I’ve been doing some serious walking in the past two days. You see I’ve been through the new Terminal 4 at Madrid’s Barajas Airport.
It’s big, bold and involves a lot of footwork from kerb to gate, or vice versa. In fact, when I arrived on Monday afternoon I lost count of the number of escalators I took from leaving the BA flight from Heathrow to the taxi rank, via the train that connects the satellite to the main terminal, but it was into double figures.
And leaving on Tuesday with Iberia I was relieved that my gates – H – were only an 8 minute trek. Thank the lucky stars I didn’t have gates U or R, that would have needed a slug of something frisky to cope with a 22 minute hike!
Sorry AENA but this is not a friendly airport. Yes it’s a big statement. But the wayfinding experts weren’t all that expert. It’s confusing.
Security needs looking at too. You fill your plastic trays with laptop, liquids, jackets etc – that often means 2 of them – and then carry them to the X-ray. There’s no roller tables, you struggle with the trays, dragging your hand luggage behind you.
In fact so unfriendly is this airport that some of the people I met in Madrid say they deliberately avoid this terminal, especially if travelling with children.
But I can report something special about Terminal 4: the announcement on the transfer train.
It’s an English accent, and I puzzled who it sounds like because it was strangely familiar.
Then I got it: a striking resemblence to the dulcet tones of Mark Dunkerlery, the excellent CEO of Hawaiian Airlines!
Doing a spot of moonlighting Mark?