Friday, 10 July 2009

The hell of Luton Airport

You may remember that "London" Luton Airport was introducing a £1 charge to drop people off, well, it has been introduced and predictable chaos has ensued according to this Times article.

To make this system work they have "re-engineered" the road system and it had been chaotic with tailbacks of more than a mile greeting travellers. The management said it could take up to "six months to clear the congestion caused by the new scheme"!

You should also read the comments, they are all depressingly true. A number of times I've had to queue down some dingy stairs and that was just to get into the EasyJet holding pen. The ceilings in the check-in areas are low and just make it depressing from the start.

We are due to fly from Luton in the near future, we are equidistant from Stansted (a nice airy airport with good facilities) and Luton but the times worked out better from Luton. I'd forgotten how grim it is. I do this everytime thinking it doesn't matter what the airport is like. As I get older (and the justified complaints from the wife get louder), I'm not sure I can keep doing this so hopefully I will engineer it so this is my last trip from Luton.

Just to give an example of the general shabbyness of the Luton offering, I looked into getting some foreign currency. Now it always used to be the case (thanks Fool) that the cheapest way (better than high street) to get currency was to reserve it online for airport pick up with TravelEx (they would guarantee current rate or better). I used to do this a lot from Stanstead and it worked very well until they replaced their TravelExs with TTTMoneyCorp (another dubious BAA deal to squeeze out more money no doubt). To be fair to them they seem to have improved their offerings and website so are now comparable.

However if you look at Luton Airport (and you can only find this out by interrogating their Flash terminal map), you see that their provider of choice is The Change Group who have an unbelievably shabby website form that doesn't tell you any information that you's like to know like what are the rates, are they guaranteed and will you be open when I turn up! If you wade through their T&Cs , you will find out that the rates are whatever they are when you come into the airport (inflated!), if you want to cancel a reservation you'll have to ring the shop at the relevant airport (very high tech!) and the opening times are...damn I can't find it now (very useful) but it said somewhere on their shonky site (the currency converter is still "under construction") that they were "normal opening hours".

Bah! Anyway, I shall report back once I have gone through Luton hell again.


Anonymous said...

It's great to read that you like the site.

You're correct that Travelex no longer has a store in Luton, however I am pleased to advise that we do offer... next day home delivery (free over £500)

Travelex EMEA Online Manager

Dave Licence said...

At least the queues inside the airport have improved. I remember one time the queue for departures snaked all the way around the first hall, past the passport guys, all the way around the landing, down the stairs, all the way to the end of the terminal to the atms, back to the stairs then half way to the atms again.

Luton Airport said...

Avoid too much hanging around at Luton Airport - check the status of your flight on our info pages. Live arrivals info including any delays:

Hope its helpful.