Advantages Air conditioned and with a surprising range of facilities for such a small place
Disadvantages Quite a way from the most popular resorts - Forcat and Bosch
Mahon airport is not all that big, but since it’s the only airport to serve Menorca, it’s pretty busy. About 20 minutes south of the city from which it takes its name, it’s set among palm trees and fir trees and lots of other trees which give it a countryside feeling. From the moment you see the “Welcome to Mahon airport” sign, it’s 5 or 10 minutes, up a long, winding, naturally tree-lined road to the terminal itself.The airport is set out over two floors. You arrive on the lower one and leave from the upper. I’m not sure why exactly (although probably because they just don’t want people walking willy nilly across the tarmac) but no matter how near your plane is to the terminal building, you’ll be expected to make the trip in one of many bendy buses which scatter the runways. Once inside, there’s the usual customs and passport checks (although just ignore the EU / Ireland / Rest of the world signposting, and go to the person with the shortest queue because they really don’t care) followed by baggage claim. Tip number one, you might need a €1 coin for the trolleys. I say “might” because they’re in the middle of a changeover, with half requiring a deposit and half being free. Tip number two, keep looking at the monitors, because the ground staff have an annoying habit of changing which conveyor belt they’re putting your bags onto at the last minute. If your bags don’t come through, you need to go to one of the two handling agents (whichever desk is closest / quietest usually works best) and fill in a wad of forms. For this you need your passport, ticket and checked luggage receipt. In fact, you need your passport and ticket for just about everything in the airport, from hiring a car to requesting a wheelchair.
Once you’ve got everything it’s time to head into the arrivals hall. Chances are you’ll be travelling with a tour operator, so look for the funnily dressed people with clipboards and tired smiles as soon as you get out. If there’s no one there, or they’re all swamped, and you know you’re on a transfer, turn right and walk to the far doors because these lead onto the coach park. If you’ve pre-booked car hire, or want to book it now, go left to find all the different companies’ desks. The public transport links to the airport are limited as it’s geared towards package guests. If you are car less and transfer less, then a taxi is your best bet – either to your hotel/villa or to Mahon from where you can catch a bus. Go straight ahead and out of the doors in front of you, then veer left for the taxi queue. Do this as soon as possible, because there aren’t all that many cars at times, and being last in line at 1am is not nice. I know. I’ve been there.
Also on the ground floor you’ll find what they call Tourist Info, but what I call a desk with a totally monolingual guy and some 5 years out of date brochures. There are also toilets and a café. A word on the toilets – if you’re disabled and the door’s locked, bang on it loudly. In my whole stay, I never encountered a single wheelchair bound guest in need of a wee, but I did spend an awful lot of time in there myself changing into / out of a certain mascot costume – the disabled loos being the only lockable place big enough for this.
The only smoking area is towards gate 13, in-between the burger place and the loos. These loos are the ones that are signposted and as such often get busy, so head to the ones tucked away next to the sweetie haven instead. To the right there’s also an Airtours play area which is open to all guests, although you have to pay. Good if your flight’s delayed, and you’re not travelling with JMC who automatically have kids’ reps there 24/7 entertaining your little darlings for free…. :pThe whole of the airport building is reasonably clean. It’s a bustling little place, packed with Brits and Germans with the odd Italian and French type thrown in. After check-in the Spanish are separated to a different area of the terminal so they don’t have to mix with us, the common foreigners. One thing I will note is that the terminal is air-conditioned. Very air-conditioned. As some of you may have read, I usually ended up there in the evenings (usually at about 10pm on a Friday for the record – damn you Gatwick flight) and after spending the last 13 hours in the glorious sun shine, it would come as a bit of a shock to my system. You don’t notice it as much if you’re shopping or eating or sitting there reading, but when you’re on the floor in shorts playing tongue murder (a lovely, loud game, all the better for annoying other TO’s passengers with) it can leave you feeling slightly odd.
That’s about it really. I’ve flown into and out of Mahon 3 times, and never had any problems. The airport is used to the huge influx of tourists in high season, and copes well. It’s as efficient as some of the larger ones I use, and easier in a way as you’ve a lot less chance of getting lost. Everything is signposted in English as well as what I think was Spanish but could have been Catalan and there’s always someone around to ask if you have a problem. If you want to fly to the island it’s here or nowhere, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it as an airport as such. 4 stars because the shops aren’t that good and my bum’s still thawing out, but apart from that, surprise surprise, muy bien.
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