Myself and the wife have only been FRIAT members for the past 5 years (although I've attended IAT/RIAT for over 30 years and shes's done every show in the 16 years we've been together) but even we have seen the difference over the last couple of years with peoples attitude to the 'grandstand etiquette'.
The FRIAT team used to be very good at not letting people back into the grandstand whilst a display was taking place but saw none of that 'policing' this year.
Only last year if you even thought of standing up during a display you'd get told to sit down and if that didn't work someone would throw something at you!
I think it is still primarily an enthusiasts enclosure (and lets face it 9 out of 10 people now days own a camera and take pictures/video even if it is just with their phone camera) but due to the subtle price differences between a weekends (2-3 days) worth of admission tickets combined with say the viewing village enclosure for the duration the FRIAT packages are are VERY attractive alternative for not much more money for 'general' airshow attendee.
We've certainly seen a lot more families with children (7-10 year olds at a guess) in the enclosure the last couple of years than what we used to when we first joined (not that that's a bad thing and they weren't causing any issues that I noticed).
Although it doesn't affect me directly I would like to see the disabled/wheelchair enclosures policed better (not the FRIAT enclosure one as that seemed to be ok this year with the no standing rule).
Now I know that all disabilities aren't visible etc etc and that's not an argument I want to get into, but I would have thought that they would have been 'seated' enclosures especially with wheelchair users in them.
However after seeing someone (who happily delcared to everyone around that they had a "gammy leg" so couldn't walk far) stood up literally all day right at the front of the enclosure taking photographs (with wheelchair users sat around them) and then to see a mobility scooter user 'rising like Lazarus' (after previously barely being able to move) and stand up on their scooter (so effectively stood on a small step) thus blocking everyones view behind them (even though they were right at the front of the enclosure) everytime something took off/landed I think someone needs to police them better.
That or I need to go in myself and reap some of the enclosures apparent 'healing properties'
Parking - Great getting in all days however Saturday especially was a nightmare getting out!
Granted that so many people trying to leave at the same time is never going to be smooth and easy going but in my opinion until they make it impossible for people to drive across the car parks thus forming 6-7 queues that then somehow have to merge into 1 maybe 2 lanes (with nobody giving way to anyone else) and marshals just stood there doing nothing to help the situation it's never going to get any better.
For me the show itself (averaging everything out) was ok.
Although not beyond impossible, if someone had of said to me at the end of the 2018 show that at a single UK airshow in 2019 I will see a Mig-21, SU-27 and a pair of Harriers flying I'd have thought they were mad!
Friday nobody could do anything about (the great British summer
Saturdays display was excellent. Loved the Red's and Patrouille France 'Concorde' formations and the Red's & 747 flypasts.
Sundays display would have been ok if there wasn't such a vast difference to Saturday (it would have been very disappointing if for any reason the Harriers, SU-27 & Mig-21 couldn't fly).
Needless to say our FRIAT renewal forms have already been handed in, hotel has been booked and the annual leave forms have gone in at work ready for 2020