Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Around the world in 80 (or so) days - May 15, 2022
- Cannes on steroids and gobsmacked in an airport wonderland - May 11, 2022
- A sneak preview of a new wonder of the world - May 10, 2022
I rather like the image above, don’t you? And I embrace its sentiment (in fact I live it).
I found it on the web when looking for appropriate quotes to begin my speech at this year’s FAB (Airport Food & Beverage) Conference & Awards. It strikes me as a lovely consumer motto for our industry.
While trying to source the origin of the quote (alas it turns out to be by that ubiquitous author called ‘Unknown’) I found the same words embedded on numerous travel pictures from around the globe, many of them humorous, some poignant, most set in beautiful, often exotic locations.
But get this. Not one of them was set in an airport. Why not? Is an airport not still an integral part of the magical experience that is travel? Too often, alas, the answer is no. One of my favourite quotes is from the great American travel writer Paul Theroux who wrote (in ‘The Old Patagonian Express’), “The journey’s the thing”. It was a lament for the modern-day obsession with the destination rather than the old-fashioned love of getting there.
Can airports restore that love? Or at least some of it? Can they too nurture a sense of destination, of journey, of marvel – and not just of process? Can they excite and delight and not simply infuriate? My recent Blog on Budapest Airport captured that conundrum – where the landside check-in and security processes are so excruciating that they severely compromise the very real pleasures that lie in waiting airside.
Contrast that with Keflavik Airport, which I visited earlier this month (pictures at the foot of this story). The check-in (even with a low-cost carrier, Wow) was superbly fast and efficient, the staff friendly (whereas I dubbed BA’s Budapest team British Couldn’t Careways) and the security system as clean, crisp and efficient as an Icelandic spa. The benefits to the (very, very good) airside food & beverage proposition (Lagardère Travel Retail) and shopping offer were obvious – relaxed passengers with plenty of dwell time and therefore willing and able to spend.
In judging this year’s FAB (Airport Food & Beverage Awards), I spent hour after hour on social media platforms, reading consumer reviews of airport restaurants, bars and take-away outlets. Time upon time (even with some of the industry’s best offers) I would read comments such as “What do you expect from airport food?”; “Ok, it’s just an airport restaurant”; “Typical airport fare”; “Another airport rip-off” and so on ad infinitum.
Admittedly, social media platforms tend to attract more venting than praise but as someone who appreciates the real excellence of some of the F&B outlets and shops in the airport community, it strikes me that as an industry we can do more to promote what airports (at their best) do offer.
While I sat supping on a cold Icelandic Gull lager at the splendidly charismatic (and authentic) Loksins bar at Keflavik Airport, I wondered if there could be a slogan used by the industry to sum up the best of the airport shopping or dining experience.
What would be your choice if I asked you for a catchphrase or motto? A bottle of fine Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from my native New Zealand to the best suggestion (send to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com).
Wouldn’t it be nice if consumer bloggers started adopting the quote in the image above or those below (two more of my favourites) set against the backdrop of an airport and not just their ultimate travel destination.
So it wouldn’t just be a case of this at one’s destination…
But also this at the airport…