What’s the Difference between the UK and Other Airports…?

Personal observations from my travel

Countries such as Morocco, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia are considered a third world countries. However, when I land in Marrakech, Fes, Dubai, Tanzania, Ryad I am being greeted like a queen. When I land in Spanish airports such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga and Alicante it makes feel good inside.


It’s a genuine question.

First of all, it’s clean. The flooring is all marble. High ceilings. Massive windows. Some sort of design that make you look up and say ‘wow’. It’s only an airport!!! I haven’t even managed to get out and I am already impressed.

I’ve spent fifteen years of my life in the UK. I’ve never really noticed how crappy the airports are. However, after spending some time away and have been to many other countries, it really hit me when I landed in Edinburgh airport this July.

The First Impression — off the plane

It’s dirty! I can see the dirt on the floor.

I haven’t seen a slight dust in Tanzania, Ryad, Dubai, Spanish or Morocco airports. The white light hanging from the ceiling on a few loose strings hit my eyes and made me squint. Then you open your eyes and see delirous badly dressed and tipsy souls.

Did I say the ceiling???! The worst factory probably has better ceilings. Wires hanging from it with loosely fit lights. It looks like it’s about to fall on my head. No windows. Where am I? What is this? You call this an airport?!!

It made me go ‘where the hell am I’? ‘Is this what you call a first world country?’ I felt like an animal being herded into a line for passports. In fact, animals in Spain have a better life than people crossing the UK airport! They’ve got mountains, sun and sea!

Image from Google

I cannot un-see what I’ve seen in the UK Airport

In the UK airport, you are guaranteed to meet badly dressed (hooker type look) women. They think they are super models with hats on and heels they cannot walk in. Followed by drunk men with beer in their hands in track suit bottoms.

I don’t care what people choose to wear, however, the attitude that comes with track suit bottoms is what stands out from the crowd not their clothes.

Don’t forget it’s pissing down with rain and freezing cold on 24th July. It’s considered summer. When I left Malaga I was sweating like there’s no tomorrow. It was hot and any shade would give wanted relief from the heat. I knew it will be colder in the UK but colder turned out to be a proper cold.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Racism at the UK Airport

When I left Malaga I changed into a cotton shalwar kameez. That’s what I could manage in 40 degrees heat and the coldness of the plane. When I got through the security I was stopped and questioned.

In all my years of travelling never have I been stopped. I wore shalwar kameez it was enough to question my existence in the UK. I was asked questions such as: ‘where are you flying from?’, ‘why are you here?’. When my husband said we are going to see our family they let us go.

When my husband wore his shalwar kameez in Dubai airport, he was treated like one of their own. ‘My brother you go here.’ What a difference!!!

Never Good Enough for the English

I don’t know how they do it but I always felt inadequate in the UK. I’ve lived in the UK for 15 years and I always felt that. It doesn’t matter my position at work, where I lived or what shoes or clothes I wore — I always felt inadequate. Right now if I put the most comfortable clothes on the planet (shalwar kameez) I am stopped and interrogated in the UK. Maybe it’s just me…?

I always felt I don’t have good enough education even though I’ve got masters from a University of London. I’ve read Chaucer, Shakespeare and twentieth English literature. I’ve been to so many plays in West End. I’ve travelled the world.

Yet, I always felt intimidated and not good enough for the English in the UK. I’ve always been diminished by my accent. I’ve always been put to just ‘you are from Russia’ and therefore, somehow lower than the English.

I am not from Russia just to clarify. It’s the ignorance of the people who don’t know Lithuania is not part of Russia for over thirty years now. I cannot believe I’ve felt diminished by women who wear nothing and can barely walk because they had too much of cheap bubbly on the plane.

Malaga Airport

Wow what a difference! It’s clean. The first thing that hits you is sunlight on your face and heat. There’s windows! The ceilings are so high you don’t even notice it. The light coming from it doesn’t “attack” you. I feel safe. I feel I landed in civilisation.

At the airport everything went smooth. It was easy. Going through the security no one stopped me. I was wearing exactly the same clothes as in Edinburgh airport! No one questioned my existence and didn’t seem to care what clothes I wear.

No one cares what is your skin colour in Spain. Most Spanish people look like Mohammeds and Fatimas anyway.

The biggest difference apart from the airport was I felt at ease and relaxed in Spain. In the UK there’s always something. I am afraid to be stopped because of what I am wearing. Add my accent because I am not English (thank goodness) and I’ve got a killer combination for being belittled, intimidated and being scared for my life.

I felt such a huge difference between countries. Not only the obvious such as the weather but also seen what’s a civilised country. It’s sad to see the UK hasn’t moved forward particularly now the Black Life’s Matter movement. The racism I felt was even stronger now when I left four years ago. The UK doesn’t seem to move forward only going backwards.

Don’t get me wrong I love Edinburgh! I don’t love the behaviour of the people on a Friday night. The police had to be involved. You never see or hear that in Spain. Sure, there’s crime in Spain but when people go out police is not involved. Everyone is civilised when going out in Spain.

What you might consider a third world country might surprise you in so many ways. If you ever travel to Morocco, Tanzania and even European airports such as Spain there’s a huge difference in how people are treated and greeted. It doesn’t even have to be marble floors or high ceilings or anything fancy but it does have to be descent, civilised and respectful.

I never thought I’d say this but there’s a better life somewhere else. The UK cannot be just it. Don’t take my word for it travel and see it for yourself.

Love and Light.

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary

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