Saturday, June 16, 2007

Don't take a seat.

It's something I've noticed about travelling - they don't really want you to sit down. Since many airports make most of their money from retail, they want you up, on your feet and spending money.

This week, we learned that Heathrow's new Terminal 5, due to open on March 27, 2008, will handle more than 30 million passengers each year, will have 250,000 square feet of shops (that's more than four full-sized American football fields), and 700 seats.

Yup. 700 seats.

For a terminal built to handle more an average of more than 82,000 passengers each day, that's a person-to-seat ratio of about 117 to 1.

Evidently, there will be more seats available in some of the 25 restaurants but you'll have to buy something to sit there.

After missing a flight back from Vienna earlier this year, I had to buy a business-class ticket to get back. It was then that I learned one of the real reasons to fly busuness-class or higher: you get to sit down in the terminal. What's behind the doors of the business-class lounges? Seats. Sure, there's free food and things like that, but the real draw is the seats. No roaming the terminal scoping out a vacant chair. No lugging a coat and carry-on bag to the toilet. No balancing food, drink and luggage while you try to eat. Just real seats.

The Guardian's story about Terminal 5 is here.

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Blogger graycie said...

"a person-to-seat ratio of about 117 to 1" -- Talk about your cut-throat games of Musical Chairs!

10:38 PM  

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