Friday, November 4, 2011

The New Airport Terminal

Like many others in the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba, I was curious enough to go check out the new airport terminal that recently opened. I’ve never travelled by air before, nor do I have any desire to do so, but I’ve enjoyed watching the planes from the observation lounge, which I’ve noticed to be a popular attraction.

Upon your arrival along Wellington Avenue, you can now drive right up to the second level for departures, or stick to the first level for the arrivals floor.

Once you pass by the new terminal, there’s no stopping in front of the old terminal, and security personnel will simply wave you through. At left is the new indoor parkade. Thrifty Winnipeggers need not fear, however, as the outdoor Economy lot is still available.

The second level.

I walked through the parkade with one of the Gold Wing Ambassadors who looked to be just as lost as I was in trying to make my way though the concrete jungle to the new building.

The ground floor. Notice above is the walkway from the parkade, which is only partially covered. Most of the walk from the terminal to the parkade will leave you exposed to the wrath of Old Man Winter, a little detail that is sure to be noticed by travellers.

Once inside, the new terminal is certainly more spacious, as advertised. Natural light is in abundance, which is nice.

The luggage carousels on the first floor.

As you’d expect, escalators and a staircase, much like the old terminal.

The departure check-in lines. No shortage of counters and you can see from the aesthetics that the building looks a lot less utilitarian than its predecessor.

The terminal, however, is still a work in progress. There are still many signs of construction inside and outside and even the washroom I used looked unfinished. A soap container was lying out on the table and there were no paper towels to be found.

I walked around like a tourist, checking out the new sights, but, sadly, unlike the old terminal, there really isn’t much to see unless you’re actually flying somewhere. Most of the terminal is only accessible to travellers who have gone through security and, to my shock, there did not appear to be an observation lounge. I asked at the information desk and got the answer I didn’t want to hear. I was told they were planning to put some chairs and tables by a window near where Stella’s restaurant is being built, but other than that, the observation lounge is now a thing of the past. For all the time and effort they put into designing this terminal, that was a major gaffe that I can only hope will be rectified at some point down the road.

I can’t vouch for the post-security areas, but I suspect that, just with the increase in space alone, that the air traveller’s experience can’t help but be improved. There were, however, some serious design omissions that I hope aren’t repeated in the rest of the terminal.

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