This week: a missing cat, the worst airport and more

Another busy aviation related airport week has passed and with that news about missing cats, stranded passengers a new runway, the world’s worst airports and a frequent renaming of a US airport nicely filled our inbox. Let’s start chronologically:

Early in the week the BBC informed us of passengers that got stranded on a plane sitting on the tarmac at Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; LD reviewed) for more than eight hours after fog caused their flight to be diverted. According to the British broadcaster, the Air India flight was on its way from Mumbai (IATA: BOM) to Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; LD hub page) when the weather conditions forced it to divert to Gatwick. It resumed its journey 9 hous later, arriving at Heathrow a short time after that. Understandably, passengers weren’t happy about the unplanned stop, only 20 minutes flight time away from their scheduled arrival airport and Sussex Police were called to the flight to prevent a breach of the peace as tempers among passengers flared.

Sleeping in airports after your flight has been delayed or you missed your connection isn’t fun. These days there are options from choosing the floor or some uncomfortable terminal seats though. Many airports offer air-side day lounges where you oftentimes can rent rooms for a number of hours. Now Dubai Airport (IATA: DXB; LD reviewed) went a step further by allowing passenger to rent out micro-hotel rooms inside the terminal. Terminal U wrote that the sleeping pod or ‘snoozecube’ provides a little enclosed space for passengers looking for extra privacy, a step up in comfort from terminal seating and somewhere to lay their head. Apparently, each pod is minimalist but functional, with enough room to squeeze in a single bed, TV offering music and movies and a little hanger space. The pods are located at airport departures, Terminal 1 adjacent to Gate 122 and cost Dh65 (€11/$16) per hour to rent.

Then, later in the week, we received the answer to a question that has always been on top of our minds here at LateDeparture: out of all the airports in the world, which one would be the worst? Well, the Sydney Morning Herald helped us find a first indication as according to their article, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 (IATA: MNL) was given the dubious title based on reviews from the readers of a online budget travel guide. Explaining why Manila’s airport was the world’s worst, the website cited passenger complaints of mobile phones and jewellery getting lost at the security checks.

Improvements are certainly on the top of the agenda at Germany’s Frankfurt airport (IATA: FRA). The country’s largest airport inaugurated its 4th runway. The Washington Post wrote that the €760 million ($1.05 billion) construction project involved building taxiways over a busy road, planting hundreds of acres of replacement trees and relocating wildlife including frogs and salamanders. The benefits are obvious as the airport says the new runway, parallel to two existing ones but about a mile (1.5 kilometers) away, will boost capacity by 50 percent, from 83 takeoffs and landings per hour to a potential 126, and from the current 53 million passengers a year to 88.6 million by 2020.

And finally we have two pieces of odd news for you this week – both come from the US. First, Saturday was declared Jack the Cat Awareness day at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (IATA: JFK; LD hub page). Excuse me? According to the Daily Mail Jack – the cat – disappeared in the American Airlines baggage check area on Aug. 25 when his owner, Karen Pascoe, was relocating from New York to San Francisco and has since been missing. Follow the cat’s Facebook page (pictured) to keep abreast with the news – if you must.

The second news comes from an airport that used to be called Jackson-Evers International Airport (IATA: JAN). now reported that the city’s council approved a request to change the airport’s name to Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. Obviously they wanted to be very clear that the airport is named in honor of the slain civil rights leader. Obviously. The name change is the second one in 7 years. We don’t think any additional comments are necessary.

Have a great, delay free new week!