If there’s a big aviation show as slickly organised as NBAA, I haven’t visited it yet.
At most air shows, visitors and journalists are treated at best as sheep or a group of 10-year-olds on a visit to the zoo and at worst as potential terrorists by surly security goons or dim-witted, ill-briefed staff. It’s invariably unbearably hot or cold and damp. Food is overpriced and nasty. You can never get a taxi.
Here, everything is designed round the visitor and the journalist’s life is made easy. The food and coffee is free and delicious. The security staff are charming grandmotherly types who look as if they might offer you some of their home-baked sponge cake as they usher you past. Registration could not be simpler. There are no bag checks, no queues, no jobsworths. The Orlando Orange County Convention Centre is light, roomy and wonderfully air-conditioned. You can even get a complimentary massage or shoe shine.
And in Orlando, or the other cities which host the convention, there are plenty of good, reasonably-priced hotels, just a 10-min ride from the centre.
Orlando’s not my favourite city. Unless you are here with kids, it has all the charm of a shopping mall. But it’s clean, safe and built around the visitor.
All in all, coming to NBAA is a pleasure more than a chore.