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Airport Adventures: Lviv Airport

by Rob K

When I refused to "contribute to their favorite charity", and proceeded to argue with the shift manager for about 20 minutes, I was told that "we'd meet again some day"

"I flew out of, and then back into Lviv airport in the summer of 2003, and had a relatively scary experience that I think others should know about before flying through there.

Firstly, I love Ukraine and the people there. I've spent many years in Ukraine and have travelled all over central and eastern europe, so I'm in no way trying to discourage people from visiting Ukraine. Just be prepared for this airport if you MUST fly through there!

Sadly, I have to agree with what another contributor mentioned about the airport employees fleecing the travelers. On my outbound flight there were about a dozen of us flying to Vienna. It appears that the baggage inspectors have their system all worked out. One tried to make my life hell by destoying my carefully packed baggage, and then the boss comes along offering to call off the dogs if you'll just make a small contribution to their favorite charity. If they start to chat you up in a friendly manner, just say that you're a POOR STUDENT, or are doing CHARITY or VOLUNTEER work in the country, or something similar. That will no doubt help. I saw other baggage inspectors give another guy such a hard time about incomprehensible baggage weight regulations (bribe opportunity clearly indicated), that he just couldn't control his composure anymore and flew into a rage.

When I refused to "contribute to their favorite charity", and proceeded to argue with the shift manager for about 20 minutes, I was told that "we'd meet again some day", and that she'd remember me. Obviously, flying back into this airport in 3 weeks time was a scary experience for me. Luckily, there was a full plane flying back in from Vienna, and I didn't recognize any of the friendly and helpful baggage inspectors that I'd met on my flight out.

In addition, I wouldn't recommend letting your baggage out of your sight for a minute. Even once it's been "inspected" and carried off by the baggage handlers, I'd keep an eye on the pile as it makes its way out to the plane. I wouldn't trust those guys either. Put a good thick strap around your luggage, and lock the zipper too.

As for sleeping in the airport, I'm sure it would be impossible. OK, so it is just a small regional airport, but there really is no seating to speak of (a couple of benches) in the non-secure area. In the secure area, I'm sure they wouldn't allow it. There are very few flights each day in and out of this airport and I can't imagine that someone would be so cheap or desperate to even try to sleep in the building. It's an extremely poorly planned building that looks like they've tried to make work as an airport.

If you're going to Lviv - a beautiful city - be prepared for the airport experience, or better yet, fly to Warsaw, Krakow, or Kyiv, and get a fast train to Lviv."

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