All posts by Tom

Tom is the Founder and Chief Blogger of LateDeparture.com. He is a very keen traveller and (obviously) loves to explore airports around the globe. He also enjoys feedback on his posts, so don't be shy and write a comment!

Eating healthy at the airport a myth?

Think back when you last rushed to the airport dangerously close to the final call of your flight only to find your plane being delayed for an unknown amount of time. Even worse, it’s evening and you haven’t eaten anything since lunch – you were wo looking forward for that sandwich on the plane. What to do now? Of course you could rush to that McDonald’s outlet in terminal 2 and quickly stuff yourself with your usual Quarter Pounder with Cheese and gain 510 calories in a blink of an eye. But we both know that’s not really the most clever choice nor will it satisfy you for the rest of the evening.

So, is there a healthier alternative at the airport? There sure is, as my friends at LifeApps wrote in their blog “Healthy snacks for travellers” you should follow three simple rules:

  1. Eat light
  2. Drink plenty of water
  3. Consume caffeine and alcohol in moderation

I know, you now probably think, well, I knew that already, but can you explain this in a bit more practical way, please? Sure, we can! Life Apps defined it in the following way:

Eat light: this is the heart of this post. By eating light we want to avoid fatty (especially saturated fat) and sugary foods, and empty calories. When it comes to snacks, there ARE healthy alternatives to airport food courts, and I’ll go into some of those alternatives in a moment.

Water: this is hardly a news flash, but it bears repeating: stay hydrated, whether you’re flying internationally or are holed up in your office! It’s especially important when flying, however, as the air being recirculated in aircraft cabins is quite dry. Moreover, caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate this condition, contributing to the risk of dehydration. The general rule is that you should drink ~12 oz. of water for each hour you fly.

Caffeine & alcohol in moderation: as an addicted, er, dedicated coffee drinker, this one’s a bit tough for me. In general, don’t go nuts with the quad espresso’s… a cup or two of caffeinated coffee is OK, just be mindful that coffee is a diuretic and you don’t want to be dehydrated on the road. As for alcohol, my only advice is to be careful when going out to dine with a group of colleagues. The best strategy: drink sparingly before dinner, and you’ll be much more able to be disciplined about what you eat during dinner! Keep “all things in moderation” as your mantra, and you should be just fine.

The blog article then goes on and provides a few very good snack alternatives. My favourite of the lot definitely has to be the Larabar – a very tasty yet nutritiously well balanced snack bar. You find them in the US in abundance yet they are harder to find in the UK (try the Whole Food outlets or selected speciality stores).

So, can you only eat healthy at the airport when you bring your own snacks? Not at all. Most airport eateries feature healthier alternatives as well. At Heathrow for example you find fruit, nuts and lean wraps in most Pret-a-Manger, Eat, Nero and WHSmith. As listed before, check the labels for their nutritious information and select low fat, low sugar and low salt food.

[Via LifeApps]
Picture from Flickr

Surprise: Heathrow worst performing airport in Europe

What a surprise! According to a study published by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), London’s Heathrow airport is the worst performing airport in Europe:

AEA’s survey of its members’ punctuality at 27 major airports identifies London Heathrow as the most affected, with 44.1% of European departures subject to delays of 15 minutes or more – substantially higher than second-place Dublin with 33.0%, followed by Helsinki, Geneva and Frankfurt – all three of which are customarily to be found in the lower half of the delay table.

This surely comes as a huge surprise to all of us. Not really. Heathrow has long been troubled by lengthy delays many caused by its limited number of runways and overall capacity problems. According to the report 15.3 per cent of outgoing flights delays were caused by problems with airport and air traffic control, while a further 11.1 per cent was blamed on loading and handling issues.

This news couldn’t have come at a worse time for BAA, the owner of Heathrow airport as the Daily Mail writes

The latest figures will add further pressure on the Government to end BAA’s much-criticised monopoly on London’s major airports.

The least affected airport, according to the report, was Munich airport which we already featured in the top 10 most punctual airports worldwide.

 

(Picture by Flickr – some rights reserved)

Kodak moment at Rochester airport?

Rochester, home of the Kodak corporation is a 200,000 people city in Monroe county, New York state, south of Lake Ontario. And despite the towns small size it actually has an international airport called “Greater Rochester International Airport” (IATA: ROC). Just don’t expect to fly there directly from anywhere far away, it’s not that international (in fact, I think the only international flight is across the lake to Toronto). But at least it features frequent flights to and from JFK. The only problem is that if JFK is disrupted for some reason, you’re stuck at Kodak’s home airport.

And that’s exactly what happened last time I went there for business: I was hoping to get back to JFK quickly in order to catch my flight back to London Heathrow. But unfortunately a major storm over New York caused my JetBlue flight to be delayed by several hours (and making me miss all possible flights back to London that day, but that’s another story…).

So, what was there to do at thrilling Rochester airport? Here’s my top 5:

  1. Feast on JetBlue’s generous food and drink offerings (mind the cookies, but indulge on the blue crisps)
  2. Make use of the free Wifi (while getting annoyed with yourself for leaving the charger in the checked bag)
  3. Search for the one coffee shop which actually does have soy milk coffee (the one between the two concourses has!)
  4. Calm down the lovely lady next to you who has tickets for the premiere of the Sex and the City movie at the Radio City Music Hall tonight
  5. Bond with fellow stranded travellers and complain in loud voices about the lack of information (and the distasteful cookies, see 1.)

What? You think that stained glass thing (see picture above) should have made it into the top 5? Common, stay focused! 😉

 

(Picture from Flickr)

The 10 most on-time airports worldwide

Airport statistics are a fine thing as they give you an indication of where potential problems lie. Especially if you have the choice of different routes, it makes sense to take the on-time statistics of a particular airport into account when planning your travels.

So, which airport is the worlds most efficient one? According to a Forbes Travlerer article, the winning airport is Haneda airport in Tokyo (HND) with 90% of its arrivals and departures on-time. Never heard of Haneda? Me neither, but according to the article, the airport is the fourth busiest airport in the world primarily handling domestic traffic. It’s bigger sister airport, the well known Narita International (NRT) makes it on to the 2nd place. Well done, Japan!

Interestingly, 6 out of the 10 most on-time airports are located in Asia, only two from the US (Orlando and Houston) and one from Europe (Munich) make it into this elite group – maybe some of these airport managers should have a summer exchange class organized in Asia…

  1. Haneda (HND), Tokyo, Japan – 90%
  2. Narita International (NRT), Tokyo, Japan – 84.2%
  3. Taiwan Taoyuan International, Taipei (TPE), Taiwan – 80.3%
  4. Kingsford Smith International (SYD), Sydney, Australia – 80.1%
  5. Hong Kong International (HKG), Hong Kong, Hong Kong – 79.7%
  6. Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK), Jakarta, Indonesia  – 79.3%
  7. Suvarnabhumi International (BKK), Bangkok, Thailand – 79.3%
  8. Orlando International (MCO), Orlando, USA – 79.8%
  9. Franz Josef Strauss Airport (MUC), Munich, Germany – 77.8%
  10. George Bush International (IAH), Houston, USA – 77%

Read the full Forbes Traveler article here.

 

(Picture by Flickr)

Airport Installs 3D Body Scanners to Catch Criminals

3D Body Scanner at Kelowna airportThis could be exciting – Kelowna airport in Canada installs the first 3D Body Scanners. Watch your flight time carefully next time your fly home from this British Colombia airport as starring at your 3D image could become addictive…

“The paddles rotate around the body. The radio frequency penetrates the clothing … bounces off the skin and gives … a 3-D holographic image of the body,” said Ian McNaugton, the National Sales Manager for L3 Communications, which makes the machines.

read more

Huge cues for Ryanair’s long-haul flights?

During a press conference in Germany, Ryanair’s Boss Michael O’Leary announced a new long-haul service that would feature “beds and blowjobs” in its business class configuration. Yes, you read correctly. Watch the video to hear it for yourself. Also, pay attention to Anja Reugling’s reaction, Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland who was caught in surprise about her bosses statement.

According to the always reliable UK tabloid newspaper Daily Star, Ryanair later confirmed O’Leary’s comments and said, “Beds and Blowjobs” is the working title for their business class service. Sounds more like a marketing trick but if they have the guts to actually launch this “service”, expect long (male) cues in front of the Ryanair gates, overly eager to board the aircraft first 😉

Reliable Zurich

Well, I think you saw it coming, didn’t you? Of course, there was no delay at Zurich airport on my Swiss flight back to London last night. But don’t be disappointed just yet! As Zurich is kind of home turf to me, I’m still able to give you the lowdown about this airport:

After the major rehaul of the entire airport in 2003, Switzerland’s main hub is now back on the radar of decent airports. Particulary nice is the so called “Airside Centre”, the main area for shopping, restaurants and the starting point to all gates. It offers an attractive high roof and a nice wooden floor. However, the main problem with the airport overall is that other than at most airports, the security checks in Zurich are located close to the actual gates, so after the main shopping area, and not after the passport checks, which means you need to plan ahead and be very contious of your remaining time. Also, if you depart from the E gates you need to take the shuttle train to the midfield terminal which adds another 10 to 15 minutes to your journey. This terminal contains some shops as well but the selection is far smaller than in tha Airside Centre.

But without further adu, here are my top 5 things you can do while waiting at Zurich airport (if that ever happens…):

  1. Choose your favourite “Luxemburgerli” flavour from the Lindt & Sprüngli shop
  2. Hop on the “Gates E”-train and experience the Heidi and alpine scene animations from Swiss Tourism (there’s a different one each way)
  3. Count how many times the friendly Swiss greet you with a “Grüezi
  4. Press your nose against the Rolex glass cabinets in the Swiss watch store and dream of your lottery win on Saturday
  5. Try to find someone who actually can speak the 4th official Swiss language Romansh

Facts
Airport name: Zurich Airport / Zurich Kloten
Short code: ZRH
Website: http://www.zurich-airport.com
Design factor: 4/5
Shopping factor: 3/5
Toilets factor: 2/5
Overall factor: 3/5

Top 5 things to do while waiting in…. Copenhagen

Thanks a lot for all your feedback on my first blog entry. One of many comments was that you would like to see a top X list of things to do. Fair enough, so here’s the one for Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport:

  1. Visit the tiny but iconic Lego store – DKK 0
  2. Decide between the brown and the black leather jacket in the Puma store – DKK 2,000
  3. Drink a large beer at the Sportsbar while watching the Euro Soccer – DKK 67
  4. Make room for the next beer downstairs in the roomy toilets – DKK 0
  5. Watch the gorgeous blond across the hallway – priceless

Again, comments are of course more than welcome 🙂

(Image from Flickrsome rights reserved)

Lengthy wait at Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport

Copenhagen is a beautiful city, especially when you visit it in June where the daylight hours are the longest of the year and even more so if you are lucky and find warm and sunny weather. All of these parameters were true for me when I visited Denmark’s capital last weekend. And for the size of the city there is a lot to do and see. My favourites were the alternative area Christiania or simply a trip with the water taxi around the harbour.

Continue reading Lengthy wait at Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport