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gmanyo

Airports (formerly "Japan('s airport) Rocks")

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I had a layover at Bole International in Ethiopia last year, and there wasn't even running water in the bathroom, and they lied about which gate we were actually departing from, but it was still better than LAX

 

 

Also our left engine blew after we departed and we had to circle back to Bole while the flight attendant crossed herself repeatedly, and upon emergency landing a couple guys stood around shrugging by the engine (I could see this because I was at the exit row and the door was wide open because it was fucking Ethiopia and it's hot) and then some dude ultimately fixed it with a socket wrench.

 

Still better than LAX.

 

The KIA Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania is tiny but pleasant and clean, on the other hand.

 

Kilimanjaro-International-Airport.jpg

Edited by baph

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Also, that shit in Denver is fucking mental. That statue is like some demon horse. and the painting - wtf?

 

It's also, besides a Saudi Arabian airport, the largest in the world in terms of land area. It's quite nice inside and very well laid out.The art is quite intense, the one I posted was part of a series of Chicano style murals in the terminals. The statue is still very controversial, I wouldn't be shocked if it was removed.

 

I really like airports at night. I like it when all the shops are shut down and the gates are empty, and you can see the lights on the empty roads and runways. Growing up in three different countries, I actually don't mind airports; they symbolize transition for me. I can't actually think of an airport that I've been in that I loved, though.

 

Whoa, I know exactly what you mean.

 

I had a layover at Bole International in Ethiopia last year, and there wasn't even running water in the bathroom, and they lied about which gate we were actually departing from, but it was still better than LAX

 

Also our left engine blew after we departed and we had to circle back to Bole while the flight attendant crossed herself repeatedly, and upon emergency landing a couple guys stood around shrugging by the engine (I could see this because I was at the exit row and the door was wide open because it was fucking Ethiopia and it's hot) and then some dude ultimately fixed it with a socket wrench.

 

Still better than LAX.

 

The KIA Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania is tiny but pleasant and clean, on the other hand.

 

Kilimanjaro-International-Airport.jpg

 

FUCK that sounds crazy, especially considering Ethiopia's airports and airlines are historically some of the better ones on the continent. I remember talking to some South African expats who said the national airline flights were pretty sketchy years ago - they'd be over the Atlantic and the lights would just go out for an hour or two and the staff wouldn't say a thing.

 

My dad has told me some crazy ass stories about various "less developed" airports he flew in during his USAF service on C-130s, including this one.

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I feel like Ethiopian Airlines pulled a bait n switch a bit. The jet we flew from the States to Ethiopia was gorgeous. Basically just a notch below Emirates (we flew Emirates back). But the Ethiopia to Tanzania puddle jump was fucking scary. I mean, mechanically, shit happens in aeronautics; and you can't devote the good vehicles to a 2 hour flight; but there were kind of obvious problems with that jet. It fucking felt wrong a couple minutes into take off, and that was after a serious delay where the (apparently American) captain kept telling us (we were onboard) that things were going slowly because of "new inspection procedures," which smelt of bullshit even before takeoff.

 

Had a wing seat on the bad-engine wing and everything. Could see smoke pouring out the engine, and hear it winding up and stalling (REEEEEEEEEEEEEE [silence] REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE [silence], repeat] for the first hour and change of the flight. We had to have been closer to Tanzania when we turned around, but we flew back to Ethiopia.

 

Hard as fuck old German tourist ladies next to us putting on brave faces and then slowly freaking out.

 

I felt horrible for my girlfriend, who seemed not only scared but sad, because the whole thing was her massive birthday present for me (and it was the best birthday present humanly possible, and an amazing trip outside of this minor glitch, lol). I don't think any of us felt sure we were going to die on the flight, but everyone was kind of visibly preparing themselves. I've never felt a shared atmosphere of... I don't know, worry, anxiety, fear like that before. Almost dead silence from everyone, including the attendant, for the whole flight.

 

Maybe it's really just a testament to the skill of the pilot or Ethiopian Airlines mechanics that we made it ok. Maybe it seemed worse than it was. It was a bit troubling flying back to the airport, waiting for a fix, and flying out again on the same plane, though. The guy with the socket wrench must have been a true master of the socket wrench.

 

The airport wasn't that bad for a high volume airport in a developing country. I feel like there were probably renovations in process and we were just in a kind of neglected area of the terminal. If you search for Bole International on google, some of the images bring up this nice looking modern glass architecture, but I don't remember any of that. Maybe that's the other terminal? I just remember a small yellow waiting room. It wasn't that bad, but the lower-volume airport in Tanzania was much more welcoming.

 

The trip was awesome and I'd do all of that again in a heartbeat, mind you. Don't mean to make it sound like an ordeal. Aside from the mechanical problems with the plane everything was amazing.

 

We flew back out of Nairobi, then to Abu Dhabi. Now that was a weird airport transition, architecturally and aesthetically and institutionally, lol.

Edited by baph

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fucking lol that is a crazy story

 

I don't know what I was talking about before, LAX fucking sucks. Getting out was terribly difficult, although that might've been Delta's problem.

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There's always something at least a little fucked up at LAX. Someone just can't get their shit together. Basically holds true for LA itself, lol.

 

I just remembered the best part of Abu Dhabi: my gf respectfully threw a scarf over her hair whilst we were wandering the airport, and hick American tourists kept coming up to her asking to get a picture with her. Like, three separate groups of hicks.

Edited by baph

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back in the day some friends & I would go to Miami International Airport late at night and chill. Usually get high and people watch, it was so peaceful at night. One time we were just sitting there, in the middle of a main terminal probably 2am when out of nowhere a whole plane of womens soccer teams from South America arrived and they all walked right passed us. We were tripping and it seemed to last forever. I don't think I've ever seen so many beautiful women at once in my life, and where we were sitting was a choke point so literally they passed right infront of us probably 6 across, every single one eyeballing 2 friends & I.

 

There was also a great place to park at the end of the runway where the planes took off & landed right over you. Times have changed though, a lot more security. Probably wouldn't get away with just hanging there in the middle of the night.

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The nice thing I like about Hiroshima's airport is that they have a smoking room in the baggage collection area. You smoke while you wait for your baggage. More airports need this. The first thing I want when I get off an aeroplane is a fucking smoke!

 

Ban smoking or accomadate smokers. Halifax (Canada) airport is small but nice aas they offer free Wi-Fi and have some nice shops for gifts. The only shitty thing is if you go through security and hit the bar for a couple of beers (man, they have huge beer glasses!), that if you want a smoke, you have to leave the airport and go through security again.

 

Chen, does Vancouver still have a smoking room when you're waiting for int'l flights?

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The trip was awesome and I'd do all of that again in a heartbeat, mind you. Don't mean to make it sound like an ordeal. Aside from the mechanical problems with the plane everything was amazing.

 

 

No it's perfectly warranted, in fact it's a reminder of how high standards are in flight safety and performance are elsewhere. The whole "routine" aspect of commercial airline travel has been a postwar luxury. Planes break down a lot, even when considered perfectly flyable. Ever since I read about this flight high-jacking and crash in regards to how the pilots handled it, I've had the impression that Ethiopian Airlines has decent personal, which your story also confirms. Even if the equipment is old and/or faulty, I doubt they would of taken off. Clearly they just wanted to play it cool about all the mechanical problems though.

Edited by joshuatx

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The nice thing I like about Hiroshima's airport is that they have a smoking room in the baggage collection area. You smoke while you wait for your baggage. More airports need this. The first thing I want when I get off an aeroplane is a fucking smoke!

 

Ban smoking or accomadate smokers. Halifax (Canada) airport is small but nice aas they offer free Wi-Fi and have some nice shops for gifts. The only shitty thing is if you go through security and hit the bar for a couple of beers (man, they have huge beer glasses!), that if you want a smoke, you have to leave the airport and go through security again.

 

Chen, does Vancouver still have a smoking room when you're waiting for int'l flights?

Naw, Vancouver is one of the least smoker friendly places I've ever been to. I don't smoke cigarettes here though, so it's not really an issue for me.

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The trip was awesome and I'd do all of that again in a heartbeat, mind you. Don't mean to make it sound like an ordeal. Aside from the mechanical problems with the plane everything was amazing.

 

 

No it's perfectly warranted, in fact it's a reminder of how high standards are in flight safety and performance are elsewhere. The whole "routine" aspect of commercial airline travel has been a postwar luxury. Planes break down a lot, even when considered perfectly flyable. Ever since I read about this flight high-jacking and crash in regards to how the pilots handled it, I've had the impression that Ethiopian Airlines has decent personal, which your story also confirms. Even if the equipment is old and/or faulty, I doubt they would of taken off. Clearly they just wanted to play it cool about all the mechanical problems though.

 

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree. I'm one of those weird people who wants full disclosure of everything that is happening everywhere at every minute, so I don't react as well to "playing it cool" and not giving technical details1, but I'm reasonably certain that nobody else on the plane would have appreciated full disclosure, and the pilot was doing his best at crowd control. The pilot got us back and out again safely, and it clearly took skill and experience. And nobody in the cabin freaked out and ran for the door mid-flight, which is always nice.

 

The flight attendant crossing herself for an hour and a half wasn't engaging in the most effective means of crowd control, though. The German lady across from me went from 'hoho now we are adventuring really!' to looking like she was going to have a heart attack when she saw that. lol.

 

I'd fly Ethiopian Airlines again. The food was delicious, lol.

 

1 Not that I could do anything to help; I recognize I would have been useless at best and a hindrance at worst and that the best possible thing for anyone to do is to get the fuck out of the captain's hair while he saves our asses, and so there's absolutely no fucking reason for anyone to give me the technical details of anything. It's a psychological defect, probably arising from growing up around fishing boats and almost sinking a couple-three times.

Edited by baph

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Hey chen, what were you doing in Taiwan? When did you go through there? The airport has actually improved a lot in the last 6 or 7 years.

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I was there to visit a friend and play ultimate. It was in 2008.

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Just had a 9 hour layover in LAX again coming back from Taiwan, now in ATL. LAX sucks as usual. I just sat at my gate for 6 hours playing video games. It's 6am and all I want right now is beer.

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Kansas City was the worst I'd ever been in. It's about the size of a shoe box, and has two bars. One of which is named Budweiser, and they both close at 7pm.

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I once arrived in Brussels Airport in the middle of the night after a 6 hour flight from New York - and I had to wait there for 6 hours. My iPod ran out of battery, and since it was in the middle of the night everything was closed. Also, it wasn't a normal layover as I had to get my luggage and carry it around with me. It fucking sucked.

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Minneapolis-St.Paul is surprisingly decent.

 

Yangon's airport on the other hand....

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Had a stop in Copenhagen Airport once, bar the very commercial nature of the place, all the women had moustaches! Hency skewing my view of all danish women thereafter.

 

Good day.

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I stopped at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on the way to Thailand, pretty cool, they've got a monorail that goes through the shops etc to take you to the gate.

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this month:

 

BKK - rubbish, big, cold

 

KL - boring, long

 

LHR - such security many crap so fuck

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Interesting how when I originally posted this topic like 30% of airports had free wifi, and now almost all major airports do. 2015, baby.

 

@fenton, didn't know the security in the UK was bad, I always assumed the U.S. had a monopoly on that end. Could it have been the Charlie Hebdo thing?

Edited by gmanyo

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Security at Heathrow has been bad since 9/11. It's still not as bad as the US but compared with the efficiency of developed Asian nations, or the don't give a fuck attitude of developing nations, it's still bad.

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Schipol was a'ight, Berlin Schonefeld too.

Edited by doublename

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Dulles in VA/DC has a surreal cavernously ribbed ceiling structure that was a treat for the eyes

 

just a shame about the Homeland Security assholes who worked there

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@fenton, didn't know the security in the UK was bad, I always assumed the U.S. had a monopoly on that end. Could it have been the Charlie Hebdo thing?

 

 

It's not especially tight security it is just a long wait, it can take over an hour to pass through immigration either way sometimes, such queuing, no fun.

 

Quiet good once you pass security though, except terminal 4 which does not have nearly enough alcohol samples.

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I got randomly selected for a bomb swab at LAX. They wiped my hands and tested them for some sort of chemicals, gunpowder maybe. I still go through those full-body scanners all the time. US security is insane.

 

@Chen, yeah, Taiwan is pretty fast, and helpful. I was annoyed that they wouldn't let me bring my skateboard as a carry on, but they were very helpful in escorting me out to get in checked then back up to the front of the line. Super fast scan-in immigration entry system for Taiwan citizens and alien residents, too.

Edited by gmanyo

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