31 Oct - 6 Nov 2014 #730

World’s 3rd worstest airport

The news last week that Tribhuvan Incontinental Airport has been voted the third worst airport in the world was greeted with great dismay in tourism circles here. The questions in everyone’s mind was: How come Kathmandu airport didn’t make it to Number 1? What did we do wrong that we had to be satisfied with only the Third Worstest? How can we correct this and aspire to be even more worser next year? All very good questions which I will promptly refer to a higher up authority.

Indeed, it is a crying shame that we could not win this year’s CNN Worst Airport in the World trophy even after decades of tireless effort on the part of successive Tourism Ministers and directors of the Uncivil Aviation Authoritarians of Nepal. This calls for deep introspection so that we can re-examine what we could have done worse in the past year, we cannot remain complacent and be satisfied with mere mediocrity when there is such stiff competition out there from airports like Ougadougou, Bfanabfana and Hakuna Matata.

But all is not lost. Kathmandu Airport did manage to bag the first prize in the Smelliest Airport Loo Category. (Yes, that was the sound of a champagne bottle popping.) But we must not rest on our laurels, we cannot sit back and relax just because our toilets are now world famous, we have to doubly redouble our effort to devise ways to make them even more obnoxious.

Besides, there are still the Rudest X-ray Men Category, the Sloppiest Ground Handling Category, the Hugest Rats in the Departure Concourse Category, and the Categorically Catastrophic Luggage Carousel Category that we must try to win back next year.

The Ass is glad to announce that on a recent inspection visit, I found TIA’s overall standards had dropped most encouragingly (see notice in loo, pictured) and at this rate of deterioration there is no doubt in my mind that we will easily win the 2015 Contest, bringing pride and glory to our motherland. If we do it right the aptly named Tribhuvan (means Third World in Sanskrit) International Airport will itself be a major tourist attraction, people from all over the world will want to visit Nepal just to experience its famously malodourous aerodrome.

A note of caution, though. There have been some worrying signs of improvement at the airport. For example, there was no queue at the customs x-ray before check-in this week. How could such a lapse be allowed to occur? Who let it happen? Heads must roll, and we must reinstate the long lines pronto if we are serious about maintaining our lead as one of the rottenest airports in the known universe. There are other areas that need immediate attention:

1. Clearly, a lot of work has gone into keeping the loos in the arrival and departure areas crappy as always. However, the upstairs lounge has soap, running water and toilet paper. That is disgusting. We must maintain uniform standards so that the business class restroom also contains gaseous ammonia and methane roughly in the proportion found in the atmosphere of the planet Youranus.

2. Dear and departing passengers these days receive only three patdowns from check-in to boarding. Service is slipping, there used to be a time when passengers used to be frisked at least six times: 1st xray, Security Check, Customs, 2nd xray, Boarding Gate, Aircraft Ramp. We need to reinstate unisex fullbody massages so tourists leave with a good impression of Nepal.

3. The immigration and luggage line at arrival for tourists without visas is now only one hour long. This won’t do, visitors must be made to wait at least two hours for their visas. That should be our modus operandi, our a posteriori and our standard operating procedure. If necessary, we can add a geriatric ward for those who grow old while waiting for their checked-in luggage to emerge.

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