Europe trip: Airport checklist

in life •  last month

Traveling has its own set of adventures regardless of where you are going and not all airports are created equal. My two-part series of how I Missed my flight and how I finally made it home post paint a picture of how some airport operates or fail to. There are some airports that are more traveler friendly than others. While traveling, I played a few games. As you know, there was spot the Brazilian flag game and let me tell you about this other game called, rate the airport.

My best friend is currently backpacking with her hubby across Europe. I have given her my airport criteria checklist to rate each of the airports.

I'm noted she has detailed notes for me. I'm excited and you should play along and rate some of your favorite or least favorite airports based on the following.

  1. Rate the Security process
  2. Rate the airport food options and stores
  3. Rate the boarding process

I always fly out of the same airport in Florida, so let's chat about the connecting airports and the European ones.

Dallas Airport

I remember my first layover at this airport. I was taken back by its size. It’s a mini city airport, which now I realize most major international airports are that grand in size. Like most major airports, the first visit is always the one most impressive.

I want to spend all day exploring every nook of it. The second visit is usually less impressive. The shuttle was old and the airport looked lifeless. That is until I found my gate. I had two hours to wait and so off exploring I went.

  • Chapel Room

They have a prayer room. I didn’t go in, but I peaked my head in and it looks very peaceful. It was a quiet room, with no particular religion being promoted. A sign requesting guest to be silent and hours of when sermons/prayer was lead by someone.

  • Rest Stop

A place you could pay to sleep, to shower, or to take your kids to play. It was similar to a hotel service, pay by the minute, glorious getaway. If you have a connecting flight anywhere and have the option to stop at Dallas. Then do it!

  • So many options

Spa Services, food from everywhere, stores selling anything and everything. In the middle of the food court, they had these artworks that resembled mini castles or ice sculptures.

  1. Rate the Security process

Skip this one since it was a layover.

  1. Rate the airport food options and stores

Two thumbs up, approve, and five stars. Finding options for any dietary needs would not be a problem here.

  1. Rate the boarding process

Quick and easy as it should be.

Renee airport

My first flight landed in Pairs, I was the only one catching a connecting flight. Paris has these rotating doors with sensors. They stop once someone is in front and keep the pace with you. Before that, you'll notice as you step out of the plane these welcome signs. These digital signs have people holding welcome signs from around the world.

While walking to my connecting flight, I could see the rest of the airport and it looked amazing. More on that later, but first let's talk about the Renee airport. From Paris to Renee and out of Renne into London, I got to see both sides of this airport.

While waiting at the Renee airport for my flight to London, I am amazed at how small this airport is. One security section, two airlines, maybe four, one restaurant, one store, and five gates. Reminds me of the Branson airport in Missouri without the themed decor.

Where are the outlets?

Don’t come to this airport with low battery because your phone will die. These outlets are far and few between. Before getting to the checklist, let me mentioned the international passengers. The flight is filled with passengers from all over East Asia. Makes sense, I suppose, but I wasn't expecting these tourists to come this far away from the major cities. Why would they come to the countryside? Either way, most workers spoke English. catching the bus outside the airport was very easy and navigating the subway/train was simple too. Simple once you figured out where you were and where you needed to go. The random French people that didn't speak English were helpful here too. Overall this airport was lovely.

  1. Rate the Security process
    Very simple, and unlike the USA you don't have to take off your shoes or step into a body scanner. I think this makes the process significantly smoother.

  2. Rate the airport food options and stores

Limited, mostly snacks offered. One coffee shop, one of everything actually. Not too impressed with the options here, but people probably don't spend too much time waiting at this airport.

  1. Rate the boarding process
    A little confusing, I was there a bit early before catching my next flight to London and it was confusing as to where to go. They have a waiting area that announces gate information, but there aren't clear directions that this is where you should wait.

Southend Airport, London

I only flew into this airport. When you departed the plan you walked outside and into a building. Had it been raining we would have been soaked. They have didn't have any handicap entrance into the building. On the plus side, the hallway into the main building had welcome written on the glass in various languages.

  1. Rate the Security process

First time going through security since entering the country. They should have had someone at the end of the line instructing people to either enter the line or fill out paperwork first. Why make us wait in line, exit, then wait to attend to. Very inefficient.

  1. Rate the airport food options and stores

Only had vending machines, so very low marks!

  1. Rate the boarding process
    Only landed in, so no comment.

Luton airport

Lots of food options, great stories to go shopping, TERRIBLE BOARDING PROCESSES!

I've already written too much of this terrible place, so let's move on.

Pairs

Very high tech immigration process, as I expected a ton of options as well. This is the first airport that has hotels in it, in each gate, and right outside of the airport as well. It's a shame I didn't speak more French to further explore more of it. Most if not all the workers spoke English, they were helpful, and very well efficient. High ratings on all counts.

Philadelphia Airport

This was my layover before heading back home. This airport is beautiful too. I didn't spend too much time here, I was rushing to catch my next time, but I remember seeing some odd artwork randomly throughout the airport. Overall, two thumbs up for this airport too. The real MVP of them all is American Airlines. Granted they are an airline, not an airport, but flying internationally with them was so easy, relaxing, and the food was so delicious!

My phone refuses to upload the pictures onto my computer, so I will share those another time. Until them, below are some that did upload.



Thanks for reading, upvoting, and commenting!

Love always,

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My favorite airport: Denver, CO
-Very big, airy, spacious. It's located outside of town so while the traffic can be pretty bad (so I hear) it was never stop and go for us.

Least favorite: Heathrow
-What a mess that was. We caught them in the midst of construction years ago, and it was terrible. You had to go outside and find a shuttle bus to get between gates or various points in the airport. Maybe it's better now, but I don't want to go back and check.

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You have to go outside for a bus to change gates sounds terrible, who designed this airport? Ugh, imagine if you have kids or a ton of ku age how inconvenient that would be. Two thumbs down for sure, how about food options?

Never been to either airports, that’s for the info!

MSY (New Orleans) gets a zero for immigration. The US is terrible for its immigration process anyway but this hit a new low for me.

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This sounds like a blog post, what happened at NOLA immigration?

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No ESTA line. Took fucking ages. It was ridiculous.
Yes, a NOLA post is coming.

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Yeah, sorry choo US immigration is not good. Take a dance with LaGuardia or JFK they may rival NOLA lol.

Good to know about the Luton airport Kubs, may have to deal with that one myself next year.

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There are other airports, avoid Luton at all cost. Muxxy flies out of another all the time without any issues.

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Stick to Heathrow, Gatwick and London City (if necessary). Luton and Stanstead suck massively and your train ticket is likely to cost more than whatever cheap flight you've scored.

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immigration in the USA is by far the most untraveler friendly. CANNOT wait for this post.

This is a very thorough description of the above mentioned airports. I have only traveled within my country and I guess the two things that gets on my nerve is how expensive things are and flight delays (which in most cases are due to weather issues)