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Of swanky airports and travel portals
Elizabeth Thomas | March 27, 2007
Check out these ratings to find the best airports where you can spend that extra time in case of flight delays.
What is it?
Travel these days can be fraught with a lot of inconveniences. The worst of them being delayed flights and lost baggage. So what do you do with that "little extra time" you get stuck at the airport? You can do better than dig into the book you brought, says Virginia-based American Society of Travel Agents, which has come up with a survey of airports
Where is it best to be stuck?
The ASTA travel agents found that the best airports to be stuck in the US are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Both airports received an 8 per cent share of the responses.
As the world's busiest passenger airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson offers travellers more than 200 shopping and dining outlets and a 24,000-square foot executive conference centre. Orlando, meanwhile, provides travellers an upscale eatery for those with money to burn as well as time to kill.
With an abundance of technological services, including numerous self-service business centres and rapid-charge stations, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport came in third and Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, with its art gallery, aviation museum and gaming opportunities, ranked fourth.
Tied for fifth place (5.4 per cent) were Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with its free Wi-Fi and memorable white rocking chairs in which to while away the hours, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, which is home to a four-storey tall model of a Brachiosaurus. Need we say more?
What about other international airports?
Some airports offer as many diversions as a trip to the mall or local museum. On the international front, Amsterdam's Schiphol received the largest number of responses. How could it not with a wedding chapel, an array of "snooze" chairs and a casino? Even the restrooms are fun with scenery to make you feel that you are in the heart of Amsterdam.
London's BAA Heathrow Airport is a shopper's dream with personal shopping services as well as the shopping collection service (available only to those travelling within the European Union).
Tied for third were Frankfort and Singapore's airports. Travellers who find themselves delayed at Singapore's Changi Airport can take in a movie, play Xbox or, if the mood strikes, head for the nap lounge, while those at Frankfort Airport can take advantage of the on-site hairdresser, tailor or dry cleaners.
Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport offers a chance to track down and meet Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man upon which the movie, The Terminal, was based. Meanwhile, business travellers who find themselves with a lay-over at Hong Kong International Airport (4.5 per cent) can take advantage of its airport-wide, free Wi-Fi service.
No Indian airports?
Well, we have miles to go and we are caught sleeping even before the journey begins.
The Middle East-India sector is hot. And summer, the best season for airlines to announce new schedules, is round the corner. So UAE's national carrier, Etihad Airways, announced this week that it would expand its India operations. The airline will start flying between Abu Dhabi and Thiruvananthapuram by May-end and between Abu Dhabi and Kochi by June.
In June, Etihad will also increase its Abu Dhabi-Delhi service from thrice-a-week to daily. The Abu Dhabi and Thiruvananthapuram flight will start as a thrice-a-week service, while the Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight as a four-times-a-week service.
Etihad plans to increase both the services to daily flights by October. The airline plans to fly an Airbus A340-500 that can seat 240 passengers in three classes. So, happy flying!
If you've been a harrowed traveller looking for information on the Internet, this is something that you will surely appreciate. www.everything-about-tourism.com will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about travel agents, airlines, tour operators, accommodation, regional tourism offices, conference organisers, bus companies, taxis, hire cars, golf and snow holiday venues, national parks, farm stays, special industry offers, restaurants, almost anywhere in the world.
And if this is not enough, the website also caters to tourism related business by providing a database of travel organisations across the globe as well as their brands, services and products. These businesses can also list their business on the website at the cost of approximately $25 (Rs 1,092).
Now if you think that with a name like www.everything-about-tourism.com, the website owners as being a tad too ambitious, then go through the website and you'll not wish to dismiss them.
There are nearly 50 countries that you can select from, and innumerable categories (we lost count after 20) like hotels, resorts, restaurants, training schools, airlines and the like to choose from. And the best part is that the website doesn't stop at that. For each company there is a corresponding website address.
Be a click away
An efficient and quick search function, a specially designed page for every country, a separate section for frequent flyers, and a section that tells you everything about the airline. Well, that's ba.com's new look. With nearly two million people visiting its website every week, British Airways has spent some big bucks on revamping it.
What we like the most about the new look is that the website has been divided into clear sections that make navigation easy, if not a pleasure. There are four main sections like Flights and more, Manage my bookings, Information and Executive Club on the website.
And depending on what you want to do, that is book your ticket or find out about BA's baggage allowance, you can select the section.
Also, like most travel portals, ba.com now displays the price of your ticket a few days prior and after the date of travel chosen by you so that you can alter your itinerary if a cheaper ticket is available for some other day in the week.Another travel portal feature that the website's incorporated is that the inbound and outbound ticket prices are displayed on the same page.