x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Great that T3 at DXB is heaving but will my ideas fly?

Dubai airport's Terminal 3 is a throbbing success story - packed to its rafters with passengers. But there a few things the airport could do to make life so much better.

Any doubters of the fact that Dubai's economy - or at least the travel and tourism sectors - is experiencing a new boom should have been at DXB Terminal 3 on Monday morning.

The terminal was bunged to the rafters, if there had been any in the glittering glass and steel building.

It really was throbbing, but the processing systems were coping - just.

If Emirates Airline hits the challenging targets for passenger numbers over the coming years, the strain might begin to show at T3, but of course that's why there is a new T4, and why further down the line there will be the spanking new Dubai World Central.

But however smooth and efficient the DXB experience, there are a few things the airport and the airline could do to make it even better. Here, in no particular order, are a few things I recommend to enhance the Dubai passenger experience:

 

1 Segregate passengers at check-in according to luggage load

It's frustrating to line up behind several families all of whom decided to re-equip their home electronic systems on their Dubai visit, when all I have is the one piece to check in. Giant TV screens, speakers and such do not fit easily on the luggage weighing machines. Why not have a couple of dedicated check-ins for these passengers, marshalled by appropriately muscular Emirates staff?

 

2 Let's have a hard and fast rule on shoes

We've all done it: stripped down nearly naked at the security line, unpacked laptops, poured coins into the plastic tray along with watches, keys, glasses et cetera, and walked through the electronic arch confidently, or at least as confident as you can be when your belt-less trousers are going to fall down any minute. Then the machine sounds to tell staff that there is some metal item still on your person, and you have to remove shoes. I never travel in steel-capped boots, but miraculously when shoes are removed you're in the clear. Why is this?

 

3 Provide better warnings on the time it will take you to get to you departure gate

It's great to have a dedicated facility - the new A concourse - for the Airbus A380, avoiding the bother of having to board a bus. But it's a long way from check-in and immigration, and inevitably passengers don't realise how long it will take them to get to the gate. I'm sure it adds to the number of late shows on aircraft, which must be as frustrating for the flight crew as it is for the passengers who got there on time. A few conspicuous signs - "Gate A22 is 20 minutes from here" - would help.

 

4 Clamp down on the hand-luggage rules

Some passengers seem to flout these with impunity. How often do you see somebody struggling to get a full-sized, fully-laden suitcase into an overhead locker? I feel sorry for the cabin crew, mostly svelte young ladies, having to heave these gigantic items into place. What about on-the-spot fines for passengers who have ignored the rules on cabin luggage?

 

5 End the Airbus "big freeze"

I appreciate this is a problem for the aircraft manufacturer rather than Emirates, but the air conditioning on the A380 still isn't working properly.

It's good to get a blast of cold air when you board after the sweaty exertions of getting through the terminal.

But after a while the temperature drops further, your extremities go numb, and the entire cabin ends up swathed in those wafer-thin airline blankets. I had three on the other day, and was still too cold to sleep.

Fix it, Airbus.

 

fkane@thenational.ae