Dakar Airport – Prepare To Melt

Air France A340

Image by jtsarkis via Flickr

Dakar airport wins the prize of worst airport experience this year.

Checking in for your flight out of Senegal is relatively painless – it’s not much different from doing it in any other airport.

Where things start to take a drastic downturn is when you start lining up for security. The evening I was leaving the temperature in the security line was above 30 degrees C and the humidity was really high. End result being that everyone was sweating after a couple of minutes and after being in the line for about an hour some people were close to passing out.

Once you get to the top of the security line you then get photographed and fingerprinted. This is really odd, as they don’t do that on the way in to the country, so why would they do it on the way out?

You can then pass through into the duty-free area. On the plus side goods are very cheap, so it might be worth your while to stock up on the way out.

The airport has a couple of business lounges, but the one that Air France uses is pretty awful. Physically the lounge is quite nicely laid out with comfortable armchairs and sofas, but there’s no air conditioning at all and the toilets didn’t even have running water (you had to use a bottle of water to wash your hands!). Oddly enough the “cheap” lounge, which also has a smoking section, was a lot cooler, though whether the fans in there were for the smoke or the heat wasn’t clear.

The staff in the airport, as everywhere else in Senegal, are polite and helpful, but the airport itself is not somewhere I’d be in a hurry to go back to.


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