On the day Scotland proudly initiated its own dedicated TV channel, it also once again demonstrated that the airport serving its capital city lamentably underperforms. After landing on Sunday on an easyJet flight from Basle at 4.15pm, my fellow passengers and I did not access the passport control hall till 4.55pm, 40 minutes later. First we had to endure an uncomfortable unnecessarily prolonged wait for buses to arrive, none having been “ordered”, according to the captain. How could that arise? Did our arrival come as a surprise?
There followed a lengthy process involving about 155 passengers and baggage being shoehorned into two buses. I do not know their capacity but am reasonably confident a world record was set for the one I was on. Once we were all squeezed in, it did not depart, but waited on the other bus to travel in convoy. After all, we are talking about a journey of at least 400 metres, one not to be attempted single handed.
Now moving, salvation seemed near at hand, but it was not to be. About 60 yards from our destination, we stopped for what felt like an interminable period, comforted by a total lack of any information as to what was happening. The doors were locked, controlled by a driver with whom it was impossible to communicate. People were becoming uncomfortable, children naturally extremely restless in what was a claustrophobic scenario. By this stage a toilet had not been available for almost an hour.
Contrast that with our earlier arrival at Basle, not a capital city. Passengers stepped off the plane into the covered walkway and walked straight into the terminal. Hardly rocket science. I have endured similar experiences in the past at Edinburgh Airport, as have others. Leaving aside the gross discomfort and discourtesy experienced, what message does this send out to visitors to Edinburgh? I would suggest, a lousy one. And, irony of ironies, at passport control there were staff wearing jackets emblazoned with “Welcome to Edinburgh”. Aye right!
Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh