I now realize why City governments believe that the opening and running of airports is such an important element for any city. Aside from attracting the obvious numbers of travelers making their way there, they often cite the airport as the Welcome Mat for the traveler – an extension of what they’ll get upon arrival. And, the more I travel, the more I see that this is so very true. So, why is it, that they choose to muddy that mat so often with the lack of basic organization?
In the least, as I stated in a previous post, they’re figuring out here in Rome that bad Baggage Services costs them dearly in terms of the brand—and this is a good start. Returning from Prague, I waited 50 mins. for my lonely bag to hiccup onto the belt (a different one than previously indicated on the monitors). In Prague, a city not fully dependent on the tourist dollar, the wait was something closer to 10. Nonetheless, when it comes to signage, they’re taking their cues from the Romans in numbering and lettering their terminals.
But, it really didn’t matter. An express bus straight to the metro line was fabulous, even though on your way back, you have no clue as to which terminal you fly out of. [They offer ‘Non Schengen flights’, which is fine if you’re a European, but…], and the bus (un)naturally goes from Terminal 3 to 1 to 2 for some odd reason I haven’t quite worked out. Terminals 1 and 2 were simultaneously indicated with Terminals A, B, C & D – in an effort to outdo the Romans on confusing the tourists.
But, once on the subway, you’re treated to electronic signs which actually tell you your stop (and not just the final destination), and, that most enigmatic of modern conveniences, elevators that take you up to street level. Riding the escalator, you find that the Czechs prefer their ads tilted slightly, just like you. I can’t decide if I liked them better that way, although I’ve been known to watch movies on my mac lying down, screen sideways. I think the angled posters added a nice touch, although I kept tilting my head so far, I almost fell down the stairs - twice!
One thing that surprised all of us attending the WIN CONFERENCE in Prague, was the level of smoking. We’d all forgotten all about that. Incredibly, at the Prague Hilton, boasting an atrium so high, it makes the Pantheon pale by comparison, you’d think you’d never ever get a whiff of the stuff. Turns out, heat doesn’t rise after all. The absolutely beautiful place was filled with cigar smokers and their stench.
Going into smoky bars & restaurants was a sort of walk down memory lane – and, I must admit, it kind of added to the atmosphere (in more ways than one!).