Mar 01

Alderney: The Airport

Alderney Airport is a delight. The control tower does actually look like a control tower, except one in miniature. The terminal appears to be two portakabins bolted together that have somehow grown into the ground. Inside there is the Aurigny check-in desk, about five feet long with a set of enormous and ancient Avery scales for baggage weighing (like the ones you often see in films weighing jockeys holding their saddles). The arrivals door is immediately on the left of the Aurigny desk and the departures door on the right. Most important of all, in the departures waiting area (maybe twelve feet by twelve) there is a counter selling teas, coffees and bacon sandwiches. The whole place is remarkably like the transport café in the Bowdler layby and not very much bigger. I ought to mention the advanced baggage handling facility (Fred Smith). Once you have been prised out of your aeroplane you have barely walked past the end of the wing when you fall down some well-worn steps, through the outer arrivals door and into a room about twelve feet by eight. The inner arrivals door leads to the Aurigny desk (see above). Next to the top of the steps off the ‘apron’ is a hatch with a set of old fashioned metal rollers that go along two walls of the arrivals room. Fred posts your baggage through the hatch, you walk down the steps, through the outer arrivals door and pick up your baggage at the bottom of the rollers (a vertical distance of less than six feet and about nine feet horizontally). At least, that’s the idea. Unfortunately, the rollers have to do a right angle turn round the walls of the arrivals room and unless your baggage has been very well trained it invariably gets stuck on the bend, requiring owner assistance to reach the floor. I have been going to Alderney for about twenty years and this wonderfully eccentric system hasn’t changed one iota. Welcome to Alderney.
Matthew Brundrett