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Posted by
241 posts

Until recently I didn't like CDG but it's had a makeover. Best ever is Changi, Singapore.

Posted by
17932 posts

Does it surprise anybody that there seems to be a correlation between the number of people using a certain airport and the ratings? However, I was pleased to see that FRA was not one of the most hated. For a big airport, I think it's pretty well designed and the signage is good (any time it's in a country where English is not the local language, you're going to have signage complaints). I think getting around is better in Terminal 1 (Concourses A, B, C) than Terminal 2 (Concourse D & E). My nomination for worst airport has to be Philly. Part of that is because I came in on Terminal F and had an outgoing flight to Germany on Terminal A. I swear I walked half way to Germany. The only good thing, all the way from F to A, I didn't have to leave security. However, if you do leave security (like after going through immigration), their TSA personnel have to be the most belligerent in the country.

Posted by
9110 posts

Hrumph!! Obviously written by people who've never used an airport where you have to chase big animals off the runway, the facilities are an outhouse, the only running water is from a hand-operated pump (or a water tank of the roof), and the waiting area is outside and may or may not have benches or a cover. These same people have probably never ridden sling seats or shared the passanger compartment with animals. Wimps, all.

Posted by
913 posts

Ditto Lee. Philly has to be one of the worst. We had the same experience as Lee, (had to run to make a 1 hr connection on the way over the pond) and had to commandeer an airport shuttle to make our connecting flight after a 2+ hr foray thru Customs, etc. on our return flight. Never again. My wife almost got in a fight with Customs, and the TSA inspectors...and she is one of the calmest people I know.

Posted by
2788 posts

We went thru Chicago O'Hare (sp?) once coming back to Seattle from London on a BA flight. We took off on time but sat on the runway in Chicago for an hour waiting for a gate to open up. After getting off the plane we were directed down a hall to a "Reschedule Your Connecting Flight Desk" where there were no organized lines, just a huge crowd of folks all trying to get up to the desk. After somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes (I neglected to look at my watch) I asked the person at the desk why we had to reschedule our connecting flight back to Seattle since we already had one I was told that no one makes their connecting flights when coming back from Europe. We were rescheduled for the last flight of the day and thankfully made it home in the middle of the night. This happened maybe 5 years ago so things may have improved since then - I certainly hope so. But, in the meantime, we will not go thru Chicago regardless.

Posted by
3580 posts

I avoid Denver whenever I can. Bad weather and late planes have been the main problems. However, there is a tornado shelter, if needed.

Posted by
541 posts

I was on a flight from Milan to Newark in '04, diverted to JFK (terror suspect on board, later discovered not true), saw a sea of emergency vehicles chasing the plane...never an explanation (on national news though), sat on the tarmac in 20deg temps, only to witness a plane engulfed in flames 2 hours later. They decided since half of NYC's emergency responders were already there, they would practice a fire drill on a mock plane next to where ours was parked. At some point it would have been nice to know that wasn't our plane. The climax came when they made me dump my bag so the FBI could search it and threatened to take my camera away if I didn't put it away. So for all this, I can advise not to stay at the JFK Ramada Inn. Forgot to mention the night before I was in Venice during a record high tide and had to pay 500 euros (teamed up with some Brits) to get to the airport on a fishing boat after an all nighter with Aussies. Very memorable 2 days. For this, JFK holds a special place in my heart. On the other hand, my cousin could tell you some great stories about Bagram that make mine look like an everyday occurance :) Oh...and MIA sucks if you go anywhere in South America. They assume everybody goes there to smuggle cocaine. Be ready for the nose of a 'friendly dog'.

Posted by
706 posts

Oh boy, I'm in trouble now. Just booked my flights for the next trip over the pond, and I have three airports that seem to be on the hated list: Chicago-ORD, JFK and CDG... I'm going with very positive thoughts though.

Posted by
5606 posts

Hands down it's LAX. I'll take HRT or CDG any time. An article in this morning's paper backs up my frustration with the airport's inefficient operations. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lax-customs-20111119,0,4511592.story When I returned home from a two week trip to London and Istanbul in May it took nearly 3 hours to get through customs. My favorite part (said sarcastically) was when I finally got to the agent who looked at the card where you say where you've been and was asked, "You bringing in Turkey?" "No, I went to Turkey." "You have Turkey?" "NO I went to Turkey, the country, Turkey!!" "No Turkey??" "No Turkey." He nodded and I exited the chaotic mess called Immigrations at LAX. I swear my next international flight will be from SFO.

Posted by
9363 posts

I'm sure that there are horror stories to be told about just about any airport you could name. And as a previous poster suggested, the busier the airport, the more chance for something to go wrong. I travel through Chicago all the time and have never had any kind of problem there. Likewise, I had no problem in MIA, headed to Costa Rica.

Posted by
1986 posts

Have just flown back to USA via JFK to LAX. I have avoided JFK for the past many years. I must admit that coming back through JFK was not the nightmare i remembered: Positives- with a tight connecting flight, JFK now has an express lane through immigration (connecting flights less than 3 hours) which worked extremely well- however we still had to wait forever for our baggage. The Airtrain between terminals also was efficient and easy to find and use. Negative: Must be the most obnoxious and laziest TSA agents in the country.

Posted by
2023 posts

JFK and ATL-personnel and TSA in Atlanta are the world's ruddest. The new international terminal opens next spring so the security situation upon returning will be greatly improved.

Posted by
358 posts

I read this week in the LA Times that the wait times for customs at the Tom Bradley International Terminal can be up to 3 hours due to lack of custom officers. Fortunately when I fly out of LA I use Air France which flies out of terminal 2 and the custom lines coming back have been quick as not nearly the amount of international flights coming in.
When I flew UAL the first USA stop from CDG was either D.C. or Ord and D.C. was bad.

Posted by
1976 posts

I have to agree with the others about Philly. Our plane was late leaving Chicago (we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes) and then we sat on the tarmac for another 45 minutes at Philly. We had to run for our flight to Manchester and though we and the other passengers made it, none of our checked bags did. The same thing happened coming home - flight to Philly from MAN was late, we ran for the plane, and made it without our checked bags. I've flown in and out of Chicago ORD a number of times since it's so close to St. Louis and haven't had any big problems.

Posted by
31 posts

PHL is the worse, if you come into airport on an express flight most likely you will be arriving at an "F" gate and then have to shuttle over to terminal A. Any delay will result in you missing your flight. Having been on over 120 US Airways flights this year, I get my fill of PHL and when booking international through there I leave at least 3 hrs to make the connection, and then use one of the airline clubs to work before flying out.

Posted by
808 posts

Nightmares can happen anywhere. I live very close to Newark and think it is pretty good. Great restaurants in Terminal C - love the wine bar. I try to HUSTLE off the plane and to Immigration and am prepared with my documents. As I forbid my family from checking luggage we are the first through customs as we don't have to wait for our bags. The beauty of it is, from Newark I can walk out of the airport, jump in a taxi and be home in 15 minutes.

Posted by
17932 posts

As I said earlier, the one saving grace for PHL is that all concourses are in one security zone. So, as long as you don't take the shuttle or come in through immigration, you don't have to go through security, ever. Not so Newark. You have to go out of security to go from terminal to terminal and that means going back through a check. Two years after my experience with PHL, I again flew to Germany. I made sure it was not via Philly, but unfortunately the alternative was Newark. When I got to the international terminal on the people mover, I had to go through security, again. It took forever because all of the blue bins had gone to the terminal side, so no one had anywhere to put their shoes, coats, etc. And the TSA personnel were too stupid to figure this out. They stood there for the longest time wondering why no one was coming through.

Posted by
438 posts

My vote goes to Newark. Last May, it took over 3 hours to get through customs. In 2012, I'll spend several hundred dollars extra to NOT fly through there. We've flown through most of the big airports in Europe and never encountered the problems or the lines that we have in the U.S.

Posted by
8940 posts

Newark is the closest international airport to my house so I use it frequently. I've never had to wait more than in line for more than 30 minutes at Immigration. In fact I've always considered the efficiency of immigration/customs at EWR one of it's strong points. YMMV of course.

Posted by
215 posts

Philly wins by a mile. Last time there the only working mens restroom had about six inches of standing water
on the floor. I also had a horrible experience in Toronto when they lost my 85 year old mother in a wheelchair, but thats a long story.

Posted by
571 posts

My worst airport experience was Miami. Absolute utter chaos with apparently not a soul around whose job was to be useful and/or helpful. Miami is the airport I swear I'd never return to again. (And to put it into context, my second-worst was Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in the middle of the night, one year after the collapse of communism.)

Posted by
5546 posts

I have to give some support to O'Hare! I have flown many European trips through O'Hare and have made my connections. I did miss the connection the week after 9/11, but I'm hesitant to blame O'Hare for that one! O'Hare has its issues, but I have bigger issues with Atlanta or Dallas. JFK is definitely a pain. Expensive to get to, old, worn out, and terrible luggage service. Pam

Posted by
11450 posts

I have never been in an airport I didn't like,, I love them,,, the one thing that causes stress is TIME! If you book a flight with a tight connection then you do get stressed running around some airports trying to find out where to go,, trying to take shuttles or trains to other terminals etc.. so,, I am very careful when I book to allow for all the scrambling.

Posted by
1717 posts

The airport that I do not want to go through again, when I return from Europe, is JFK (New York City Kennedy airport). Waiting to show my Passport to an immigration officer there did not take much time. But walking to the Flight departure Gate for my flight to an other airport in the U.S.A. was a difficult experience. I was nearly late at the Gate for that flight. After showing my passport, I was required to walk to an other place for my bag to be opened and its contents examined. (I do not know why). My bag was put on a very long conveyor belt, going to the airline's baggage room, but I experienced difficulty going to the Flight departure Gate. The man at the place for examining bags gave me directions for walking to the Flight departure Gate, but his directions were not very good. Following his directions, I (and several other people) arrived at a wall (a side of that building). A fence was between me and a door to the outside of the building. I walked around to that door, and outside, and walked across a street that has cars on it. (The man giving me directions did not say I will walk across a street). To an elevator for going up. In the elevator I was squeezed in with many people who were in a hurry to get to their departure Gates on time for their flights. In that airport, in the first building that I was in, there were no signs directing people to Flight departure Gates. And, flying from the JFK airport, to a destination in Europe, my airplane lifted off from the runway at a time that was one hour later than the scheduled time for its departure. JFK airport is not the only airport where that happens. The Chicago O'hare airport is notorious for having airplanes lift off from the runway at times that are very much later than the scheduled times for departure.

Posted by
653 posts

I remember flying out of Miami on Halloween a few years' into the terrorist era, and the ground personnel were in Halloween makeup - including face paint and masks - which made their ID badges pointless. I love an airport that has rapid transit into the city.

Posted by
808 posts

If flying into.JFK utilize the Airtran into NYC. Coming into Newark you can hook up with NJ Transit into NY Penn Station. Better and usually faster than a taxi.

Posted by
8940 posts

At JFK, the Airtrain doesn't take you all the way into Manhattan. It takes you to either Jamaica Station for LIRR/Subway Connections or the Howard Beach subway station for the A train.

Posted by
808 posts

The E Train also connects to AirTran at Lefferts Blvd.

Posted by
1178 posts

The Atlanta Airport has some of the worst re entry from a foreign country personnel that I have encountered anywhere at anytime. Totlaly untrained and unprofessioal..I speak specifically of the TSA. They are the dregs of the McDonald's rejects!

Posted by
2525 posts

We try to avoid CDG given past experiences, but on our trip to Europe this year, it was surprisingly decent+. JFK ranks as the worst - third world airports seem to have better facilities, staff and organization when hordes enter the immigration area. LHR is also on our short list of "bad" airports.

Posted by
591 posts

Rating just the bad attitudes and rudeness of the employees, Atlanta is the winner. This includes the rental car people too.

Posted by
808 posts

I know I took the E train there and back on the A to Penn and NJ Transit back to Maplewood. Must look again at how I did that.

Posted by
12040 posts

I haven't returned since they renamed it "Alexander the Great" airport, but the Skopje Aerodrome in Macedonia tops my list for worst airport experience (although I can easily imagine far worse). It was a great microcosm of the country itself- reeked of tobacco smoke, the infrastructure was rusting and crumbling, and you had to practically bribe people to do their job. Priština airport in the early 2000s was also pretty awful. The passenger terminal consisted of a large heated tent, and the conscessions were limited to a guy selling beverages out of cooler. The tarmac was well maintained, but all the other roads were full of pot holes and assorted war damage. Although I didn't personally experience it, a number of people reported quite a bit of extortion on the part of the Russian military, who at that point in time occupied and controlled the airport. So forgive me for being so blunt... but most of the comments I'm reading here sound like over-privileged whining.

Posted by
3696 posts

My least favorite airport in the world is the one I have to use for my return flight.
Don't like the hassels, but I could avoid it and just stay home.

Posted by
988 posts

Another vote for Philly. First drop of rain, first flake of snow - cancel flights and close the airport!! Don't care much for Logan either, I always seem to have to walk from Term A to Term E, and it involves going outdoors. (Of course, I'm only there during the winter.) In defence of ATL, I've only had good experiences - but I have have only flown domestic from there. CLT is a GREAT airport.

Posted by
17932 posts

Swan, it's been snowing all day, but DIA is open. In fact, the only delayed flights seem to be from LAX. I doubt that DIA is closed for really big snowstorms more than once a year. More likely, people get stranded here because it's a hub and airports in the east are closed.

Posted by
951 posts

In Philly, our connecting flight back home from Frankfurt, was delayed 6 hours. At hour 5, they finally tell us why our flight was delayed; mechanical issues. We didn't get home until 1:30am. In Dulles, getting through customs and passport control took us 3 hours. I learned to never fly back on a Sunday. We missed our connecting flight. Didn't get home til 1am. I am glad to see that my airport, TPA, is listed as #6 on the best list.

Posted by
833 posts

It's a tiny airport and wouldn't compare to the same "hate level" as CDG, LAX, etc., but the one I despise most is CIA (Ciampino in Rome). Absolutely nothing to do there, barely any chairs so most of the time you are stuck standing or sitting on the ground while waiting for your flight. I may get delays at LAX, but at least I'm not bored while I'm there, haha.

Posted by
17932 posts

"In Philly, our connecting flight back home from Frankfurt, was delayed 6 hours." I wouldn't blame Philly airport for that one. I'll bet you were flying USAir. They have a terrible reputation for flights delayed for "maintenance". In 2007, I booked on USAir a flight via Philly to Munich. In the next few weeks they were 9 and 10 hours late into Munich on consecutive days, and lesser times to Munich on other days. I figured out that the departing gate numbers for Munich were never the same. Apparently Munich was a low priority, so if a flight was going to be delayed for "maintenance" it was assigned to Munich.

Posted by
17932 posts

Devon, Ciampino is not a "mainline" airport. It's used mostly by RyanAir.

Posted by
25560 posts

Ciampino is not a "mainline" airport. It's used mostly by RyanAir. ... and Wizz Air, V Bird, helvetic, Transavia Airlines, Sterling, thomsonfly, easyJet, Air Berlin, Hapag-Lloyd Express, and Carpatair Yes, Ryanair does have a fair chunk, but its certainly not exclusive. Not too bad to get to, either.

Posted by
17932 posts

Perhaps you should notify Ciampino about all those airlines using their airport without their knowledge. I quote from the official website for Ciampino, "On this page there is a list of all airline companies currently operating at Ciampino Airport". The page shows only RyanAir and Wizz. Under real time flights, for tomorrow from 6 AM until 6 PM, every flight shown, except one Wizz flight to Bucharest, is RyanAir. AirBerlin doesn't even show Ciampino. EasyJet shows it but has no flights available in December.

Posted by
934 posts

I flew Milwaukee to Newark on the way to Edinburgh. We were told in Milwaukee that high winds in Newark would delay us. After two delays another passenger did some checking with other employees and found that the wind wasnt the factor they just didnt have a gate for us. Ten days later my wife flew the same route and again they got the wind story.

Posted by
25560 posts

Of course you are always right, Lee. Have a look at the Ciampino Airport information page

Posted by
2932 posts

I haven't been through CDG personally, but both my brother and my mother and grandmother on separate trips had to connect there and they hated it. They're not really "savvy" travelers and don't speak any French, and they both had problems with Army personnel blocking escalators but unable to tell them why or provide an alternate route. And since my mom has mobility issues, the sheer amount of walking at CDG made it really unpleasant. They all swear that they will never connect there again.

Posted by
833 posts

Lee, the first thing I did was admit that it was a tiny airport, and cannot compare to CDG/LAX, etc. However, it is one I use quite a bit and I rather hate the airport. Yes, this is under my own choice to use CIA, I could pay more and fly from FCO. I think I'm allowed to state my opinion that it is not a nice airport.

Posted by
9110 posts

Since James opened the box: Khe Sanh (late winter of '68): no phone baggage was your pockets no gravel, but plenty of red mud weapons encouraged nobody had nuffin DFAC was everwhat crater looked dry debakation was on the roll showtime was everwhen the rockets let up for a few seconds the only thing above ground was the runway
it was run by everwho stuck his head up for a quick look