Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The trouble with terminals.

I was watching a news video a while back about travellers who were willing to go from the Ottawa area to Ogdensburg, New York in order to fly to Boston. 

At first glance that seems like a bit of an out of the way journey.    “Flightnetwork”  has a "deal"  from Ottawa to Boston and return for $781. 

Such a deal!  (not)  whereas that annoying guy on Priceline,  can get you from Ogdensburg to Boston and back for $209.   Whether that’s Canadian or US funds,  it doesn’t really matter.   That’s a huge difference.   There are tax issues,  airport fees,  whatever.   Oh,  and the cost to park at the Ogdensburg airport?   Nothing.

But it’s not just about the savings,  although that would be my incentive.  Ogdensburg has a tiny little airport,  and the video showed passengers strolling a few metres out to their waiting plane after going through security.  Security is going to be the same (or almost) at all airports,  it’s what happens afterwards that puts that whole “airport experience” into a certain light.  Favourable or otherwise.

Mind you,  the planes are tiny as well,  but that’s not something that would bother me.  Can’t speak for others.

No regional airports for the folks in Europe I’m afraid.


So what about something at the other extreme?  Well,  there’s Heathrow,  just outside of London.  Five terminals.  Five!  Good luck with that connecting flight!    There’s only two terminals in Barcelona,  but they’re at opposite sides of the airport,  and it’s a SEVEN kilometre drive to get from one to the other.     There is a shuttle scheme of some sort,  but we were there in a car at the time,  and I was about to drop off Travelling Companion and one of her associates at the wrong terminal.   Good thing I asked how far it was.  That would have been really bad.


Here in Vienna,  the monkeys have been hard at it,  and have added on to what used to be a facility that was fairly easy to negotiate.  Not anymore.

We knew ahead of time that our flight would be leaving from the new terminal three,  and I pointed that out to our cab driver.  No issues so far.


But here’s something of note.   In the photo above,  which I took as we were underway to our gate Friday afternoon,  you’ll see that there’s no moving sidewalk coming back the other way?   Right.  That will come into play later.


Naturally,  in spite of trying to get off the ground ahead of an approaching storm,  by the time we got to Munich, our flight still managed to be late. 


I could see lightening off in the distance to the east as we were heading out of Vienna.  I thought it best to keep that to myself.


Travelling Companion has gone through Munich enough times on her way to Birmingham to already know that there’s a bit of a challenge,  time wise, to get from where you arrive,  and gate H41 where they’re probably already boarding.   You go from one terminal to another of course,  with most of the journey on the big bus.

We only had an hour between flights to start with,  so it was nice to see a representative from Lufthansa standing there with a sign for Birmingham.  So then we went “en masse”  to our next flight.  Nice of them to wait.   The plane would have been half empty had they not.   There were no pictures of course,  since stopping to snap a picture here and there was NOT a priority.


And really,  this is the only stressful part.  I already know where I’m going once we get to the final destination.  We just have to get there is all.  Sometimes T.C. worries about checked luggage between connecting flights,  but I simply point out that it takes less time for them to unload the luggage,  drive it straight to the next plane and reload it than it takes us to ride around (standing up of course) on a bus,  or traipse THROUGH the whole airport looking for the next gate.   I somehow think they’re counting on that.   Just like the long walk you have to take after you get off before getting to the luggage belt.  Only in Toronto do you STILL have to wait another 15 to 20 minutes for your luggage to show up.   What they’re doing back there,  I have no idea.   I mean,  do they unload the luggage and then take a 15 minute break?  Sorry.  Toronto is not one of my favourites.  Can you tell?

Here in Vienna at least,  your luggage is almost there to greet you when you show up.  Almost.

But that’s really the only “good news” when it comes to the new terminal arrangement in Vienna. 


When we arrived Sunday night,  after once again racing through Munich airport,  only to discover that we could have slowed down a bit since our second plane over to Wienerland was behind,  we then realised that it would be a long walk to the cab service that I had reserved.  

I’ve done this a couple times in the “pre-new terminal” days with relative success.   One of the companies mostly has nice cars and will have a driver there to meet you as you come out past the point of no return.   That didn’t happen Sunday night.  Admittedly we were late,  but that shouldn’t have mattered,  since I had given my flight information when I made the reservation.


Doesn’t help when the automatic doors leading from the jet way won’t open.  Already late at this point too.



When I saw a couple other drivers from the same company,  who were holding signs that did NOT have our name on them,  I asked what the deal was,  and the suggestion was made that we go to their desk.   Well see,  there’s the problem.  They’re in terminal two.   We arrived in terminal three.  

Hm,  so it’s Sunday night,  damned near midnight,  and there’s some sort of expectation that I’m going to not only walk to the next terminal,  but then have to walk out to the far end where your cars are parked?   Um…no.

There are other cabs,  and even though it cost us an extra €10,  it was worth it.

Too bad really,  since we had had relatively good experience with   

I’m beginning to think though that I should just start simply driving the car to the airport and using the long term parking.  We could have parked there for the whole weekend for under €40,  even though it involves a shuttle bus ride of some 20 minutes or so.  We figured out how to do it in the Netherlands,  so it’s about time I took that plunge.   That’ll be for our next trip I’m thinking. 

Wonder when that will be?


No really.  That wasn’t some sort of veiled hint, I haven’t a clue. 



I’m running out of words.  


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for coming by.





  1. the trials and tribulations of air travel! to love it!!

  2. Good reasons why I hope I never have to fly anywhere ever again.

  3. Just caught up on the last 2 posts......whew!! Glad we gave most of that up and went the RV route. Most of our international travelling was done pre 9/11, thank goodness.

  4. Once upon a time, flying wasn't bad. Actually it could be fun. You got some nice food with real cutlery (not that useless plastic stuff) You had room for your knees (not anymore on economy) and there was no hassle with security and very short wait lines. All gone!
    Toronto airport is bad, alright. But we have waited for luggage to show up in nearly every other friggin' airport we have used. Lately I was so lucky that I didn't have to carry my suitcase out of the airport at all, because it never showed up! Happened twice during the same journey.
    Flying is no fun anymore, and if there would be a road/ferry service from Newfieland via Greenland via Iceland to Norway - I would do use it.

  5. Yep, you're right Ottawa to Boston for $781 is not a good deal in our opinion too! The one from Ogdensburg is much better.

    When we got to the gate for our flight to London from Toronto we actually had to wait and have them escort groups of people around the back way because the sliding doors into our actual gate area wouldn't open. Didn't bother us too much but still this the the newest terminal at the Toronto Pearson Airport and already they are having problems?

    Then as you said waiting for the bags to come off the baggage carousel is sometimes a pain but it is worse when you find that someone removed your bag at the beginning of the line and set it on the floor. Couldn't believe it, here we are waiting and waiting for my bag and there it is sitting on the floor, unbelievable!

    I guess if you want to travel we will just have to put up with these things.

    Kevin and Ruth


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.