The airport post

I was convinced I had made an airport post before, but looking through the 779 [!] posts on my blog wielded no results so I guess it was probably just me musing on Twitter about it or something like it.

I have spent too much time of my life in airports either waiting for someone or waiting for flights or to get home after arrival. I don’t even want to begin to count how much time of my life has been wasted in airports and I’m nowhere near as frequent a traveller as some other people I know. Off the top of my head:

  • 18 hours at Gatwick North in 2007. Misjudged moving out and travel cross London to get to airport and so on. Sigh..
  • 28 hours in Malaga airport in 2007 thanks to Easyjet which led to me documenting this via pictures. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures.
  • This was followed by spending 24 hours at Gatwick North terminal [where I am now, too!] as I had to make alternative arrangements which then involved dashing cross London to Heathrow.
  • 16 hours at Heathrow then going to Reading to then go on the coach to Germany for the first time. First time on a National Express coach that is, not Germany obviously. Those few days weren’t fun!
  • Spent too much time waiting for a friend in Hamburg airport in 2008.
  • Six hours in Gatwick South terminal on Sunday.
  • 5.5 hours in Gatwick North terminal now.

There are more times and I do remember more time spent at Heathrow, but can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

Each experience has been unique and each airport has its up and downsides for waiting, but I don’t think I could have imagined how different Gatwick could be.

Today I am at the North terminal for the first time since 2008 and it exactly how I remember it. There is a 24 hour Costa coffee, semi comfortable and many benches for people to sit [mostly lie] on. Some groups are playing cards – in fact I’m semi watching an intense poker game a couple of seats away – others are talking and there is a crazy guy in the corner oblivious to the fact he is singing along to the music he is listening to on headphones. An X-Factor contender he most definitely is not! Every hour or so the entire waiting area goes quiet as the heavily armed police make their patrol through, but asides from that it’s not a bad atmosphere.

Waiting at the South terminal on Sunday morning couldn’t have been more different. No seats were available and it felt disjointed and almost hostile. People were walking around constantly trying to find somewhere to sit, Caffe Nero’s music was loud enough to be heard when you couldn’t even see the cafe and a very large video screen banner ad near the M&S food shop kept changing the lighting in the whole area. All that was missing were the old style changing arrival/departure board sounds. And I didn’t once see any police patrols.

Malaga made me feel unsafe, Gatwick South baffled me, Heathrow is too busy even at night, but Gatwick North definitely gets my vote for best overnight stay in an airport.

Thank God it is only 2.5 hours more until my train!

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