I used to love flying from East Midlands Airport around 10 or so years ago. I’m here this morning, but the experience is rather like being in the waiting room for hell these days. Apart from the fact that it’s noisy and crowded, even at 5.45 am (which I can just about cope with), Manchester Airports Group who own it these days have simply turned it into one big method of extracting money from the passengers.
I’ve paid the best part of £20, pre-booked, for around 14 hours in the long stay car park (a decade ago it was around £5 for the day in the short stay in front of the terminal – I think it’s nearer £30 now) and the decidedly average breakfast I’ve just eaten had an extra 8 pence charged on top of the £6.45 for a “Great British Breakfast” (without a drink), for a meager sachet of ketchup.
Then there’s the way you’re forced to wind your way through ‘duty free’ once you get past the security checks and the way the departure boards exhort you to ‘relax and shop’ – not two words that really go together in my experience.
But at least they’ve dropped all that ‘Nottingham East Midlands Airport’ nonsense they went in for when they bought it. Recognising Derby and Leicester in the airport logo is a much smarter idea, as Derby is the closest city and the airport is in Leicestershire.
I even prefer Heathrow and Stansted these days to this truly awful place. At least there is some semblance of competition for services at those airports and for about the same price as a not so great British breakfast at East Midlands Airport, you can get a really nice one with a drink at Chez Gerard’s, Stansted.
Still, today can only get better. And I am flying to Glasgow, which had a civilised airport the last time I went there.
6.30am – Someone else has just walked past me grumbling about the ‘relax and shop’ messages on the departure boards. See, it’s not just me …