As part of a group of over 1300 "passengers" arriving today I was there to help the EIA to trial the flow through of the new terminal that will be used for departures to the U.S.A. starting on February 11, 2012. In the fall of 2011 I had seen an article in one of our local newspapers requesting volunteers for the simulation and had thought that it might be interesting to get a sneak peak at the new terminal. I wasn't disappointed.
|No my name isn't really Margaret|
|Headed to the U.S.A.!|
The hard part was over. Now to head to gate with plenty of time to relax before it was time to board. It's a bit of a walk to get to the departures lounge so passengers can choose to walk twice as fast along the moving sidewalk. Now I've encountered these before in many larger airports but I think think that the ones here are the first in an Alberta airport! There is some lovely art on the walls along here including a mosaic of what appears to be Edmonton's lovely river valley.
Before you settle in to wait for your flight you may want to stock up on all things Canadian (and other luxury goods) at the Duty Free. The Duty Free store is located just before you reach the departures lounge. The passage through here was quite narrow and depending on how busy things were there could be an issue with bottle necking. Today I didn't stop to shop but proceeded straight through. Since I wasn't actually leaving the country I was pretty sure we wouldn't be allowed to buy anything here anyways!
By the time I arrived here I had realized that I forgotten the notebook that I normally travel with and since I had wanted to make some notes for this post I went in search of a new one. At present there are a few shops available with more to come. I checked out Relay and while they had lots of popular reads I didn't come across a notepad or book. I settled on a couple of postcards. After all I just needed a blank surface to write on so the $1.80 I spent was well worth it. Now if you are feeling a bit peckish before your flight you are in luck. For the time being there are four food establishments in operation: Starbucks, Quizno's, Wings Tap & Grill and a Chili's express. For the trial today free samples were on the menu. While everything looked tempting (especially the wings) I had skipped breakfast so I tried a mini cupcake and a coffee from Starbuck's. This morning that fit the bill. I had about an hour and half in the area before it was time to "board" my flight so I wandered around checking out the amenities. In addition to the usual seating at each gate there was a variety of other seating in the central hall including one area that doubles as art. Power outlets for those traveling with anything they might need to recharge before the flight were plentiful in the seating area. Add to this free WiFi and the flash-packers among us should be a happy bunch. There was lots going on during the trial with musicians, jugglers and stilt walkers circulating among the crowd--now I probably won't see this next I'm here but today with the many families with young children taking part I found it very fun and appropriate. There were definitely people from all walks of life taking part which was great to see. Additional simulations were taking place around me including a situation with a lost ipod and a mock medical emergency. Other than the entertainers the only thing that made this scene seem out of the ordinary were the brightly colored file folders we were are carrying with us!
|Time to go!|
|Welcome to Edmonton!|
All in all I think EIA has given Edmonton a new facility to be proud of. It's world class and will serve the airport's growing number of passengers well. The simulation seemed to run smoothly as well. I'm looking forward to flying through the new terminal in March when I'll be headed to Phoenix for real!
If you are interested in what's going on with the EIA expansion you can find more here or you can follow them on Twitter: @flyeia or find them on Facebook: Edmonton International Airport. If YouTube is your thing check out the videos about the expansion here. Have you seen this for yourself? Tell me what your take on the new terminal is!