I’m back on the road again, this time to Macau for DFS Masters of Time, then by road bridge to Hong Kong International Airport and onto Kansai International Airport for the opening of KIX Duty Free in Terminal 1.
I wonder if I can convince Steve Coogan and/or Rob Brydon to join me because my life at present sure feels like an episode from their smash hit travel/comedy/dining television series and film ‘The Trip’.
What was originally planned as a one-off (around northern England), turned into a four-part series (The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain and The Trip to Greece). And while Coogan and Brydon have vowed they will make no more episodes, I would love them to join me on The Trip through Travel Retail.
For now though I will just have to travel solo. And while my edition might not have the humour – nor, certainly, the brilliant impersonations – of the original, I reckon it has a pretty enthralling narrative all the same.
As mentioned in my most recent Blog, last week took me through Hong Kong International (HKIA), Singapore Changi Terminal 2 (and 4 on the return leg) and Abu Dhabi International’s new Terminal A, plus a couple of days in Dubai at (but not playing in) the 30th Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. I’ve reported on my experience of HKIA already and so this time I am focusing on Changi and Abu Dhabi International with more on each location to follow.
Spell it frontwards or backwards but wow is wow. And both these airports prompt that interjection time and again. I learn more in a single airport or store walk with a commercial director, a retailer or a food & beverage operator than I could learn in weeks of sitting in my office and reporting from afar and these encounters both proved prime examples.
You have to see airports, breathe airports, walk airports to be able to talk airports. It helps that I love them as places, as human crossroads, as often magnificent architectural wonders and superb commercial emporiums.
I am often asked to state my favourite airport, a selection I find invidious as the best of the best offer very different attributes. But certainly Abu Dhabi International, Changi and Hong Kong International are high on my list.
This week we reported that Manchester Airport’s revamped Terminal 2 has been recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful airports according to the prestigious design and architecture awards Prix Versailles.
I haven’t seen Manchester T2 yet (you can see our gallery of images here) but it certainly looks the part. Abu Dhabi’s new T2 only opened on 1 November so was too late for this year’s ranking but I will eat my favourite Flying Kiwi cap if it’s not on the list next time.
As I write this Blog to the gentle sway of the South China Sea on the Cotai Water Jet, here are some of the pictorial highlights from my recent sojourn. Messrs Coogan and Brydon, have you got your bags packed?
NEXT STOP, ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – A WONDER OF THE AIRPORT WORLD