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All About Airports

February 16, 1986

Arriving at the Copenhagen airport by taxi, I found that it was required that I unload myself and my luggage about 50 feet from the terminal. I had to manhandle my luggage across the access road, up and down curbs, with no luggage carts or porters available. The check-in clerk, comfortably seated at a computer console, watched as I lifted my luggage onto the conveyor belt. She attached luggage tags from where she was seated, and pressed the appropriate buttons to send the luggage on its way, untouched by human hand except, of course, for my own.

Gatwick Airport near London is certainly located very conveniently for access to the trains, which take you very quickly to central London. The procedure of checking in and enplaning is little, if any, better than the perennial chaos at London Heathrow.

Greenberg criticizes the Hong Kong airport for having only one runway, but fails to mention that London Gatwick, Great Britain's No. 2 airport, suffers from the same disadvantage. In Hong Kong they are confronted with geographical problems which make it impossible to build a second runway. At Gatwick there is simply no excuse for the lack of planning and foresight. Building the airport on a swamp that gets fogged in most mornings doesn't help either.

The average U.S. airport, however overcrowded like JFK, ORD or LAX, still copes with the needs of the traveler far better than almost all foreign airports, and with much smaller staffs. Indeed, the overstaffing of Heathrow and Gatwick tend to compound their problems.

BRYAN G. GAGGS

Santa Barbara

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