This airport is always mad

We left Porto early one morning last year and less than hour later we landed at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, our most visited of all European airports.

The view from Terminal 4.

Formerly known as Madrid-Barajas Airport (Barajas is the name of a district in Madrid that is about 12 km northeast of its central historic district), it was renamed in 2014 in honor of Adolfo Suarez, the prime minister who helped bring Spain to a democracy after decades of Franco rule. It’s one of the two largest airports in Europe (the other is Charles de Gaulle) and the sixth busiest. We first flew to Madrid-Barajas in 2010 from Lisbon and a few weeks later flew to Granada. A few days later we flew back to Madrid and then a day after that flew to London. In 2015 we flew standby on Delta to Barcelona to save some money. We had smooth flying to Spain that year but then we were stranded in Barcelona, perhaps for as long as a week. Delta told us that we might be able to get a flight out of Madrid a bit sooner and so we flew again to Madrid-Barajas. It was a rather expensive flight and we had to pay for two more nights at a hotel and there went all of our savings from going standby!

Another view from terminal 4.

Now we were waiting to fly on British Airways to New York. We thought we would never fly British Airways again since they cancelled our flight in 2010 when their employees went on strike in the middle of our vacation and we had to purchase tickets on Easyjet to get to London for our connecting flight across the Atlantic. British Airways still hasn’t reimbursed us for the flight that was cancelled. We didn’t buy travel insurance in those days. Now we do.

Still another view from Terminal 4.

My wife and I arrived at the upper floor of Terminal 4 and were greeted by a huge 24/7 McDonald’s. We cheered and each of us ordered several Mcbreakfast items for breakfast. We had done very well in an attempt to avoid American fast food on this vacation. We did enter the Imperial McDonald’s in Porto one day just to look at the interior but we didn’t order any food there. We have taken a lot of ribbings over the years from friends and relatives who know about our eating habits while traveling. We go to a lot of places that were frequented by Anthony Bourdain in his Parts Unknown series but we never ate the food he ate. We have been to Burger King franchises in Madrid, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Dublin. Our hotel in Milan was equidistant to two McDonald’s. We went to both of them. We also ate at McDonald’s in Venice (near Piazza San Marco), Florence (near Michelangelo’s David), Rome (near the Trevi Fountain) and Madrid (across the street from the Prado).

Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. Operadora, Sociedad Unipersonal was founded in 1927 and is Spain’s largest airline. In 2011 Iberia and British Airways merged. The two airlines are now part of International Airlines Group (IAG) which also includes Aer Lingus and Vueling.

Iberia Airlines handles about 40% of the air traffic in Terminal 4. We took Iberia to Madrid from Lisbon in 2010, from Porto in 2017, to and from Granada in 2010, and from Barcelona in 2015. All of these flights were rather short (about an hour to an hour and a half) and rather expensive.

The futuristic Terminal 4.

Terminal Four was designed by Richard Rogers (the architect, not the composer), Antonio Lamela and Luis Vidal and opened in 2006. There’s an automated “people-mover” train from Terminal 4 to its satellite Terminal 4S 2.5 km away. There’a also a shuttle bus service from Terminal 4 to terminals 1, 2 and 3.

One of many skylights in the ceiling of Terminal 4.

Oh yeah, why is this Madrid airport always mad? Well, the International Air Transport Association organization (IATA) assigns a three-letter code to all the world’s airports and their code for Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport is MAD. I know, I know. I’m not only the world’s worst eater but the world’s worst punster, too!

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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5 Responses to This airport is always mad

  1. disperser says:

    There’s nothing wrong with McDonald’s . . . we like some of their breakfast items and their fries. Their coffee is usually OK and reasonably priced and their soft-serve cones are only a dollar and pennies.

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    Never knew how big the Madrid airport was until I read your post. I was a bit puzzled by your preference for fast food outlets when traveling abroad. Surely you must have also eaten in some of the more traditional restaurants in Spain and Portugal. Just wondering …

  3. mnmsjrny says:

    I spent six hours in the Madrid airport 20 years ago on my way to France (after having my non-stop flight cancelled due to Air France going on strike during the World Cup, thus necessitating a major re-vamp of my plans and including layovers in New York AND Spain.) Was so punch drunk by the time I got to Paris from being up for close to 36 hours. Did enjoy my “visit” to Madrid though. 🙂

  4. Sartenada says:

    Is it? I worked nearly forty years for an airline company and never noticed it. Have a great day!

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