03-05-07

Brussels Airport - the return.

Some weeks ago I had a discussion with a dear friend of mine who works at the airport about the quality of the services at Brussels Airport. I have been flying a lot these last months, and compared to the (nearly frightening) efficiency of Munich or the incredibly well-run overall service at Schiphol in Amsterdam, I found it quite a disappointment.

 

Although he told me Zaventem was the best airport, I convinced him (slightly exaggerating) that it was amongst the worst:

§         for European flights you need your jogging shoes to get at your A gate (it can really long) and it is very boring to do it each time again

§         the check-in takes quite some time compared to others

§         the shops and restaurants are pretty poor

§         an article in the newspaper explained quite some luggage got lost in 2006 (even though it appears to be quite normal for a transit airport like Brussels)

§         etc etc

 

We went together to watch the cycling event ‘De Ronde Van Vlaanderen’ in Geraardsbergen, and arrived talking about it again. The day after an unannounced firemen strike occured... Although I have no idea why it occured and I believe that striking is a right if used under the right circomstances, it at least helped me in convincing that flying off Brussels is always a bit of an adventure.

 

One of the elements, the lack of good shops and restaurants, is really a missed opportunity. For one, for the passengers it makes the long walking and waiting a bit nicer. These grey walls and desolate coffee bars don’t contribute a lot in creating a happy atmosphere. But secondly, if well run this would create a lot of additional income, which in turn could be invested again in the modernism and comfort for its travellers. An airport could be (co-)financed by a well-developed and managed commercial area, which would benefit everyone. Cinemas do this via their 3C’s (Candy, Coke and Chips), but you see alternate business models built on commercial or advertising funding everywhere: from TV stations to search engines to flight tickets to ...

 

This said, my last 2 passages went flawless, and the rebranding of the Brussels Airlines do the airport very well, even though I remain with a previous remark (see http://becks.skynetblogs.be/post/3856723/brussels-airlines) and some search engine optimisation (try typing BA in Google) remains needed.

 

Seen our discussions, I see the secret hand of my friend in my last passages. My check-in, departures and arrivals were completely perfect, so timely that I expect him to have organized this especially to convince me. So a sincere thank you Jan A, I know you are behind all this, and that you are probably already designing a state-of-the-art commercial arena as we speak!

 

J

bart