Airport Doctors & Taxis

As is no doubt obvious from the chaos in the comments section, we’ve spent the past week or so on holiday* and really haven’t been too arsed about policing the likes of Parmalat.

Anyway, on the morning of our departure Son of Bucharest Life was feeling rather under the weather, complete with raging temperature and swollen tonsils. As we arrived at the airport rather early (a habit: we missed a flight once, and it was a very expensive mistake, the kind you only make once) we decided to pop along to the airport chemist to try and bag some antibiotics for the lad. As you may know, it’s usually not a problem to get what are in theory prescription-only medicines in Romania without a prescription. You just have to come across as convincing enough and sound as though you know what you are talking about. It’s one of the benefits of living here, and means you don’t have to always trouble your GP with minor ailments. It would save the NHS millions if you could do the same in the UK.

As it happens, the chemist at Otopeni (found in the corridor which links the arrivals and departures terminals) is not one of those which readily hands out prescription-only medicine. However, the otherwise helpful girl behind the counter did inform us that there is a doctor in the airport, and that a quick visit would no doubt lead to the procurement of required prescription. Which it did, after a short examination. All very efficient.

The doctor’s surgery at Otopeni is in the basement, underneath the departures terminal. There is a GP on hand 24 hours a day and his or her services are absolutely free to all, regardless of age or nationality. And no, you are not expected to leave a ‘tip’.

In less good Otopeni news, we also have to report that the taxi situation is deteriorating.

With the exception of stray dogs we have perhaps written about taxis at Otopeni more than anything. Last year, after the introduction of a simple ticketing/ordering system, we rejoiced. It was a massive step forward. Since then, however, things gave gone backwards. Here’s what, exactly.

First and foremost, you can still get a cheap taxi at Bucharest’s only airport. The machines dispensing tickets are still there. Indeed, there are three: one for Meridian and Pelican taxis (both companies are OK), another for Cristaxi and Cobalcescu (again, both are perfectly trustworthy). Then there is the third machine. This one serves a number of taxi companies, some of which are fine (Speed, for example). It also, however, appears to be dispatching taxis which are somewhat dodgy. For example, on Friday night we were offered a taxi for a company called Sprinter, which we had never heard of. Nevertheless, the price displayed was a standard 1.39 lei per kilometre so we thought little of it. When the taxi turned up however, the price on the door was 2.99 lei. We also noticed that the telephone number, 9833, was being used by other taxis hanging around outside the arrivals hall, all with different names. We refused the taxi of course, and ordered another one from the Meridian/Pelican machine.

Alas, that’s not the only problem. In theory, only taxis which have been ordered are allowed to wait outside the arrivals terminal. This is not, in practice, the case. A number of taxis from rip-off companies charging 3.50 lei per kilometre (particularly Clas Taxi) are for some reason (or, more likely, several hundred reasons) allowed to wait directly outside arrivals, right at the front.

Not only are unknowing visitors at risk of getting into these cars and paying three times the price of an ordinary taxi, but they block the access of taxis which actually have been ordered. As such, it is not always easy to find your taxi. In fact, it is a bit of a scrum. For the uninitiated it must be rather off-putting.

Welcome to Bucharest.

*We were here, Pontedilegno-Tonale, high in the eastern Italian Alps. We can recommend the place. We stayed in Tonale, a purpose built, high-altitude and snow sure place which offers all the convenience you would usually expect of a French resort but at (far lower) Italian prices.

Passo Tonale

11 thoughts on “Airport Doctors & Taxis

  1. I guess it’s one company trying to get around the ‘bad reputation’ thing by changing the names of each of the cars. At least there are still normal ones.


  2. I arrived back two weeks ago at 2am to find 5 or 6 iffy taxis parked right out the front. I was pacing up and down looking for my ordered taxi and at the same time being pestered by these sharks. Told ’em to F off, under my breath! So Craig, you swapped Romanian freezing snow & ice for Italian freezing snow & ice…why?


  3. In the mean time, Liviu Dragnea – in deafening silence, like a worm – attempted to grope and rape the Constitution of Romania.

    He was turned away over the weekend by a huge Facebook crowd using such gruesome swears that made US ambassador Hans Klemm to step in and punish the worm early in the morning.


  4. “As you may know, it’s usually not a problem to get what are in theory prescription-only medicines in Romania without a prescription. You just have to come across as convincing enough and sound as though you know what you are talking about. It’s one of the benefits of living here, and means you don’t have to always trouble your GP with minor ailments. It would save the NHS millions if you could do the same in the UK.”

    The fact that is (still) not a problem to get prescription only medicines in Romania is actually a HUGE problem. The average Joe on the street has probably never heard of RESISTANCE TO ANTIBIOTICS and its catastrophic effects. But all the pharmacists in Romania have and they understand this problem very well. In my opinion, all the pharmacists that do it should be thrown in jail.

    Now let’s see what the NHS says: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today. Without effective antibiotics, many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations and chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work”.

    The full video here:

    So, yes, I’m pretty sure the NHS couldn’t care less about Dr Turp’s expert opinion on how to save “millions”.


    1. You obviously don’t understand yourself what antibiotic resistance means and how the law and common sense act in regard to antibiotics. That’s probably because you’re a liberal who take your information from MSM and NHS videos and have developed a lack of common sense. Or, as we say in Romanian: “habar n-ai pe ce lume traiesti”.

      1. As a pharmacist you are obliged by the law to release without prescription a minimum intervention dose of some lower class antibiotics (Ampicillin, Amoxicilin etc…). The minimum intervention dose is 4 pills. You can get more if you go to more pharmacies.

      2. No pharmacist will ever release you without prescription higher class antibiotics like Ceftriaxone or Vancomycin.

      3. Every geographical area has its standard pathogenic agents. In Romania – we’ve been treating common infections with Ampicillin since the 1960s and it’s still highly effective against those infections.

      4. What “resistance to antibiotics” means is the inability to treat some hospital-acquired infections, mostly in patients with a suppressed immune system. Not only that we need better antibiotics, but we also need better ways to sterilize hospital rooms, objects and medical devices.

      When I see all this ignorance and lack of common sense (mostly in liberals), I’d go out and shoot somebody.


  5. Update on the Otopeni taxi mafia. The machines which allow you to order a taxi rather than be forced to take one from the lower level have been well and truly interfered with. The consequence is that at certain times of the day you can only get taxis at 3.49lei/km rather than 1.39lei/km. For example, I wasted 20 minutes on last Friday afternoon at 3pm trying to get a cheaper taxi – no-one was able to get any at this price, only at 3.49 lei/km. The solution – go to departures, when a taxi arrives and discharges its passengers, ask the driver if he will accept a fare to city somewhere. None will object, as they can recoup the cost of an “empty” journey back to the city since they are officially prohibited from joining the queue at arrivals. What is more, my taxi driver told me they have succeeded in blocking the apps at the airport when you wish to order a taxi. Really this airport and its taxi mafia are out of control and something needs to be done. Can you help Craig?????


    1. Craig can’t do nothing; you’re all alone my friend. I do have a suggestion. Back in early February I arrived late at night freezing my nuts off. Ordered a taxi from that ticket machine thinghy, but alas a 3.50ron taxi tipped up. So I went back to the machine and ordered about another 10 or so and eventually I was able to spot the 1.49ron among the 3.50ron sharks.


      1. Excellent idea. Everyone should just keep on ordering 3.50lei taxis for the fun of it and then throw the slips away. Quickly the whole system will grind to a halt and the mafia sharks will go crazy.


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