Friday 4 November 2011
Airport Reviews: Canberra
[For more on the airport reviews, read the preamble.]
If you have a delay of more than a couple of hours, I would recommend heading elsewhere. The Australian War Memorial Museum is less than a 15 minute taxi ride away and most of the other big museums and galleries can be reached within 20.
It seemed appropriate to start the airport reviews with Canberra, since getting delayed there gave me the idea in the first place.
People mostly visit Canberra for one of two reasons: they have business with the federal government or they are visiting a National Cultural Institution. There are (currently) no international flights to or from Canberra. In consequence, the airport is small and designed for quick getaways. You will spot: politicians, members of the armed services, people wearing grey. You will not spot: celebrities, fashionistas, non-Australians (well hardly any).
The business end
The good news is – check-in and security are both super speedy. The clientele noted above tend to travel light and efficiently.
The bad news is …
The fun (?) part
All those frequent flying politicians head straight to the lounges. If you are flying with Virgin, you can buy a day pass for their lounge. If flying Qantas (and not a member of their frequent flyer programme) you have limited options for eating/relaxing.
There is a Relay shop that sells a great range of magazines and newspapers, a limited range of books, some okay souvenirs that won’t actively offend your loved ones and basic toiletries. There is a Hudsons Coffee which – look, if you need caffeine, it’s not terrible. Not good, but not terrible. There is also a Tuk Chop which has pretty decent dumplings and fried rice. For seating, you’re limited to the seats by the gates, but at least there are plenty of these. And for bonus, the toilets are very clean and shiny.