NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

Tag Archives: airports

August 1, 2014

Mumbairport.

Continuing the airport theme

Holy moly! This is one ultra-modern, cavernous travel hub. It resembles more a museum than an airport. All polished and shiny too. However, not all that glitters is gold. It’s also a very slow moving, uncomfortable airport. Although I’m sure they’re trying their darndest, they’ve still a long way to go in terms of service. “They rebuilt the airport, but didn’t think about the passengers who’ll be using it!” A.Sh. commented verily.

Back to the plusses (alas, briefly) – it’s got a real nice and spacious business lounge, and the food they serve there is out of this world; much better than the usual sandwiches and cakes. And lots of proper drinks too :). But can they provide Wi-Fi that’s fast and easy like in most other international airports around the world? NO!

The Wi-Fi here is slooooow, and insists on a text message to your cell phone “for confirmation and security”. Er, no thank you, I don’t need that kinda Wi-Fi. So we decided to dine properly instead. Oh, what a delight… If they served up such choice cuisine in every business lounge, I’d not bother with the Internet at all – ever, anywhere! I’d also not fit into my jeans.

Mumbai airportThere will always be jaywalkers no matter where you are. No matter if there’s a zebra crossing two meters away!

Read on: beware the Indian customs rules…

July 31, 2014

Chek Lap Kok: No quick walk.

Flying round the globe as I do, I get to see all sorts of different destinations, a lot of different airports too. Which got me thinking – I should make up a list of the world’s best airports. Incidentally, that also got me thinking about perhaps making up another list – of the world’s worst airports!

And yes, what is now the ‘old’ terminal of Sheremetevo (‘F’) will be top of that list for certain! But today’s theme is great airports. And it just so happens that I recently flew from what I think is my favorite on the planet: Hong Kong International Airport, aka Chek Lap Kok.

Hong Kong airport

Read on: So what’s so great about it? …

May 27, 2014

How I missed my plane.

I’m a mathematician.

So, based on the numbers alone – with my constant frequent flying – I’m hardly surprised: sooner or later it had to happen – I missed my plane!

It’s happened just once before – back in May 2010, towards the end of one of my customarily lengthy round-the-world tours. I’d… let my hair down a wee bit too low at a conference in Cyprus, got ’20:00′ and ’02:00′ – or something like that – mixed up, and that was that – late. Flight missed. That was in Limassol, heading for Tokyo. In the end I managed to get a flight the next day.

So, now I’ve notched up two missed flights. Still, that’s pretty good considering I fly hundreds of times a year!

This time I was late for my plane leaving London for Nice in France. So how did I manage it?

Well, due to some bizarre oversight, I looked at the wrong place on the piece of paper that had my flight details on it, and instead of having my taxi take me to Terminal 5, I asked the cockney driver to head for Terminal 4! Once I realized the mix-up upon arrival, I got onto the Heathrow Express to get to T5 – but then that took 40 (!) minutes (I’d have been better taking a taxi, darn it!).

This was after the journey from downtown to the airport, which took 80 minutes (London + Saturday = traffic jams). Should have taken the Tube! The following Monday was a bank holiday (national day-off), so maybe that was why there was even more traffic than usual. And we’d left the hotel with loads of time to spare! All the same, the terminal mix-up decided my fate that day. Late. Flight missed. :-/.

But – oh what joy! Turned out that an hour later a second plane would be taking off to Nice “for those who’d missed the first one” ( :%) ). I really needed to race to make that one – and I don’t mean a steady jog but a sprint. But I rushed in vain. The plane stood for another hour on the ground since Heathrow too was suffering from bad traffic (also due to the bank holiday?). An airport traffic jam. In short, it wasn’t my day. The following day thankfully made up for that…

Heathrow traffic jams

Heathrow traffic jams

See you tomorrow… Au revoir!

July 4, 2012

Killing Time in Airports – Frequent-Flyer Style.

In order to ease the mind-numbing tedium of hanging around Munich airport, T.T. and I started playing “Any-Letter Airport Code”. It’s a reasonably pointless game – but a great time killer – in which you take turns to come up with a three-letter airport code containing a letter from anywhere within the previous code (i.e., not just the last letter, like in similar party games).

It turned out to be quite fun. Here’s what we got:

MUC-DME-MAD-DBX-LAX-LHR-FRA-PUN-DUB-BRU-BCE-PEK-PKC- (and this is where it got trickier! But we got there!) -KUL-CUN-NAS-SVO-SFO-OGZ (I thought I’d beaten T.T. here for sure, but then he comes back and finishes me off!) – ZUR! Eeh, the things you (we) do when bored, eh? :)

It was just then that a stewardess approached us and told us to switch off all our electronic devices in a thick German accent that brooked no opposition.

Any-Letter Airport Code got me thinking: we could set up and organize a large-scale, multi-participant game of “Boarding Pass Bingo”! The idea is pretty straightforward:

More: A very weird game! No cheating possible …

May 6, 2012

The UK’s PR Disaster: Heathrow.

In Geneva we’d been told all sorts of horror stories about London’s Heathrow Airport recently having been turned into a nightmare of delays, huge lines and other horridness you’d normally expect from some backward banana republic, not the UK. Strange, I thought – just last week I was in England and all was OK at its main airport. Now? There’s just one word to describe it: chaos. Lines for both security and passport control were two hours long, and we hear they can get even longer. It’s so bad it resembles the hellhole that is New York’s JFK, or Moscow’s Sheremetevo about ten years back.

We were lucky – we weren’t heading for the UK. We were just connecting there. Thank goodness. Otherwise we’d have had to have joined in the fun. So here’s a warning to anyone going to the UK soon: be prepared. Make sure you’ve plenty to read, listen to, and/or watch on-the-go! I can’t imagine what’s going to happen here later this year when the Olympics start… I think getting to France first might be the best option – and coming through the Channel Tunnel!

More: It’s always sunny in… Geneva

October 21, 2011

High-Sea Pu-East

Here we are continuing the world airport theme.

I’d heard a lot of good things about the new Pudong airport in Shanghai (Shanghai Pudong is written 上海浦东, and is translated, probably, as “High-Sea Pu-East”; the Han character “pu” – 浦 – I’m told has no meaning on its own).

Anyway, like I was saying, I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Now, after experiencing it, I’m ready to join in chorus of praise.

The building is huge – no, it’s ein Koloss! (since I’m writing this in Frankfurt Airport, I couldn’t resist getting a little bit of Deutsch in here!). Tons of space and air… The only thing that spoils it all is the grey sky outside the stained-glass windows… Ground services move about between the planes on a four-lane route painted on the apron. Now there’s a first.

In short: brand spanking new, big, convenient and quick (by the time you’ve walked from the arrival gate to baggage retrieval, your luggage is already on the conveyor). Do you remember my tale about JFK airport here? Well, in Pudong, it’s the exact opposite! It seems to me that China is preparing for becoming the most flown to and from country in the world (or has it made it already?).

Here’s a rather unusual but nice and shiny sculpture in the arrivals hall. Though you can’t quite see it in the pic, behind it water runs down the walls.

Sculpture in Pudong Airport

See more > VIP lounges, kids area and a beautiful sky …

July 4, 2011

Airport Quiz!

Heathrow is not really an easy place to navigate. Guess what is the next gate’s number? Well, as I mentioned this is Heathrow. You better use your imagination here ionstead of logic. Otherwise it is likely you to experience certain difficulties finding your gate …

More: Airport Quiz!. . .