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Charleroi Airport- never again

 I have not written a blog for a very long time but this story needs sharing.
I had bought a package ticket which included bus ticket from Gare du Midi to Charleroi Airport, priority line for check in and access to The Lounge. This works with a QR code.

First thing that happens the QR code does not work for the priority line for check in. I call the guy to say there is a problem, get looked at as if I disturbed his whole life by even raising the issue. He lets me through.
It turns out that the priority line gets you to be in front of about 4-5 people which are in any case waiting for baggage control since there is no separate line – you just join the normal line further ‘down’.

I go through baggage control and I am asked to take my shoes off which I of course do. However, unlike other civilised airports there is no place to sit to put on your shoes so a number of passengers are trying to balance on one leg like flamingoes in order to put shoes on or are bending into right angles and then trying to strengthen out with difficulty.
Then, after finding the so called Lounge I see that there is no QR reader in order to open the door but a push button key that says ‘key in your code’. On the paper document you get with the QR code and that indicates that you have access to the Lounge no code exists!
I knock on door – nobody replies. I try to find someone to ask. Two people with Charleroi Airport jackets – Assistance came by and I ask. We don’t know anything about this. The only thing we can do is get you out of the checked in part of airport so you can go to the information desk!! 
I ask if they consider it normal that they tell me that having paid extra to travel more comfortable they are telling me to go through baggage control twice. They just then walk away without saying anything else. 
I then find the Charleroi Airport telephone number on my Gsm and I ring them. Automatic message saying ring back on an 0900 number. I call back. 
After a whole series of press number x then number y – I speak with the information desk of the airport and explain the situation. I am asked where I am – which is outside the Lounge opposite Leffe Bar. The answer is there is no Lounge there (see photos below). When I insist they pass me to what they say is the VIP lounge. Same conversation again, I explain what has happened, I am told there is no Lounge there and in any case they are not responsible.

About one hour later it is time to board my flight – no access to ‘Lounge’ (still sitting outside) – nerves a wreck – have paid extra for the the additional irritation and extra for the long telephone cost to nowhere. 

Conclusion:

– avoid Charleroi at all cost

– don’t even bother to get information or find someone responsible- by design there is no responsible person 

– if you nonetheless need to go via there, DO NOT pay extra for a Lounge

– if you have any issue with anything at the airport- don’t even bother to ask anybody- by definition there is nobody responsible 

I am glad i am now on the plane and away from this madness 

For the record – see the relevant photos below
Sent from my iPhone

About Androulla Kaminara

SCR member of St.Antony's College, Oxford University, 2013-24 Academic Visitor and 2012-13 EU Fellow Senior Academic Associate- Non-resident of EUCERS, King's College, London University Views are personal.

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Androulla Kaminara

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