SHAH Jalal International Airport has been ranked as the ninth worst airport in Asia in a survey conducted by an organisation called Sleeping in Airports. Passengers who had the privilege of passing through this airport will know very well why it made it to the list of worst airports in Asia.
Compared to a decade ago the quality of service at this airport has improved, but it is still below par when compared to other international airports. Some of the major and basic issues that need immediate attention at the airport are highlighted below.
Toilets are an important part of an airport as it is natural that, before or after a plane journey, passengers may need to use the toilet to freshen up. However, the condition of the toilets at this airport—dirty and unhygienic floor, commodes and urinals; broken, missing or dysfunctional hand showers, flushes and faucets; no toilet paper, tissue roll, paper towel or hand dryer; odour of urine; and dirty and broken mirrors—may not help passengers to freshen up, rather it will make them feel sick. It just seems that the people in charge of cleaning and maintaining the airport toilet lack proper training about how toilets at an international airport should be maintained.
During peak times it is not uncommon for passengers to wait for more than an hour to receive their luggage from the conveyer belt. In addition, a passenger may get damaged luggage or even wet luggage if it is raining.
Often times there are not enough trolleys around the conveyer belt area, which is why arriving passengers, after completing the immigration process, often have to haggle or get into a competition with other passengers to get hold of a trolley.
Many passengers arriving at the airport in the middle of the night wish to stay at the airport until dawn. However, the lack of pest control makes it tough for the passengers to stay there as they have to constantly battle with mosquitoes and flies.
Chaos and talking and arguing in a loud voice are common features of the airport. Sometimes one may feel that one has come to a kitchen market in Dhaka. The electronic message boards and the TV screens often do not provide updated information about gate number or conveyer belt number, leaving passengers utterly confused.
A reliable taxi or limousine service at an affordable rate is also a common service provided at international airports. However, limousine service at this airport is unheard of and the taxi service that exists is expensive, which forces most arriving passengers to arrange their own transportation beforehand.
The writer is a Transportation Engineer working in Thailand.