The Beirut Rafic Hariri was renovated 14 years ago, but it has been neglected ever since and there are plenty of things that need to be drastically changed and/or improved the soonest. To name few:
1- Better & Cheaper Restaurants:
We need more restaurants at the airport and especially in the Duty Free Area. The only option is either pay to get in a lounge (where the catering isn’t that great tbh) or the restaurant next to them (Cafematik) that sells “Fresh” Jelo for 7000LL. There has to be more options that are affordable, as well as kiosks or small restaurants that sell Manakish, Knefe and other popular Lebanese food at affordable prices.
2- More seating in the Duty Free Area:
There are only a few benches in the middle right now.
3- Get rid of the old toilets!
Get brand new toilets because the current ones are disgusting to say the least. Add clean family toilets as well and make sure there’s soap and toilet papers in the toilets at all time.
4- Boarding Fiasco
Organize the boarding fiasco once and for all. Board by group number, allow families and children, and individuals with disabilities to get on the plane first. I think Lebanon is the only country in the world that always has more people flying business than economy.
5- Enforce the smoking ban:
No one respects the smoking ban at the airport. Every time I head there, I spot someone smoking. Maybe they need to set up smoking rooms (outside the VIP Lounge) if needed.
6- More (Clean) water fountains:
Not everyone can afford paying 4,000 LL for a small water bottle at CafeMatik and no one should pay that much for water in the first place.
7- Free WIFI for all visitors
Offer Free WIFI for all visitors for more than 30 minutes. Drop these horrendous IDM Machines from the 1990s. I’ve seen many times foreigners land and try to find a WIFI to call their families and tell them they are safe.
8- SIM card kiosk at arrival:
Every where I travel, the first thing I look for when I land is a kiosk to purchase a new SIM card with data and voice. This is good money for the telecom companies and very helpful for tourists.
9- A decent and civilized taxi station:
I heard they are trying to manage the taxis at the airport but it’s still a complete mess, not to mention how rude and arrogant the drivers are. They also don’t miss a chance to rip you off if they feel you’re not Lebanese.
10- Online Check-in and Check-in Machines:
The check-in machines at the airport and the online check-in don’t always work. Even when they do, you still have to check in physically and get the cardboard paper. Last time I tried to check-in on these new machines, it took me 20 minutes and I wasn’t able to scan my wife’s passport so I ended up going to the counter. They should improve these services.
11- Organizing the drop-off and pick-up area:
As soon as you step outside the airport, it’s a complete fiasco. Cars parked the wrong way, policemen shouting and yelling as well as baggage handlers and taxi drivers harassing you. Good luck getting to the parking if you have big luggage as there’s no path and you risk getting hit by cars. Add to that the horrible smell once you step out of the airport.
12- Reopen the underground tunnel leading to the parking:
Why did they close that tunnel? It was very useful.
13- Revamp the parking lot:
The parking is horrible and super-expensive. There are no lights underground, you have to walk between cars to get to your own, everyone’s parked the wrong way and these huge rounded cement blocks placed every 10 meters are completely useless.
14- Add some greenery to the runways:
There’s no harm in adding some greenery to the runways to make them look a bit appealing.
15- Enhance Security:
The airport doesn’t feel safe at all and we’re always hearing about security breaches. Few months ago, a 12-year-old boy was able to slip through all the security checkpoints at Beirut’s airport, board the plane and fly in business class to Istanbul. There’s an imminent need to improve security at Beirut’s airport the soonest.