Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Booker links etc.

Mela reviews while I have been away: Falstaff on Anne Enright's The Gathering here. And just so that you think he reviews only forgettable books, he think Catherine O'Flyn's What Was Lost a splendid read.

Just got back after a couple of weeks of eating fish and lazing about. Three flight related questions:

1. Can anyone please tell me why is it that in all major London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted), it doesn't matter which gate you fly into, you always always walk at least 20 minutes to get to the immigration counters? In no other country this seems to be the case. I mean, its not like other airports aren't busy or anything. The most flights that I have taken have been into or out of O'Hare and the most one takes to get to immigration is about 10 minutes. And yes, its busier than Heathrow.

2. Who decides in-flight entertainment on Emirates? They have some comedy where they claim to bring in news tickers from the BBC. On my flight from Calcutta to Dubai, the only two pieces of news that happened were regarding: a China Airlines place that caught fire in Japan and some enquiry into last month's Brazil plane crash. Right after these news stories happened, the pilot announced that we were going to land in Dubai in 20 minutes. That helped me feel better for a few minutes until I realised that we didn't seem to be going anywhere - the plane was just turning around. I checked the aircraft map (which is the only inflight entertainment I usually watch) and I was right! The plane had turned 180 degrees and was heading straight back into the Gulf, at this rate we will be in Karachi in an hour. I was sure this was a hijacking but no else seemed concerned. I immediately tuned to air traffic control (which ofcourse is the only inflight channel I listen to) but only static there. It was another 20 minutes before the pilot announced that we were in some sort of holding pattern which would continue for another hour.

3. Are there any bookstores in Dubai airport? It has numerous department stores and stuff but I couldn't find a single bookstore. On my flight here, I was reading Ryszard
Kapuscinski's The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life and in an essay on Ethiopia, he talks about how there is only one bookstore in the entire country and even that's filled with empty shelves. Obviously this is just the airport, but the airport is a reflection of the country and consumer traffic through it, no?


Tabula Rasa said...

it's standard airport policy (pioneered about 15 years ago by either denver or DFW, i forget which) to make the baggage check *at least* a ten minute journey from the baggage check. the story behind this is that the above airport did a major overhaul at one point, following which it found that satisfaction ratings plummeted. so they dug a little deeper and discovered that the primary stated reason for the new dissatisfaction was long waits at the carousel. this stung, because they had just redesigned the airport to *shorten* the commute, AND the baggage delivery time was now less than what it had been before! so they went ahead and re-redesigned, this time putting the gates as far away as they could and making the route tortuous as well. and the ratings jumped. so now that's the smart thing to do.

Veena said...

TR: That makes sense. But even then, this London thing is excessive. Can't beieve the baggage handling process is that inefficient. Esp since these are mostly international gates where there's the immigration bottleneck to be crossed. Everyone I know complains about this (though no Britishers, they never complain
about anything in this country)