Saturday, February 03, 2007

Richmond International—Get it Right!

They’ve been spending many millions on redoing Richmond International Airport. (I don’t know how they call it International; I have yet to see any flight on the arrival or departure board entering or leaving the country.) They say they are turning it into a first-class airport where flying will be fun and easy. After years of construction inconvenience the place is really starting to look great. But—

Last night, my wife was flying in from Charlotte (that’s a REAL airport). Her plane arrived at the gate at 10:40 PM. I met her and we went to pick up her baggage. Hundreds of other people, from five or six arriving flights, were already gathered around the baggage gates. Nothing was happening. To make our long late-night story short, the baggage from the Charlotte flight was not unloaded until after 11:20!

How can it possibly take forty minutes to unload a plane? Why spend millions making your facility look nice, if you can’t even get baggage from the plane to the baggage carousel? How can you talk about running a first-class airport if you can’t provide the most basic of services?

When you arrive at the parking facility at RIA, the sign says that if you park in the hourly garage the parking is free if you stay 30 minutes or less. What a meaningless promise! How can you possibly stay for less than 30 minutes if it takes 40 minutes to get your luggage?

Come on, RIA, you are embarrassing to the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area! You need to start providing decent service or people are going to go back to flying in and out of Dulles, or Norfolk, or Newport News, or Williamsburg, or Stafford Regional Airport, or…

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