Monday, 30 January 2012

Queen Alia Airport: Top 10 worst airports

I was not even half surprised when I read this article about the world's 10 worse airports and that Amman International Airport was also on the list.

The article talks about a few things, including the un-cleanliness of the toilets. I haven't even tried the toilets and it's still one of the worse airports I have been through. The current terminals are ugly and dark. A new terminal is in construction - by ADP (Aeroport de Paris), let's hope they make a better job than with Charles-de-Gaule, Paris' main international airport... funny enough that airport is also to be found on "the list".

Well arriving to Amman is kind of ok. You spent some time queuing, but then you do that everywhere. You queue for the visa (20JD), you queue for the passport control. When you are done with that you enter a horrible lounge to pick up your luggage. Porters are easy to find. One luggage scan and you are allowed out of the place. However,  if your luggage is not there, then the fun starts, in a country where nobody knows how to queue. It happened to me once when I came on a connecting flight over Istanbul, with a very tired then under-one-year old Bibs. Not funny. There was about 100 people squeezed into a little space behind one of the belts trying to get the attention of one of the 2 agents sitting behind a counter... who didn't speak english. So imagine me, Bibs in a stroller, climbing over bags and people to get into this tiny space and trying to explain to the guy that I actually don't have a clue what my luggage looks like: Black or grey? the brand? my name on there? Yes maybe. Surprisingly enough it only took 2 days for the luggages to appear again.

But the true side of Queen Alia Airport, you see it when you leave Jordan. Once you have demonstrated to the customs guy that you are willingly walking into the airport (by showing him the flight tickets and passport), you need to have your luggage scanned. 2 or 3 belts and lots of people and lots of luggage: a few tourists, but mainly Jordanian or people from the gulf who again have no idea what queuing means. They arrive with 10 supersize luggages and just jump the queue. I don't know if they actually don't understand the concept of queueing or they just think you won't realise. I tell you it takes time and patience. A lot of patience and a bit of shoulder fighting. The ladies lane is a bit better but really not much. So through with all your luggage, your are trying to get to it. Remember the guy who jumped the queue with his 10 supersize pieces of luggage? well he is nowhere to be seen but all the suitcases are actually blocking the belt. Finally, you manage to get to the check-in counter.

Then you have to queue again: for the passport control. You have those who are standing nicely in the lanes, having no choice really and then those who are trying to discuss their way through the diplomatic lane (even though they are not much more of a diplomate than I am). It takes a good 20 minutes. They check that you haven't over stayed your visa (if you have, don't worry they will let you out - you just need to pay 1.5JD /day). Once you are done, you think it's over.

You arrive to the duty free shop which is one of the most boring ones i have been in, unless you are after really cheap cigarettes or dates. Then you need to find a counter at which you can actually pay - some are open but have no change, some are open but the cashier is busy arguing about this or that with a colleague. You can also get magazines and a little food and that's it.

Then you need to find the gate. You thought the scanning was over and done with! But no, you need to scan all the hand luggage, one more time. Once you are through there is no coming back, and beware there is not a shop, you can't even get a bottle of water. And it's depressing. Dark and gloomy with even lower ceilings - or so it feels.

A little bit more "non"-queueing and finally you are in that plane and you are happy, because it takes you away from Amman Airport.

I am maybe exaggerating a bit, but not much! There are so many things in Amman more enjoyable than the airport.  


Heidi said...

So true. But, if you have access to the lounge it makes it so much nicer. I really like it..the security check up can be so strange, when Sofia was in a splint they brought in a special guy to see if there was a bomb attached to it :)

PARIMITA said...

Even my experience was not great at this airport

Babs In Amman said...

Heidi... I have never tried the RJ lounge... but then I never fly RJ lol! I have heard it's supposed make the experience a bit nicer.

Babs In Amman said...

lol Parimita! I know it's not just a one off....

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