn’t want to be waiting any longer than necessary, so there isn’t much time for me to investigate the place.
Even though I’m not a big fan of airports I like to get there early. I have this sense of anticipation, hours before I need to leave. I figure might as well get to the airport and relax. Not everyone shares those sentiments.
I’d buy a cold drink for the few minutes while we wait for the flight to be called, but there don’t seem to be any cold drinks here, proof that Sweden really is Europe. The soft drinks are in coolers, but I touched a bottle out of curiosity. Didn’t seem any different from room temperature. If I am going to pay inflated airport prices for a drink, I want it to at least be cold. Which means I won’t be drinking at European airports – the whole continent seems to think soft drinks should be served lukewarm. Maybe it’s the high electricity prices – stores don’t want to pay the cost of chilling the drinks. At least you can find cool milk now – forty years ago it was all warm.
There are five terminals at Arlanda. I know that not only because we are leaving from Terminal 5, but when we arrived we had to pick up our rental car here. It was a long walk from Terminal 1 or 2. I’m not quite sure where we started, I just know it seemed to take about half an hour to get across the airport.
I don’t see anything exceptional here. Just another airport terminal. I can see Starbucks from my seat at the gate. There seems to be one in most airports these days, I wonder if you can get a franchise that would cover all the airports in the world. Huge logistical problems, but a captive audience. Become an airport specialist. Starbucks doesn’t draw me since I don’t care for hot drinks.
From my seat I can also see the closest washrooms to the gate, which present an interesting study in human behaviour. Three washrooms, men, women, handicapped (which also has the diaper change symbol). There’s a lineup for the men’s. There’s no-one in the handicapped. And a couple of minutes ago I saw a male enter the female washroom.
After all, these are individual units. There is no need to have the male/female labels. Some people have figured that out, others haven’t. Or they are rule followers who don’t have to go that badly.
I just watched a guy clue in to the fact the handicapped washroom was empty. A younger man had walked past him and used it.
One nice feature is workstations for those who want to plug in. In some airports it is difficult to find a place to plug in your computer or charge your phone. There seem to be lots of places here.
They are calling my flight.