After travelling last week on holiday it was a welcome experience at an airport (Queenstown and Christchurch, NZ) not to have to take off my shoes, belt, watch and everything else, then go through a scanner. The old fashioned joy of actually being able to say goodbye (or welcome) to someone on a flight at the boarding gate was such a nice experience, and sadly is almost a thing of the past.
This got me to thinking to the other extreme, what are the worst airports out there? Here is a list of the ones to avoid (major airports only).
1. JFK Airport Terminal 3, New York City
In 1960, Pan American Airlines built the Worldport, fifty two years later this is still used by Delta as an international hub. Terminal 3 is the worst single airport terminal in America, and probably in the Western world. It is known for endless immigration lines in a dank basement, for an utter lack of food and shopping options. It seems the cleaning crew gave up in despair a while ago too.
2. Manila Airport Terminal 1, Philippines
The terminal has been a frequent target of criticism with travellers and the business community complaining it is congested, run-down and filthy, and bad toilets. Bribery and theft are also rampant in the terminal. Thanks heavens they are re-building this.
3. Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C, Russia
Rated terrible for anything where you have to interact with airport staff: their attitude, their language skills, and the speed with which they process passengers. It can take 2 hours to transfer to a connecting flight.
4. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi
Nairobi’s airport was built to support about 2.5 million passengers and now averages about double that.
It’s hot, ugly, dirty and confusing, full of touts and scam artists and perpetually overcrowded. This Third World construction site (a new terminal was meant to be built in 2005) remains a place for travelers to avoid.
5. Paris — Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3
CDG got the “worst airport” award two years running due to the amount of homeless people there. It is one of the worst terminals to transit in across scattered terminal making changing planes here is tiring, irritating, and sometimes a little terrifying. This being Paris, there is also usually a strike on too.
6. Amman Queen Alia Airport
Amman is just plain bad in bathroom cleanliness, places to sit and service of any kind. Reviews on the Skytrax website make it clear that you may just want to “hold it in” at this airport, as the bathrooms are so disgusting!
7. LaGuardia Airport US Airways Terminal, New York City
LaGuardia was recently rated the worst major airport in America (by both JD Power and Associates and Zagat Survey). It has no rail link and is overcrowded and experiences constant delays. Scary service from an airport at one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
8. Newark Airport Terminal B
America’s worst airport for on-time arrivals , and possibly the most dull airport in the country. Once you pass security there is no food and shopping to entertain you. Seems they didn’t get the memo on the right way to do this!
9. “Paris” Beauvais Airport, France
Fifty miles north of Paris this airport lacks seating, services, and feels like a warehouse. Closing at midnight and with no rail link to Paris if your flight gets delayed you may be sleeping on the floor.
10. Chicago Midway Airport
Chicago’s Midway airport ranked as the nation’s worst for on-time departures