Australian Airports Are a Joke

Fresh from the technical issue meltdown at Sydney airport yesterday, why are our airports such a joke? No seating except at the gates, pitiful food options, no relaxation of any sort, and horrendous public access that cost a bomb.

Everytime i head to 1 of our airports, its to get out fast, unlike asian airports like Singapore or HK, where being in the airport is a pleasurable experience and actually makes me WANT to get their early to enjoy it!

EDIT : I am setting at Qantas domestic in Melb and it is DIRE. It looks like an old American airport straight from the 70s! Drab walls, corridors with just nothing, no facilities, its basically a holding pen.

Comments

  • +22 votes

    No/minimal seating except at gates is a security aspect.

    Sydney airport has plenty of food options when I went

    So what are your suggestions

    • +9 votes

      That sounds about right. Seats are the perfect place to unattended luggage.

    • +29 votes

      If security is the issue, why do so many other airports have plenty of seating, some even have free seating lounges to sleep in (like Doha international)

      • +9 votes

        All/most seating is airside? Different countries have different regs regarding the matter

        Airports have minimial seating non airside to prevent

        Terrorism, sneaky packages being left unattended under seats
        Congregation of pax to prevent
        Easy target for mass shootings, bomb detination
        Issue when fire breaks out
        Homeless people using it as a hotel
        Bad people hiding in crowds

        Airports want you airside asap, and don't want you sleeping, so that you dwell more and spend money.

        A sleeping pax isn't spending money unless it is in a sleep pod. Sure comfort is a measure, but its not s hotel. If you need to sleep get a hotel.

        If you owner an airport and had 100 people waiting avg 90 minutes for a flight, would you want them

        A. Dwelling airside where none of the above can happen or
        B. Exposed to the above

        And once airside do you want them.

        Sleeping
        Bored so they shop / eat and you get a cut of that sale.
        Play pool, arcade games, hair dresser, massages etc where you get a cut

        For what it's worth most food shops in an airport are owned by the same company or a few large companies and the contract will prevent other shops life KFC appearing .

        • +7 votes

          Having just come back from the United States, I can say all the airports I transited through had ample seating both airside and public facing. New York's Le Guardia and JFK both had plenty seating. The international airport in Los Vegas had thousands of chairs in the public lobby. Los Angeles domestic was also fine in terms of seating.

          Also, NotAnAudiophile is very likely talking about seating airside. I've noticed a lack of chairs just for sitting around, like lobbies or extended seating near food halls. I could not imagine a 6 hour transfer at an Australian airport, but Doha I was happy enough to spend those 6 hours at.

        • +6 votes

          Doha, Singapore etc are 90 percent transmitting passengers, Australia is like 5 percent. Not sure why anyone would transit in australia except if flying domestic to Sydney / Melbourne first. I've been in 200 plus airports flying and never been short of s seat once.

          Transiting airports, Comfort is more applicable to attract your business, so maybe more of an emphasis is put on comfort. Chairs with retractor arms have negative impacts, gronk use them as beds and then don't budge.

          I doubt anyone would one goto Qatar for a holiday. I lived there for 12 years and it's boring as bat sh8t

          Australia airports has many regs to follow, one of them is a minimising non airside seating

          From mEmory most American airports have no food on non airside for security reasons.

          Airports with no free wifi annoy me, akl airport is on my no go for this reason

        • +4 votes

          @Michael15286:

          The international airport in Los Vegas had thousands of chairs in the public lobby.

          AND poker/slot machines…

        •  

          @MrBear: ahahah I'm glad you mentioned this! Legit the only airport I've ever seen pokies in. Both airside and in transit.

        •  

          What is pax?

        • +1 vote

          @doncarajo:

          Passenger

        • +1 vote

          @banana365: Thanks. My airport lingo is not up to date.

        • +2 votes

          @doncarajo:
          Don't worry. You're not the only pax.

        •  

          @MrBear: I remember the seats with built in black and white TVs with rotary tuner!

        •  

          @doncarajo: It's travel lingo, not just airport. Trains, planes and ships use the term too.

        • +1 vote

          @MrBear: I don't think anybody has ever called me a "pax". Sounds like jargon for people that work in the travel industry, but I don't, so it's not a word that I use when talking about travel.

      • +1 vote

        Probably the cost of security staff to police the seating areas in our country…

    • -2 votes

      What's my suggestion?

      In front of the gate, people shouldn't have to line up standing.
      There should be a row of seats, so you are seated while waiting.
      AND!! the seats should be arranged just like the plane itself.
      …so that 30min wait time of doing nothing, you can have people lined-up and ready to board efficiently at their allotted seats.

      Sure its not going to solve every problem, but it'll hammer out the big one.
      You can also do this for international flights, for people waiting to board around 1hour in-advance (if you have 5 hours or so, they should be free to roam around the Duty Free shops, food courts, and laze around the comfy chairs with chargers and TV's).

      • -4 votes

        The airline could call people by seat number/section.

        It is their own incompetence that is at fault

        • +11 votes

          they usually do but very few obey

        • +5 votes

          They do, people ignore them because they don't listen/are a**holes.

        • +1 vote

          @payless69: Yeap Qatar often would call rows or sections at a time, rarely did I have someone in front or behind me in the queue that was actually called. they all know that to avoid an argument they just let them get on, although it'll be like "section A to B, and this person would be Section K"…

      • +5 votes

        You're assuming the same gate will always have the same type of plant with the same seating configuration.

      • +5 votes

        many different planes, many different configurations. having a seat map replicate the plane is ludicrous.

        the airport would be bloody monstrous, and 99% unused.

        im always the last one to stand up, and often sit in the gate next door that's unused.

        • -8 votes

          Like I said, it doesn't solve every problem…. but neither does democracy!
          But, we still adopt it because it makes sense and solves many of them.

          Besides, most planes are identical… so you would only have to cater to the most popular one.
          The few different planes that use the same terminal can be dealt with the staff.
          And if things change drastically in a couple years, the terminal can be closed for a day, renovated, so the seats can always be rearranged in a new form. It's not rocket science, or maybe it is, I dunno… the solution to idiot-proofing is fine, then the world just goes ahead and invents a better idiot.

        • +2 votes

          @Kangal:

          most planes are identical

          Umm… so why are there so many "seat map" websites?

          Here's the list for Qantas, 12 different seating configurations across their fleet of 8 different models of jet. (Plus a few turboprops)

          https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qantas_Airways/information...

          Bear in mind, that's just Qantas.

          I really don't see why you need the gate seating to match the aircraft anyway.

        •  

          @Kangal: most planes are NOT identical at all, even the same aircraft variant can have vastly different layouts internally depending on the carrier or hell even the same carriers have differing configs depending on the intended market.

        • +1 vote

          @Kangal:

          Yeah, how much better would it be if democracy didn't give idiots a voice? But tis the way it is I guess. You keep advocating for terminal seating that models the seating on the plane, we'll keep letting you vote, and the world will keep on spinning.

        •  

          @ILikeBargenz:
          Exactly! This guy gets it.
          Having an open-space and letting people get on-board and leave is anarchy. We need order.
          Not perfect order, but some order. And not full-power, that's fascism.

          You know what… nevermind.
          Just make sure you don't shower for a week before flying, so people move out of your way as you claw your way to your seat.

        •  

          Right on! I never understood the willingness to join the queue

      •  

        I like the thinking, but every plan has a different seating layout.

      •  

        They did something similar when flew back from Brazil… except they used the lines still. Each line had certain rows, so say line 1 was for passengers with seats between rows 68-88, line 2 for passengers between 48-67 and etc. It moved the whole thing a lot faster and it stopped those people who for some reason feel that there is a prize for who gets into the plane first. Unfortunately it didn't stop those same people racing out when the plane landed.

        They also enforced the whole 7kgs/overhead bin luggage size a lot more seriously which I appreciated since I only ever carry a small back pack and have even have been asked to keep it under my seat so ppl can fit they obviously over sized carry ons.

        •  

          Yeah I saw someone having an argument on a flight in the queue over the weight limit… I don't understand how you can argue it, although you can't properly judge a for weight with your eyes, this person had like a full hiking looking bag, stuffed to the top, trying to claim under carry on.

      •  

        South Western airlines in the US do something like this where you stand in a queue to board based on the order you checked in. It was weird having to walk back and forth in the line to find our place in the queue.

    •  

      This person doesnt travel often…Sydney Airport is actually quite good (no, its not quite up to SG or Incheon), but its functional and super easy for an Australian to fly in/out of.

      •  

        The toilet are dire.

        •  

          vietnams toilets are dire…so you had 1 or 2 bad experiences - doesnt make it DIRE! You know, its generally humans that make toilets dire bcoz they are filthy.

        •  

          @sydsm:

          Well it is foreseeable that hundreds of people will use the toilets daily and cleaning arranged by Macquarie Bank should be commensurate. Sydney Aurport toilets and appear to have never had a good scrubbing ever.

          Compare that to Japanese airports where the toilets are contunually cleaned and spotless.

        •  

          @hardya: Macquarie Bank does not own Sydney Airport - Sydney Airport Corp owns Sydney airport and shareholding in other airports (it was spun out many years ago). Well hopefully once West Syd airport opens, they will up their scrubbing efforts.

        •  

          It just takes one bad egg

        •  

          @sydsm:

          And Macquarie are the major investor in the parent entities

  • +35 votes

    makes me WANT to get their early to enjoy it!

    Who likes to spend time at the airport?

  • +19 votes

    I hate all airports, but some I hate less.

  • +8 votes

    Adelaide isn't too bad IMO. Sure, parking is expensive but it's expensive in a lot of other places too and food options seem pretty typical I guess.

    Airports are more or less just glorified versions of any other port, it's more or less just a place to come and go from; I'd imagine that there are plenty of really ordinary airports around the world but part of going to those places is not the airport but the destination the airport is in.

    I can understand where you're coming from but it doesn't really bother me. If there are limited funds I'd rather that they be spent outside the airport on infrastructure and attractions and such rather than on the airport itself.

    • +5 votes

      I'd imagine that there are plenty of really ordinary airports around the world

      Having traveled around Europe, I can wholeheartedly agree with this. Think a glorified tin shed.

    •  

      park for free at the IKEA near it.

    • +1 vote

      I havent been to the Adelaide airport for a long time, maybe ten years ago, but I was pretty struck by how run down it was.

      I suppose it prepared me for the rest of Adelaide.

      •  

        You are mistaken. May be it got renovated then. It's much more spacious and comfortable airport than Sydney and Melbourne ones. So is Adelaide as a city.. I know it's all due to their low population but after all it boils down to standards of living the city offers and it clearly wins there.

    • +1 vote

      you obviously haven't parked at other Airports or cities.
      Adelaide has cheap parking a short walk across the road. Where else can you park $4 for 1/2hr when that's enough to drop off / pick someone up.

    •  

      Yes the old one was run down, but the (entirely) new Adelaide Airport opened in 2007.
      It is a great design and easy to navigate.
      Canberra's is flasher though.

  • +3 votes

    Try the domestic T1 terminal for Qantas at Melb airport. Endless long hallways without shops or anything really. Heaps of seating but a ghost town.

  • +8 votes

    Singapore and Hong Kong have the benefit of only having to focus on 1 airport. Australia has multiple airports across different states and the government has to split the money amongst each. Also does not help that our labour force is costly compared to cheap imported labour HK and Singapore can bring in.

    • +4 votes

      Does the Australian government invest anything in the major airports? They don't own them so I don't see why they would.

      • +2 votes

        For tourism, maybe?

        • +21 votes

          I have never met a single person who wanted to go to Australia but decided not to because there wasn't enough seating or good enough restaurants at the airport… Have you?

          In fact, I can't recall ever hearing a tourist even mention the airport as having any impact on their trip whatsoever.

        • +2 votes

          @callum9999:

          Of course not, but it’s the overall package. I’m sure there’s a lot of the tourism budget spent on things that people would pass on Australia should it not be there.

          Anyway, it was just a suggestion of why the government may spend money on a privately owned airport.

        • +1 vote

          @tomsco: Yes I'm sure there are many things the tourism budget get spent on that would otherwise put tourists off - I'm stating categorically that making airports more fun isn't one of them as I'll confidently state that no-one puts off visiting Australia because of the seating arrangement at Sydney airport.

        • +1 vote

          @callum9999: But what it might do is persuade someone to transfer through Brisbane or Melbourne airport instead for a long haul flight. Perhaps it's a state tourism thing.

        • +1 vote

          @Michael15286: When I am travelling I would rather travel to the closest destination or by price. I travel a lot and would never choose any place because the airport is better and I seriously doubt their are many people that would.

      • +3 votes

        Sydney airport is built on federal government property. It’s in Australia’s interests that it and the other airports makes money.

        https://infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/airport/index.aspx

        •  

          Are you saying they do invest in the airports? All that page tells me is they regulate them and get tax revenue from them.

          I don't think there's any risk in airports like Sydney and Melbourne being unprofitable!

        •  

          So is Melbourne airport.
          I'm not sure what the implications are however.

      •  

        Does the Australian government invest anything in the major airports?

        Do you count building them as an investment?

    •  

      Hong Kong is a great city but every time I go there the airport is getting worse and worse. Had a cup of coffee last time in a real cup. Took them 1 1/2 hrs to make it and was over A$16. Noisy aircon and declining friendliness. Immi wait 2 hrs with staff taking photos of chaos and refusing to help then serve others who just arrived!

      Singapore tries a bit harder, $20 spending money for waiting but taking the free city tour was the worst wait I ever had only to see virtually nothing!

      How about Townsville? No touters guaranteed. Lites will be switched on when a plane arrives!

      • +1 vote

        If they invest that much time in a cup of coffee, $16 is pretty reasonable

      •  

        I don't know where you're going in the airport to get AUD$16 or HKD$100 coffee.

        Or taking 1.5 hours to make - surely you would have asked them after 20 min. Sounds like a bit of stretch tbh.

        • +1 vote

          Maybe he was not fluent in Honkongnese?

        •  

          upstairs where you can sit down at a reasonable table with less noise pressure. They actually have different pricing for different times. The waitress was very apologetic to inform me that when we arrived it was surge pricing and around AU22 for a coffee. As soon as the price dropped we got ours. All upstairs stuff is just for the rich, a truly 2 class system.

    • +4 votes

      It's not an excuse. All major capital cities should have better airports. That's it. And it's hasn't change for decades. No improvements no matter who owns it.

    •  

      @itsdougie: Have been to Mumbai and Delhi airports that have been renovated within last 7-8 yrs or so. I was amazed by the variety of food options they have and food quality in general - multi cuisine restaurants, high end sweets shops/ bakeries, stores selling premium snacks, etc and all this at much reasonable prices even in the local currency. Pretty bland food is what you expect at the airports but I was proven wrong. Also, the airports give a very premium feel with their high-end interior decor.. Luggage trolleys are free everywhere. A lot of airport staff to help with literally anything.

      •  

        Are the toilets like rural india?

        •  

          Nah.. much better than even here. They were being cleaned literally every hour. Too many staff. Also, they had toilet paper + water. People don't have to clean the shit with just papers in those toilets. Water cleans it much better I realised it there.

  • +35 votes

    unlike asian airports like Singapore or HK, where being in the airport is a pleasurable experience and actually makes me WANT to get their early to enjoy it!

    These airports are HUB airports, as users will end up spending HOURS and HOURS between flights, they need to make it pleasurable. Unlike Aussie ones, that its just a get to the airport and get out of the there!

    •  

      And transit pax pay no airport tax, so that's why they are loaded with shops, to get money that way instead.

      • +1 vote

        Thats ok, as the OP says it gives them something to do, unlike 'aussie' airports.

        • +2 votes

          All I want to do in an airport is sleep, so sleep pods or massage places would be good imho. A place where u can sleep till departure for $10 an hour would be perfect. Not sure of the costs involved to keep them hygienic though

          I'm too scared to hit the piss in an airport lounge, as I am very unpissfit and would miss a flight.

        •  

          @unclesnake: Changi has hotel rooms for around that an hour. But its a min of 6 hours from memory. Well worth it for a long layovers

    • +2 votes

      Yep, Australian airports are terminals. End of the line, out you get.

  • +4 votes

    Melbourne airport food options are woeful. For an international airport it is down near the bottom. The Jetstar terminal 4 is much better than the international terminal, which is just weird.

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