Sunday, 5 August 2012

How Very Civilised

Frankfurt airport, and its passengers, have just received a new gift.
Frankfurt Airport has opened its first fully enclosed and ventilated smoking lounge in partnership with Japan Tobacco International.

"The new smoker lounges will improve the range of services offered by Frankfurt Airport and thus make it more attractive for all passengers," said Fraport Group.
Looks nice, doesn't it?

Imagine that, eh? Millions of taxpaying citizens being treated as equally deserving of respect as anyone else.

Shame our own authorities would rather stab their Grandmother than countenance affording comfort to people who pay their wages.


Geo said...

Amsterdam has also installed areas to smoke.

sillyusername said...

Yes it looks very nice. I think this was inevitable really, the travel and hospitality industries must be feeling the pain induced by having a significant minority of their clients decide that they can manage without thank you. I used to think that the chap who writes the Clearing the Air blog was a little crazy for correlating economic downturns with smoking restrictions and bans, but I am beginning to change my mind. In an already slow economy I think the impact on pubs, bars, restaurants, tourism and places of entertainment is probably enough to tip the balance such that an already difficult situation becomes seriously bad. In addition to the money that smokers do not spend in these places there is the associated loss of jobs and the unemployed people that result won't be spending their money on life's little pleasures either. So the damage done by bans snowballs, causing yet more closures and job losses. Business is interested in profit, not health. Which is as it should be, I would really rather be left alone to make my own decisions regarding my health, but even if politicians and single issue loonies cannot be prevented from showing me how much they "care" we should not have to put up with every commercial enterprise under the sun jumping on the bandwagon.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I prefer smoking areas with windows so that you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the airport, but hey, that looks grand to me.

20Rothmans said...

Thanks Dick. I work in Frankfurt a lot and usually use the JAL business lounge.

Up until now I have used the lovely booths but this is even better.

Penseivat said...

There has been such a lounge in Zurich airport (and possibly other Swiss airports) for quite a few years.  Not only is the air conditioning system so good that all 'second hand' smoke is quickly removed, but it is the only place apart from bars and restaurants where transit passengers can sit down.  As a non-smoker I find the peace and quiet (as many non-smokers stay away from this lounge) quite refreshing.  Bugger.  The secret's out now!

junican41 said...

When herself and I went to Manchester airport, prior to the ban, we often browzed around the shops a little and she might buy some perfume and stuff while I might buy a book, newspaper, whatever. We often had a sandwich and more than one cup of coffee.

When the ban arrived, both of us had to discipline ourselves to drive the annoyance at not being able to smoke out of our minds. The effect was also to discipline ourselves in other ways as well. Be cool - sit and wait - watch the world go by - do not impulse buy - just wait. The result is that we check our bags in then go outside for half an hour or so and enjoy a couple of last fags. We pass though the shopping area without stopping and go to a cafe and have one coffee. The same applies on the aircraft - sit and wait. We take our own sandwiches. She always has a hot chocolate. I always have two little bottles of red wine. We are totally disciplined. On arrival at Palma airport, we might go to one of the two very pleasant cafes there - one is outside and the other is partially inside (none of this 50% crap). Once we arrive at our destination, we go back normal.

The same applies to the hotel. It used to have a smoking room and we spent quite a lot of time in that room. Now, there is no smoking room and so we rarely spend any money in the hotel at all.

Without attributing the fortunes of the hotel totally to the smoking ban in the public areas of the hotel (you can still smoke in your room), since the beginning of bans in the hotel, it has started closing down during part of the winter. First, it was December and January, then it become December through to February. Now it is mid-November to mid-March. As bans have been ratched up, so has the hotel trade declined in Majorca.

It is almost certainly true, human nature being what it is, that other smokers have disciplined themselves in a similar fashion. Once the discipline has become ingrained, it knocks on in all sorts of other ways.   

Furor Teutonicus said...

Noticed their little trick though?

Have you ever tried sitting in that sort of "chair" for longer than five minutes?

The backs at 90° to the seat makes it feel like you have been horse riding for the entire week.

nisakiman said...

 Yes, I had the same initial reaction when I was reading that on the "Clearing the Air" blog, but the subject came under discussion a while back on Frank Davis's blog, and a lot of surprising things came up about money not spent because the pub had been taken from us. First the more obvious things, like the Indian takeaway or the fish and chips after leaving the pub, and then the taxi not hired. But also things not so immediately obvious. Like the woman who now buys less makeup because she doesn't go out so often. Likewise clothes and shoes.

And the pubs aren't just selling less beer, they're selling less potato crisps, less pickled onions, less soft drinks. And that loss of sales effects the producers of those things, so maybe they have to lay off staff to stay in business. Etc etc.

And then there's the plumbers and the electricians and other service engineers, the cleaners and the painters and decorators who used to do all those bits and bobs that the 10,000 pubs that have now closed needed doing. All those people now have less money, so they spend less money.

The guy who writes the CtA blog posits that the US recession was caused by the smoking ban. It seems far-fetched at first glance, but when you pass laws which decimate the hospitality sector, there are a lot of knock-on effects. The US recession started with the big mortgage lenders going tits-up; but when you throw tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of mortgagees out of work who then default on their loans, that puts a massive strain on the lenders. Add to that all the peripheral industries like the blogger's own business of custom ventilation going bust, that's a significant hit. Then you add in all the unrelated businesses that suffered because the ex-hospitality workers were no longer spending, perhaps closing and the owners then defaulting on their loans...

And so it goes on. So perhaps the idea that the worldwide recession was actually caused by the smoking bans is not so ridiculous after all.

Furor Teutonicus said...

 It is always the "little things" that are not taken into consideration. Or don't appear to be.

Take for example the re-unification of Germany. How much that cost on, lets say, new signs for police stations, or new letter heads that were needed, new uniforms. Totaly re-equiping an army, that you did not have yesterday. Fire appliances that had to be replaced, because the DDR ones could not pass the "service fit certificate". Etc, etc.

To say nothing of a couple of million pensions that now had to be paid, that no one in the East had ever paid a Pfennig into.

How much has it cost the dole, alone, for all the workers now un-employed because of the smoking ban?

20Rothmans said...


I really must see you for a pils and a smoke next time I am in Berlin. I have many happy memories of that beautiful, somehow warped city., both before and after the Wall.

There was a pub called Das Klo, where you sat on toilet seats, and another where all the seating was afforded by coffins.

My German is okay but I think I sound like that English policeman in 'Allo Allo' sometimes.


Sackerson said...

Need more soft furnishings to soak up the fug, otherwise it's like going into the old-fashioned box phone booth.

Jax said...

”The US recession started with the big mortgage lenders going tits-up; but when you throw tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of mortgagees out of work who then default on their loans, that puts a massive strain on the lenders.”
It actually makes much more sense than the initial – seemingly simplistic – statement that “smoking bans caused the world recession” would seem to make, because:
1       Sub-prime mortgages (i.e. loans to “risky” borrowers in low-paid or insecure jobs) had been around for about 20-odd years before the industry collapsed, with no more or fewer problems than are usually experienced in the rest of the mortgage market.
2       Far and away the biggest reason for mortgage payment defaults (in both the prime and sub-prime markets) stems from loss of the mortgagees’ jobs.
3       Smoking bans, as rightly pointed out here, have a wide impact on economies generally through their knock-on effect.  However, their first, greatest, most immediate and most direct impact is always the hospitality industry.
4       A huge percentage of sub-prime mortgagees were employed in the often insecure, poorly-paid and often transient hospitality sector - as bar workers, waiters/waitresses, cooks, kitchen assistants etc.
5       Smoking bans, with their immediate and drastic impact on the hospitality sector, thus put many of these mortgagees out of work.
6       Smoking bans only became truly widespread throughout huge swathes of the States during the second half of the 2000’s, which is just too close to the sudden collapse of the market in 2008 to be coincidental.  It was a sudden change which caused a sudden downturn in the sector, and it thus explains why the collapse was so sudden, too.  If bans had been introduced in a staged, gradual way wherever they were to be imposed, the connection might not be so obviously visible.  But they never were – they went from “smoking allowed” to “no smoking allowed” in the space of a day pretty much everywhere where they were imposed.
And quite apart from all of the above, there is no other single large change in terms of legislation, regulations, employment, social habits or social circumstances which coincides with the timings, the type and the nature of the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market so perfectly.  So, when asked, no “expert” economist, anywhere, can actually come up with another reason as to why the collapse happened when it did after two decades without any significant problems, and – more importantly – as to why it was so sudden as to take everyone by surprise.  Because there isn’t one.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Take some pics and fire them our way, can you? :)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

We won't tell. ;)

Ventilation, of course, is the nightmare solution that UK anti-smokers devoted huge resources into rubbishing. With technological advances flying in all areas of life, they had to go into knuckle-dragging luddite mode to discount it. And politicians bought the bullshit! 

If our Olympics cycling team was run along the same lines, they'd be riding wooden penny farthings and wearing top hats.  

cfrankdavis said...

Still looks like a dentist's waiting room to me...

Furor Teutonicus said...

 Just say the word. Preferably very early in the month though. In the hope that I have at least a FEW beers worth left in the bank. :-)

truckerlyn said...

It was 2001 and en route to visit family in Oz we had a 6 hour stopover in Tokyo.  You could on smoke in designated areas, but there were plenty of them and to our utter amazement they were 'open'!

By 'open' what I mean is they were areas surrounded by a 2 feet 6 inch/3 feet high attractive tiled wall and between the top of this wall and the ceiling there was a fine vapour mist.  Not sure exactly how it all worked, but the vapour mist was like a transparent curtain but was 'contained' in so far as it did not splash around.  Obviously there was some form of air conditioning involved.  Whatever it was it was extremely effective, attractive and didn't make anyone feel like they were being treated as second class citizens.

Even back then, before the fear and horror of total smoking bans here, when on arrival back into many UK airports, (eg:Birmingham) you had to crowd into a little glass box if you wanted to smoke whilst waiting for your baggage, this was novel, extremely clean and a very pleasant place to be.

truckerlyn said...

Junican, where is the cafe at Palma airport that is partly outside?

I, in particular, get quite aggitated at having nowhere to smoke in airports, often stressing about the flight being delayed, especially as once through security, at any airport, you are totally 'trapped' unless the airport has an outdoor smoking area available in departures.  Fortunately Bristol and East Midlands have and we only fly from these 2 airports. 

The first time we flew out of Palma after the extension of smoking bans there we did ask about somewhere to smoke once in departures and were told, categorically, there was nowhere, it is Smoke Free!

Like you, too, we have found the hotel we regularly stay in is no longer full when we go, usually mid April and sometime between the end of September and mid October.  This hotel is/was extremely popular with the Germans and we would often see many of the same couples year after year; not after our early visit last year, though.  On that first visit after the smoking ban extension we encountered many VERY unhappy Germans because they had to go outside to smoke and we assumed they were only there because their holiday had already been booked before they were aware of the ban.  Last October and this April we noticed the huge decline in numbers.  There is also one bar in the resort that is extremely popular with Germans and is always open, playing music that the Germans like to dance to (and mostly they dance extremely well).  In April it was still closed!  We couldn't believe it!

So, yes, Spain is suffering and as they rely very heavily on tourists, I don't see their economic situation improving much any time soon!

Parsifal said...

My father told me 60 years ago,the Germans would come out tops in the end.
Had it not been for their warlike ambitions they would have had Europe
as a Pan Germanic Commonwealth

As for the British we have just become a retreat for spivs ,freaks
and health neurotics I am surpised we have not done so well at
running at the Olympics,we have runners in abundance,,"away"
Mind you we are World beaters at one ,non Olympic event
Standing outside Pubs looking like total prats allthough the backward Irish
might get Silver with the Welsh/Scottish crofters sharing the Bronze


JonathanBagley said...

Compare with the smoking area at Manchester airport.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=1007&bih=426&wrapid=tlif134425054277310&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=uaIfUJ_TOM2N0wX37YDABw

nisakiman said...

 Lucky you, Lyn. A couple of years before that, 1999 or 2000 I think, I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide. The flight was via Melbourne, with about a two hour stopover to disembark some passengers and refuel. Having been airborne for the last 9 hours or so, I thought I'd get off the plane and find somewhere in the airport to have a fag. After looking around in vain for a smoking area, I asked a cleaner where the smoking area was. "No, no" she said "No smoking anywhere in the airport. Six hundred dollar fine if you're caught smoking anywhere."

Fer fucks sake, what kind of Nazi mentality does that to people?

And to polish it off, when I arrived in Adelaide, I was treated like some kind of criminal by customs/immigration. I don'r recollect ever having been subjected to such rudeness and contempt anywhere else in the world. I was almost speechless with anger.

I lived in Aus from 1971 to 1979, and I have two sons and three grandchildren there, but I swore I would never, ever set foot in Australia again.

truckerlyn said...

I guess, nisakiman, it depends on where you fly through and which airport in Oz you fly to.

I have only been the once and despite there being a Foot and Mouth problem here, we got through Brisbane with no trouble at all.  It was just pure luck we had the stopover in Tokyo on the way to Oz and an overnighter in Osaka on the way back, in that JAL offered the best prices and travel times for us.

These days, however, I don't even contemplate returning to Oz as they seem even more rabidly anti smokers than we are here!

moonrakin said...

Earghh - last time I was at Schipol the solitary "smoking room" was like the black hole of Calcutta - all elbows and toe-treading as 50 people tried to fit into a space for 20 (with 10 queuing outside) .  I used to spend a few quid at Schipol but nowadays I make a point of not buying anything there. Zurich has a nice smoking area.