Madrid’s new Terminal 4: a walking paradise

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.

Terminal1_resized.JPGIn 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?


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3 Responses to Madrid’s new Terminal 4: a walking paradise

  1. Mark Pilling 23 March, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Hi fbcn, not only can we encourage AENA to do a better job at BCN but I think with some simple changes to signage and security at Madrid they can improve the experience there.
    Not much that can be done about the distances though is there – frequent travellers like you will just have to live with that one,

    all the best

    Mark Pilling

  2. dang 24 March, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    T4 has, however, taken a lot of pressure off T1 and 2. My best time through terminal 1 stands at 17 minutes from the plane landing to me sitting in a taxi on the way to Madrid.

    And the prize for best transfer train has to go to Zurich Airport. Pictures of the Swiss Alps on the tunnel walls flash by the train’s windows in a kind of zoetrope effect and the sound of moo-ing cows and tinkling bells is piped through the carriages.

  3. Mark Pilling 24 March, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    Well dang it’s a long time since I was in Zurich so I’ve got a treat to look forward to there on the transfer train next time I do pass through – sounds like a wacky touch!

    The transfer train at Kuala Lumpur International although a short ride is good because it has a little bit of the roller-coaster feel to it as you go down from the terminal and back up to the satellite. It’s sad that I even remember that really…..

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