Tips and tricks for first-time visitors to Marrakech airport:
1. Arrive at least 2 hours before flight. Arab countries are not like EU/USA, everything there happens slowly and gracefully – checking in too. It might take up to one hour of waiting in queue for check-in – counters are opened as late as 1:45 before take-off and the personnel is slow (to say the least).
2. While waiting in queue to check in, fill your „departure ticket“ – similar to the one you filled when entering Morocco. You’ll need it at the border crossing. Blanks are available in the departure lounge. Stupid as it is, it is required.
3. Border control is, of course, slow. Allow up to 15 minutes or more in queue.
4. Security check is weird. Often queues are separate for men and women – look for signs (or determine by the gender of the previous in the queue). No trays to properly put your stuff (there are trays, but kept aside – to prevent from wearing out, maybe?). Also slow, up to 15 minutes or more. In addition, the check is in fact a hoax – nobody is looking at the monitors (chit-chat with colleagues is more interesting).
5. Gates are announced late (the gate will not be printed on your boarding pass). Keep strolling from gate 1 to 8 to find out which is yours. Sometimes several flights share same gate (see below why).
6. Waiting area is on the second floor, but after passing through the gate you’ll have to go downstairs. Just plain old stairs – no lift, no lane for baby carts, no facilities for disabled. Be warned.
7. Before boarding the aircraft, take a „nice“ 1/2 mile walk on the tarmac. There are no buses to take you to your plane and no signs where to go – follow the crowd or try to figure out which plane is yours. Still, beware of cars and luggage carriers.
8. There is a small compensation if you are on a Royal Air Maroc flight: their food is great (three-course hot meal for a 2 hour flight? Who else does this?)
9. If you have come to pick up an arriving visitor, ask him to call when he/she arrives. There is no information on arrivals, only on departures (same is with all train stations in Morocco).