Every person, who used an aircraft to travel somewhere, knows what an airport is. Perhaps, the only exception here is helicopter passengers' society, as helicopters can land without airport, but today even helicopters are operated from special facilities. These facilities are specially created to become a base for different aircraft operating and maintaining - aircraft may mean private biplane, giant airliner, helicopter and even Space Shuttle. These facilities are called and known by all people in the world as airports.
The smallest and simplest airports of consist of one runway and the single building, where every airport department is represented by a number of persons, which can vary from 1 to 10. Such airports can be used by private airlines or single businessmen, who decided to earn money by air transporting and just began to do this in some developing regions of the world.
The more well-known airport is, the more importance it has, the more large and complex it is. The most complex airports are international airports: they are always few in every country in comparison with the total number of airports there and have a large number of terminals, runways, departments and services provided.
They also are the main hubs for certain airline - and many air carriers has their headquarters situated in such an airport. When you arrive at an airport, firstly you familiarize yourself with the airport's terminal. In international airport there are several terminals, each one serves passengers of certain air carriers and/or destinations. Here you can buy a ticket, if you still don't have one, pass security measures (you have nothing to be afraid of, except you are terrorist with the paranoid idea of world power), and board the plane.
Each airport is divided to landside (parking lots, access roads, support buildings, small hotels etc.) and airside (everything that is connected with aircraft maintaining and launching - runways, hangars, taxiways etc.), so terminals are the passenger's only ways to access airside.
However, if you arrive at an airport by plane, you experience a ground control service of the airport. Different departments of ground control perform such duties, as luggage and tickets checks, and also plane systems functioning and refueling. This is especially important in relation to long-haul and non-stop flights. Every single malfunction can dramatically increase the possible chance of an accident, so you can imagine what kind of work it is - to perform complete technical check of Boeing 747-400.
If you are hungry or tired, you can visit airport lounge or cafeteria - and of course you can use your Frequent Flyer miles to add some comfort to your airport experience too. Different shops can offer you some leisure features, like books, magazines, souvenirs and music for you, toys and picture-books for your children.
So today airports are true air traveling centers, which offer you various facilities to enrich your traveling experience and impressions about different world locations.