Airport Adventures: Tashkent Airport

by rfikr8, 4/7/2010

due to the poor airplane food and terrible air quality within the terminal had to throw up in public several times prior to boarding my flight to Bishkek.

I have never been so disgusted and repulsed as a traveler in an international airport as I was in my short stay at Tashkent international airport, which is located in the capital of Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan airlines which publishes a monthly airline magazine boasts in a most recent article that their airport located at Tashkent is the best international airport in the ex-Soviet system. If this statement holds to be true then I feel sorry for the state of humanity and health standards in this region of the world. These people truly have no concept of what international standards are for basic traveler requirements in 2009.

I was doing a business hop from Kyrgyzstan to Thailand last year. My trip was arranged by one of Bishkek's top travel agents representing Uzbekistan. The journey started from Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic to Bangkok with a three hour lay-over in Tashkent.

When we arrived at Tashkent, we were bussed from the airplane to the international terminal for further ticket assignment and to wait for our connecting flight. What we found in the international terminal was as follows.

The building in use was in the style of typical ex Soviet with a very wide grand stair case running up the center, large interior pillars with gold gilding for trim, enormous musty curtains, and boasting some Persian rugs on the cramped second floor. A boy on the second floor was busy spitting on people below.

On entrance into the building we joined a crowd of travel weary airline passengers (many lying on the ground for lack of seating and apparently asleep) waiting for their flights. The terminal building in use was not nearly large enough for the volume of travelers passing through. It was very difficult to secure a seat for our wait. I myself had to make due with standing among the crowd of others with no where to sit.

Smoking seemed to be permitted everywhere and I was frequently / constantly annoyed with persons chain smoking beside me. There was no area designated for smoking nor was there ventilation of any kind to refresh the stagnant smoke filled building. It was not allowed for travelers to step outside to get away from the smoke. There was no where to walk. There were bodies everywhere.

On our return trip back to Kyrgyz Republic, again we passed through Tashkent. (This time at 3am.) We found ourselves to be in the same disgusting circumstances. I was not feeling well after the meal they served on our Uzbekistan airways flight, an 8 hour flight from Malaysia to Tashkent. My state of health later on that day confirmed that I got food poisoning from food served on that flight [Don't have the chicken] .

On my second stay in Tashkent airport I had need to use the international terminal washroom facilities. There were 3 sets of washrooms in the terminal. All separated by a security perimeter. The main terminal area, which held at a minimum of 300 waiting passengers while we were there but was designed for no more than 150 people had a washroom for women and for men. The men had one urinal and one toilet. The toilet was in the style of a hole in the ground and there was insufficient paper for sanitary purposes. The stink and filth in the washrooms was almost unbearable. I had need to use all three washrooms and finally due to the poor airplane food and terrible air quality within the terminal had to throw up in public several times prior to boarding my flight to Bishkek. The only benefit from this laissez-faire situation is that no one gave me vomiting the slightest notice. In my fatigue and despair I found a place under some seats and managed to sleep for less than an hour before vomiting again.

I must comment on how funny and how unorganized I found the workings of the 2 gates and the Public Address system. First, a muffled announcement would come announcing some flight in English. Then for about a half a hour a lady would walk through the building announcing (in broken English) the same flight. The example I use as I was there to witness this was a flight being announced for Deli. I obviously misunderstood this lady as she was chanting 'anybody' over and over again. In fact later I realized that she was really chanting 'Deli boarding'. 90 percent of the travelers in the terminal at that time looked as if they were from Deli and probably did not understand a word of English. Could these people at Tashkent airport not at least have pre-recorded announcements in appropriate languages? Simple inefficiencies like this would give you an idea of how primitive the situation was.

Finally, I strongly discourage anyone from traveling with Uzbekistan airways or for making a connection in Tashkent for the reasons listed above.

I'm sorry that I have no pictures to go along with what I have to say because they would support my feelings but I was in no shape at the time to think of taking photos :)

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