Virtually every time I embark on a flight, I wonder about a recurring design feature present in many airports:
The publicly accessible area has a couple of stores and maybe some simpler places to grab some food (think some bakeries, maybe McDonald's or similar).
The secure area, on the other hand, especially in the departure area of the airport, tends to contain various fancy services. Even though their prices are a bit above the local average of the place, the restaurants seem really inviting to me. Just ...
I never find an opportunity to eat anything there.
Typically, the following restrictions pop up:
- Check in and/or baggage drop-off only becomes possible around 3 hours before the scheduled departure.
- Including queuing up, check-in takes at least 30 minutes.
- Queuing up for and going through the security check takes another 30 to 45 minutes.
- Depending on the size of the airport, the time to bridge the distance to the gate can take 15 to 30 more minutes.
- For international flights, add 30 minutes for emigration procedures and the respective queues.
- I'm supposed to show up at the gate some 30 minutes before departure, when boarding is about to start.
This leaves at most an hour in the secure area, which IMHO is too short for strolling around to pick a restaurant, order and have a complete meal, and do other pre-flight things like going to a bathroom, especially when travelling as a group or family).
I have observed this in a variety of airports now both in and outside of Europe.
Adding insult to injury is when the departure is scheduled for the early morning hours/late evening, and by the time you can enter the secure area, everything (even convenience stores) there is closed.
How are those restaurants and possible other facilities supposed to be used? Only in utmost hurry? Or are they just meant for those lucky enough to have a checked through connecting flight, so they might realistically be in the secure zone already a couple of hours in advance?