On my most recent trip to Belgium I flew on Delta, so I had the opportunity to go through Atlanta Airport on the way to Belgium and through New York’s JFK airport on my return home.
These are airports that I’ve been through several times with unpleasant stories to tell. However, this trip was different. It seems that these airports had a personnel change, an attitude change or an agenda change.
I thought that since I had over four hours between my connections in Atlanta Airport I had enough time to get lost and found before I had to board my plane. I have usually had the experience of being misdirected among unhelpful and not exactly friendly personnel in that airport.
I was very pleasantly surprised. If I didn’t know any better I would have said that I had not landed in Atlanta Airport. The airport employees and vendors weren’t just friendly, they were nice and helpful. On previous trips, they have
been rude and very inconsiderate, often sending me to places in the airport that had absolutely nothing to do with my destination.
It seems that the airport has also changed some of their signs where they are no longer obscured or misleading. I prefer to walk in the basement between gates rather than to take the tram. I have, in the past, had a problem with dead ends and inaccurate signs which sent me outside the secure zone. I was required to go back through security. The comments I had from the unfriendly and unhelpful security personnel indicated that this was a common occurrence.
I didn’t encounter these problems this time. The signs were accurate and easy to follow and I found no dead ends. It was easy to find my gate because the airport employees I asked were very helpful including showing me the way. If this is a permanent change and not just a one time deal I may not need to cringe every time I have to go through Atlanta.
My first introduction to New York’s JFK Airport was years ago when my son still traveled with me. Their customs was a bit scary and intimidating because the officers weren’t exactly friendly and it was our first time going through customs. They were very businesslike and no nonsense in how they dealt with the passengers.
Even though JFK’s customs has already been changing their customer service, the airport’s vendors were still rude and non responsive toward customers. It was difficult to get help in that airport because it seemed that everyone was too busy, or unwilling to respond to a passenger’s needs.
As I went through JFK’s customs, on this latest trip, I found that their security has further improved their attitude toward passengers. They were as friendly and as helpful as the officers in my home airport in Tampa. I saw some smiling agents who actually talked to the passengers.
I was in the airport for a while, so I got to meet several of the airport’s vendors. They were not the ones I had encountered before. They were friendly, responsive and helpful.
When I go on a trip, I choose a particular ticket not just for the destination with particular times of arrival and departure and cost. I also choose it for the connecting airports.
I prefer to take connecting flights over direct flights because I like to shop the connecting airports. I enjoy exploring different airports and different parts of the world. This is one way I can do a little exploring without taking another, separate trip while I check out another part of the world. I like to talk to the local airport personnel when I can and learn a bit about the area.
When I go through an airport on the way to a destination, I’m not asking to be entertained or for maid service. But I do expect to be treated with respect. I also expect my needs, in regard with my travel plans, to be considered as important enough to be dealt with in a timely manner as well as with courtesy and consideration.
It seems to me that this is what most of the flying public expects and deserves. So when I am writing about certain airports this is the criteria that I base my statements on.
Here are some links for researching some of the airports that we find ourselves routed through. This first link is more for those who sleep in airports. But some the information would still be useful. This next website has an exhaustive collection of passenger reviews of over 680 airports from around the world. You can also write your own review of any of these airports. You can also check out a particular airport before you choose it as a connection or destination airport.