First day at the new airport

First day at the new airport - September 28, 2006
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(Photo: Jerry)

Jerry reports: Just some comments and pictures of 28th. Overall, it's great and the problems can be fixed. Delaying the opening would have been a pointless waste of time in my opinion. Most problems would have arisen at any time it was opened.
The departure area and operation is world-class (before immigration). The space is fine and area for drop-off vehicles terrific (will be even better when not congested by TV vehicles). I was with a departing passenger leaving on Singapore Air flight leaving at 2:35 pm. The checking-in was very fast and uncongested and signs adequate. The flight left 20 minutes late but arrived in Singapore on time. Many people to assist first-time (almost everyone!) visitors.
After immigration, the area seems to be designed by King Power...or at least for their benefit. Long walks (past King Power outlets) and few signs (except for King Power) and few moving walkways.
Very few eating places open and very crowded. The original Magic food court that had been open during the late construction process was bursting at the seams.

(Photo: Jerry)

The domestic arrival door A area was open and relatively clear allowing emerging passengers opportunity to easily find people meeting them.
The big problem that will be difficult to solve in the short-term, is the emerging international passenger door area B. It was chaos with passengers unable to get past the jam of meeters and transport touts. The area is hopelessly narrow and very unsatisfactory (pictures attached). International emerging passenger area door C is a little wider and less congested, but still not as easy/clear as the old airport's terminal 1 and 2.
A further problem is meeters/greeters not knowing from which door (B or C) arriving passengers would emerge from. Despite having hundreds of "Airport Help" staff on the departure level where there were few problems, almost no one was available to guide/assist arriving passengers. I was near the domestic arrival information desk when an arriving passenger was asking where to find a taxi. They were told to go downstairs, but the staff did not know how to get there...the jam of people was obscuring the moving walkways to the lower floors.
Getting to public transport was a further problem and passengers could only spill out onto the forecourt and try and figure out how to find a taxi (on the floor below). The area downstairs was jammed with passengers waiting in long "S" lines for taxis. A lot of them hopped on the very frequent shuttle buses to the bus terminal and took taxis from there.
The old AB 1, 2, 3 and 4 airport buses to downtown at Don Muang have been repainted cream color and are now doing a similar service at Suvanaphum for the same price (150 baht).
The taxi surcharge is 50 baht, but the meter gets up to almost 300 baht to the CBD, as opposed to less than 200 baht from Don Muang. But the public buses are very frequent to downtown (35 baht) if you don't have big bags.

(Photo: Jerry)

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