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Monday , September 28 2020

‘Airport face of country, staff should be polite with people’ – Abolish porter ‘mafia’

KUWAIT CITY, May 25: The annual summer exodus is just around the corner and as many individuals and families ready themselves to travel abroad to escape the scorching heat, in this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers weighed in on improvements they would like to see at the Kuwaiti airport.

The majority of voters called for more hospitable staff. 41 percent of respondents felt that the most important change needed in the Kuwaiti airport was in the demeanor of the staff. “I think most of us have had at least one experience with a rude employee at the Kuwait airport. I once witnessed a gate agent get unnecessarily confrontational with a passenger to the point where I thought he was having a mental breakdown. It is also very common to see low income workers get treated like dirt by many airport staff”, a voter shared his experience. “Even if airport staff are not outright rude, it is very rare to find any with a congenial attitude. On the rare occasions that I have experienced a smile or friendly banter, it was greatly appreciated”, another voter commented. “The airport is the face of the country, it is the first point of contact for everyone coming into the country. Unfortunately, the face is frequently unwelcoming, haughty and uncooperative”, a voter shared.

13 percent believed that more staff and counters were needed at passport control and immigration for better efficiency. According to official sources, the movement of the passengers at Kuwait International Airport for the summer of 2015 saw a 15 percent increase with the numbers of passengers amounting to 3.19 million, the number of arrivals reached 1.52 million and the number of the departures reached 1.67 million.

As for aircraft movement in the same period, the numbers of flights were 26,923 with an increase of 14 percent compared to the summer of 2014. The arrivals flights were 13,499 and the Departure flights were 13,424. “I remember standing in queue at passport control while the staffer, without being relieved of his post by another, just got up and left. All of us who had queued up just stood there like fools waiting for him to return before we realised there was no point and joined other lines. There has to be more efficiency and accountability, I have observed so many fiddling with their phones in the past”, another reader shared.

32 percent of respondents felt that the porter ‘mafia’ need to be abolished. “I think the porters in the airport are like predators operating in packs, instead of being asked for assistance, they just pounce on you. It is very unnerving.” 4 percent of voters felt that the airport needed tighter security at the arrival area after customs screening, 7 percent of respondents felt that there was a need for more seating arrangements for passengers and 1 percent felt that more food outlets and stores were needed.

3 percent of voters shared the airport needed more bathrooms. “I think unisex family restrooms would greatly benefit parents who are travelling with young children”, a voter shared.

By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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