Perth Airport Disappoints Again

PerthIntlAirportIt seems that just about every time I use Perth Airport in Western Australia I suffer another disappointment.

This time I am using the international terminal.

Perth is the gateway to Western Australia. Unless you arrive by ship, which is rare, or car, then you will transit through Perth Airport.

Because of the mining boom which has helped make the local economy one of the most dynamic in the world, Perth is experiencing very rapid growth. As a result more people are visiting Perth, mainly for business, rather than tourism. The fact is that just about every flight to Perth is full, and passenger traffic has been rising at more than ten percent per year for a number of years.

Unfortunately, the airport hasn’t quite kept up with that growth. This is not entirely the fault of airport management as much of that growth couldn’t have been predicted, and it has certainly moved a lot faster than expected. However, it is also true that airport management has been slow to react. They have started to build more terminals and other infrastructure, but it is an attempt to catch up rather than to build for the future.

After I arrived at the airport, getting through check-in, immigration and security was fine. Actually getting into the terminal was a major problem though as there are massive roadworks being done on the approach to and immediately outside the international terminal. The roadworks are a necessity, so I don’t have an issue with them per se. The real issue, however, is that the approach to the terminal is very confusing, and the signage to advise visitors which lane to take is absolutely woeful. Careless, badly though out with no regard at all for the users, most of whom would be unfamiliar with the new arrangements. It is difficult enough for locals to work out where to go when dropping off or picking up passengers, but it must be very worrying for visitors who don’t know the area at all.

The next issue was the quality of food inside the departures area. I had an early morning flight, so craved a warm drink and a small pastry. The pastry, for which they charge a fortune, airports never being cheap, was as stale as uncured concrete. It was simply atrocious. Whilst I don’t blame airport management for my stale pastry, they should have some sort of quality control to ensure that customers are at least served food that is edible.

The third issue was lack of WiFi in the terminal. Yes, there are a few terminals which offer free Internet, but Perth International terminal is one of the few terminals, in my experience, which does not offer free and open WiFi.

Ok, I acknowledge that the is a cost to provide free WiFi on a mass basis, but given the cut the airport gets from my stale pastry, I reckon the least that they can do is to give me the option to update emails or do some work on my iPad whilst I’m breaking my teeth on their poor excuse for airport food.

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