Sunday, January 30, 2005

We're back.. and Seeb Airport still sucks


We're back from KL. We had a great time and I have a million and one things in my head that I want to write about. I'll start with where the trip started, Seeb Airport.

Our flight from Oman was at 1.40am. It would have been unfair to ask anyone to take us to the airport that late so we went extra early thinking we can buy books and magazines from Turtles and then hang out at the Costa Coffee in the duty free. So there we were all checked in and already past passport control two hours ahead of our flight. We headed up to the Duty Free only to find out that the whole floor was designated as a smoking lounge. How considerate of our airport management to give a whole floor for smokers complete with Duty Free, Costa Coffee, a bar, and three fast food franchises. And how super considerate of them that those of who don't smoke and want to breathe clean air can have the whole ground floor which is strictly non-smoking except that it doesn't have any of the shops or ammenities. While airports around the world confine smokers to tiny glass rooms, Oman gives them half the airport. They've satisfied the smaller portion of their customers by alienating the bigger one.

We tried to brave the smoke upstairs but gave up quickly. The air was full of smoke and we soon found ourselves choking. There must have been hundreds of smokers there. I looked all around for a customer service counter or anyone who I could complain to, but there was no one. We had to give up and head downstairs to the boring area and just wait for our flight by the "gate".

By the way, Muscat Duty Free is a huge rip off. Other than cigarettes and alcohol, there's nothing there which isn't cheaper in town. I looked at CD's, DVD's, electronics and mobile phones. Everything costs more than the price in town or the same. Nothing's cheaper. The place S U C K S. I met a British guy there looking to buy cigars who told me that cigars were 30% cheaper at Bahrain Duty Free. Two things struck me: 1) Bahrain Duty Free is known to be expensive, and 2) Both Muscat and Bahrain duty free shops are managed by the same company! (it's an Irish company called Aeranta or something like that) Are we destined to be ripped off forever?

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