|Regarding general disappointment with the state of a Central European airport
||[Aug. 3rd, 2008|12:22 am]
Hunt the Wumpis
I am sitting in the Vienna airport, and the lack of order, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal is astounding. |
I suppose I had high hopes. Austria was, after all, the center of a grand empire that harbored a dynastic family that very nearly conquered Europe. To me, it serves to reason that the main airport in the country should be a testament to their glorious past. Is a tile mosaic commemorating the siege of Vienna, the decisive battle that stopped the Ottoman expansion into Europe, too much to ask? Or perhaps I some sort of Baroque or early renascence mock-classical era architecture, intertwining effortlessly with the efficiency one comes to expect from a Germanic people. All I wanted was past grandeur naturally transferred into a clean, well-organized, efficient air port, standing to a testament to all the forward thinking stereotypes portrayed by Liberals in the States. Boy howdy was I wrong.
I love security checkpoints in airports. It gives you a chance to stop and examine the people around you, glance at people’s passports, and, if you are lucky, station yourself behind an X-ray machines a to see what is inside people luggage. (Consequentially, you’d be surprised on how many people have hair dryers in their packs – thank you very much gender equality). And once you are past the security check, you are free to rush to your gate or meander about in the duty free shops to eye useless crap and the people who take duty free useless crap seriously. I could see my self leaving the world of academia and happily settling down in to a quiet position as an airport X-ray operator, content in scanning packages, watching people impatiently stand in lines, looking at passports, and wandering off on breaks to ogle the cigars in the tobacco shop – happy for the rest of my natural life (which would likely be significantly shortened due to the exposure to radiation).
But I digress.
This airport does not have the standard two security point system (one international one national). Oh no. Or even the less common entrance scan and terminal scan. It has a security point at about every gate. Every gate. Within the little area I am sitting is 10 gates, 10 X-ray machines, and a lot of workers standing about doing nothing. The inefficiency of it kills me after blowing through the mechanical works that is the Dulles security system. Lets no even consider the excess radiation admitted by, what I assume are inferiorly shielded long wavelength scanning equipment.
20% of the gates are crammed with people lining up to get pumped through the system, but 80% of the security gates are empty. The bored employees whose gate do not have a flight at this time are milling about, walking in and out of the security points with armloads of Red Bull and assorted carbonated beverages, causing the metal detectors to happily beep with every pass as a constant reminder to the lack security and ridiculous system setup.
I’d say it is character rating is on par with the national airport in San Jose… maybe. If there were a drinking fountain or two, places to sit for the crowds waiting for their flight in 5 hours, internet (even that pay per minute coffee house shit I loath buying), or a power outlet to recharge my computer, I would find it tolerable. The only real gem in the airport in the glass cube designated for smoking. Which, oddly enough, is located next to the café where I am now situated which is full of smokers choosing not to take part in this glass-cube-smoking scheme. Not that I blame them; I find the cube rather scary, and if I where in their perdicement I would rather share my carbon monoxide than be locked away with it in an oversize aquarium.
I suppose my expectations we misplaced. After all the Austro-Hungarian empire came to a close with the finale of World War I, and really the Hapsburgs’ bid for European domination ended in the 16th century. Both of which occurred well before the commercialization of air flight, let alone the construction of this airport. So , sadly, as my $8 café latte (damn you GWB for destroying the exchange rate and dooming caffeine deprived travels to) is near empty, and my computer’s battery is bottoming out, I am forced to leave my comfortable café stall and return to my silent vigil sitting on the abandoned table near my gate thaw my plane will depart from in 4 hours. Hopefully I will find Delhi’s airport more in tune with my discerning taste