The smoking community were not pleased with the implementation of the smoking ban at Václav Havel Airport. Following increasing complaints about not being able to light one up before a flight, this led the airport to build a small glass booth. “We are packed in here, but it is better than nothing,” smokers say. A bigger smoking lounge will be built next year.
The airport built the booth at Terminal 2 after nicotine lovers complained and asked for specialized zones after the smoking ban. The airport complied with the smoking passengers. Numbers suggest that approximately one fifth of all travelers passing through airports on a daily basis are smokers.
“We built the booth on customers’ request. It is a temporary solution and we are working on a new one,” states Helena Šmídová of Václav Havel Airport’s Press Department. “Our future projects include two closed up ventilated smoking rooms – a small one for employees and a bigger one for travelers. The booths will be built close to the information center and will be completed during the first quarter of the upcoming year,” Šmídová adds. The two smoking booths will cost the airport approximately two million CZK. The bigger one will be able to fit up to thirty people.
Most travelers are grateful for the temporary booth situated on the ground floor, although they would much rather smoke in cafés and restaurants. A traveler from Slovakia says, “Instead of sitting in a café I had to walk all the way down and be closed up in a small cabin. It’s embarrassing. I feel like an animal that people go to zoos to watch.” According to her, an ideal solution would be for the cafés to have a closed-off, separate smoking area so that smokers can drink their coffee with their cigarettes.
Most major European airports have designated smoking areas both inside and outside. Terminal 1 at Václav Havel Airport used to have a smoking booth. It was, however, shut down on Tuesday. “People were not respecting the rules. They were throwing cigarette waste all over the place and were smoking outside of the designated area. The smell was bothering passers-by,” explained Šmídová.
Violators of the rules will be requested to stub out the cigarettes or leave the area. Further violations will be penalized by an up to 50,000 CZK fee.