Category Archives: Airports

Airports

Answering Your FAQs about London Southend Airport

I was at the airport on a Sunday in late May. As always, my flight was delayed, so I thought what better time to put my investigative reporter hat on and answer the Frequently Asked Questions that really matter about Southend Airport.

So … How much for a bottle of water? You’ll find the cheapest bottle of water at Arnolds & Forbes and it will coat you £1.50 (that’s around €2.80 / $3.50) which is nothing unusual for an airport. But the 750 ml Buxton at WHSmith costs you £1.99 (€ / $). There was at the time of my visit nowhere to refill your bottle, so not great for the environment.

And can I get my Big Mac or a Grande Triple Chocolate Soya Mocha at the airport? There’s no chains except for WHSmith which serves up a soggy meal deal. A pub-style restaurant, a sandwich place and some kind of dessert bar are the other options. I saw lots of people with McDonald’s bags outside and turns out there is one about 5 minutes walking distance from the airport.

Whatever. What about the real essentials? Is there Wi-Fi? Yes, the annoying one where you have to register and add your e-mail and come up with a password. It’s worth it as pretty quick and I could even play Instagram stories without issues. Let’s not dwell on what they’re doing with my personal data…

I know enough. Can I charge my phone, tablet and laptop while waiting? After security you can only charge at the Bourgee dessert bar. And weirdly … at the Arnold & Forbes Café Kitchen before security you can charge your phone, but after you can’t. Something to fix soon Southend!

Are the chairs comfortable at all? Could I nap comfortably when I have a stopover? Take a look yourself … As far as airport chairs go, it’s pretty comfortable to sit. Good luck with lying down though.

What about the toilets? There’s a lot of them, I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait for a free one. But the flush buttons really hard to press, which leads to people being lazy and the toilets are almost always dirty and not flushed.

Anything cool you saw? A Dixon’s vending machine to get things like adapters, headphones and chargers. The future is here!

Anything else I need to know? This airport has the quickest security I have experienced, everyone seems to be in sync. And outside there is a nice green bit where you can relax ahead of your flight, so you can avoid cabin fever.

Airports - Balkan - Zagreb

Answering Your FAQs about Zagreb’s Franjo Tuđman Airport

The old airport in Zagreb holds a special place in my heart. It was the very first destination I flew to and the first time I returned to my home country Bosnia after having fled 6 years earlier. I know that sometimes old can be charming, but the terminal was in need of a make-over. Thankfully my prayers were answered and a brand new terminal had appeared in 2017 and last week I got to dip my toes in for the first time.

My flight was delayed so I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday at the Gate 16 – 26 area from about 12.45 til 15.00 and while admiring the shiny steel and concrete architecture I thought I’d answer some Frequently Asked Questions about Zagreb’s Franjo Tuđman Airport – not that you asked.

What’s the most important thing to know? The airport is still relatively new, with lots of stores ‘coming soon’, so you won’t be able to kill much time window shopping.

Now for an easy one … How much for a bottle of water? At Caffe Nero a bottle of water costs 21 kuna (that’s around £2.40 / €2.80 / $3.50) which is nothing unusual for an airport. Are you trying to save the environment by carrying a refill bottle? Well, bad luck for you as there are no fountains to be found. You technically can do it in the rest rooms, but the water is lukewarm.

And can I get my Big Mac or a grande triple chocolate soya mocha at the airport? Caffe Nero is the only chain to be seen at both arrival and departure. The best thing about this Caffe Nero? They serve pita/burek for only 12 kuna (that’s around £1.40 / €1.60 / $2) ! So if you haven’t stuffed your face with enough already in Croatie (or the Balkans) this is your last chance. There’s also a pub and a buffet-style restaurant with the usual soups, pastas and burgers as well as cevape (but without the bread sadly!). Prices start at 60 kuna (that’s around £7 / €8 / $10).

Whatever. What about the real essentials? Is there Wi-Fi? Yes! And since there isn’t much to do to kill time you and Wi-Fi will be besties. Like at most airports all you do is sign in and you are online! There wasn’t a time limit and it was really quick – so you can blame them for all the posts I’m spewing at you at the moment.

I know enough. Can I charge my phone, tablet and laptop while waiting? Throughout the departure hall there are several poles with a number of USB and charging plugs, the downside is that you have to stand around the poles while waiting. Who knew poles could be so exciting … and for free.

Are the chairs comfortable at all? Could I nap comfortably when I have long stopover? There are no armrests between the seats, but don’t get too excited as you can see they are not the most comfortable to lie on, so you’ll obviously need someone to lie on top of …

What about the toilets? There were enough around the gates, they were super clean and I can’t complain much, except that the coat/bag hangers in the toilet stalls I went to seemed to be broken. Why or how do you break a toilet coat hanger????

Anything cool you saw? I still can’t get over the fact that well known Italian coffee chain sells pita/burek. #nospon. In case you are wondering … Pita/burek is the Balkans’ very own comfort food – a filo dough filled with meat, potatoes, vegetables or cheese.

Anything else I need to know? Not something I can guarantee, but literally every staff member I encountered was superfriendly and smiled, which I was extra surprised about as us Balkan people are masters of the resting bitch face and most of our names rhyme with bitch for a reason. Everyone either seemed to be having a good day or they were keeping their laughs in when I spoke to them in my backwards farmer way.

Have you visited the airport? What was your experience and what did I miss out on at gates 1 – 15?

Airports - Vienna

Answering Your FAQs about Vienna International Airport

vienna international airport

Waiting at the airport for the flight back home after a trip is the wurst (yeah, first world problems I know…) and it’s even more crappy when the airport you have to spend some time doesn’t sing, dance and feed you with wonderful food to send you off into the sky.

So does Vienna’s flying building entertain you and make you wish you never have to leave like Tom Hanks in The Terminal? Well, I’ll let you know as I answer some Frequently Asked Questions about Vienna International Airport.

My exclusive tour itinerary included wandering around Terminal 1 on a Sunday afternoon between 13.30 and 15.30, stopping off near the D gate area, with a special exclusive stroll to the G area. Sadly, despite my surname, I missed out on getting detained by security – now that’s the real VIP treatment I’ve heard, they give you a special massage and body rub, plus they interview you in detail wanting to know about all the cool places you’ve blogged about and been.

What’s the most important thing to know?  This airport is one where you don’t go through security until the gates. So first you scan your ticket at a machine, and then there’s passport control, and then you are stuck in your gate area until the security/luggage scanning before you board.

Now for an easy one … How much for a bottle of water? It’s a shame you can’t find a nearby small lake, babbling brook or well to satiate your thirst, so plastic-encased h2O is the only thing on the menu. Cheapest I could find was €1.90 (that’s £1.62 / $2.15) and after you go through security you can get it from a vending machine for €2.00 (that’s £1.70 / $2.25).

vienna-international-airport-1

And can I get my Big Mac or a grande triple chocolate soya mocha shot at the airport? Of Course, this is the 21st century after all. You can stuff that chain store food / drinks in your mouth at the arrival gates. And you might want to stock up on that early as the food at gate D wasn’t too great and ridiculously expensive. See the photo above? This piece of cardboard, with bits of cheese, a slice of tomato, a bit of mozzarella and a bottle of Evian cost me €10 (that’s £8.50 / $11.25). Have I inspired you? I really hope the answer is no, but if not, check out the delights of restaurant eating here.

Whatever. What about the real essentials? Is there Wi-Fi? Yes! All you have to do is sign in and say you agree and you all globally connected and ready to experience FOMO and all that. It’s relatively quick and there wasn’t a time limit.

I know enough. Can I charge my phone, tablet and laptop while waiting? At the end of each seating row there are plugs place where you can charge your phone. And if they’re all full up, you can play the game of guessing who you can disconnect without noticing, or use it as a potential conversation starter (“Is this your plug or are you pleased to see me?”)

vienna-international-airport-1Are the chairs comfortable at all? Could I let’s say nap a bit comfortably when I have long stopover?  As you can see from the image above you even have options! Since there are no armrests between the seats you can even lay down and if you manage to get a spot at the end of the seat you are all set and can charge and your electrics and chill. They always say the best place to waste time is in bed right?

What about the toilets? There were enough toilets throughout the place and they are as good as it gets. You might want to know that the toilet stalls are closed off, so you are all private to do what you will. And the toilet paper is the sandpaper type, but it’s recycled so you get bonus points from Greenpeace, etc. I heard if you get enough you can qualify for a free trip on one of their protest ships…

vienna-international-airport-1

Anything cool you saw? The PEZ shop, if you haven’t stocked up on PEZ this is your last chance. I am still amazed how the pez toys open their mouths so much, that’s some snake level mouth/jaw dislocation skills.

Anything else I need to know? I’m not a fan, but there are smoking cabins around the airport and once you go through security and arrive at your departure gates if it is busy then it is difficult to find a seat. So make sure to go in on time to puff to your heart’s content.

Have you visited the airport? What was your experience and do you have any tips?

Airports

airport or airplane annoyances

airplane airport annoyances irritations

People who don’t have their passport and/or ticket reading while waiting and causing congestion when it’s their turn to go through

Those people who complain about everything and everyone

People who cause a line at the security check because they forgot to pack their liquids bag

Those who go through the security check and accidentally leave a water bottle in their bag – even worse – when you’re THAT person

Overpriced food and drinks

When you want to buy the smallest item in the shop, like a pack of gum, and have to show your ticket

People who don’t know how the trolleys work

Crying children next to you on the plane – I understand it’s a strange situation for them, lots of people, pressure on the ears, etc. But yeah, that doesn’t stop it being annoying

Not enough seating areas at airports…

And when you eventually find some, you’re faced with horrible and uncomfortable chairs that even the most chilled out person would find it hard to relax on

Parking at airports

When one of the headphones doesn’t work – if it wasn’t difficult enough to enjoy the latest Michael Bay offering, you’re doing it in mono.

Hardly any outlets in the airport, especially when you’ve gone through security and are essentially their retail prisoner until boarding time.

Stag / Bachelor parties – normally drunk before they’ve even boarded the plane, or possibly even before they even got up that day.

People who push their chair back. All the way

The infuriatingly long wait to get on and off the plane – and the subsequent squeezing off in a battle of “who goes first”

Am I forgetting anything?