Airports do compete too and one of the ways to do so is trying to provide the best passenger experience. In this blog I have already expressed my preference for Amsterdam Schiphol (and I have not even tried the amphibious vehicle tour or the virtual butterfly garden), but now another airport I know well is entering the fray: Barcelona airport has just unveiled plans to build a golf course and...a beach club!
The story caught my attention, maybe because I have just come back from a trip to Bergen, Norway, where, taking advantage of the airport location (see picture below) and of the amazing spell of warm weather (yes, it can be warm and sunny in Norway too!)
My favourite bathing spot on the far side of the runway!
I managed to have a bath in the sea while awaiting my flight. I must say it was not an easy task to find a spot with open access to the sea since most of the seafront is taken up by private houses with gardens, but, hey!...here is where I got...(and yes, it feels great to swim a bit before your flight!)
I am sure being able to spend some time on the beach before boarding your flight home at BCN, could prove popular with the millions of tourists that use the airport every year (although the Catalan capital is not a "pure" beach and sand destination, it is not unusual to find people wearing little more than sandals and shorts on flights to BCN during the summer season!)
Sources at the airport confirmed that the idea is to have a private company run both facilities, the golf and beach club, that will be located on airport-owned land next to the terminals, although not physically connected to it (so some sort of shuttle service would need to be set up too) and, both the beach club and the golf club are also going to be open to the general public, not only airport users.
Making the best out of location!
The beach club might be ready for next year's summer season, while the golf course is expected to be completed by 2014. In a way, it is a sort of "come-back" since there was already a golf club years ago (it was actually the oldest in Catalonia) in the space where now the sea-side airport runway is located.
This is also a perfect example of an airport embracing the idea of treating passengers, not only airlines, as "clients" and making of the airport not just a transit point but an enjoyable part of the whole travel experience.
I can think of some other airports next to the sea...who will be next?