Airports you like and airports you don't like

I never thought I’d say this, but I now like Las Vegas McCarran airport. I’ve only been to Las Vegas as a tourist, so I don’t know how far away the airport is from major companies in the area. I do know it is close to the Las Vegas Strip and the university. I believe all or the vast majority of the airport is nonsmoking these days. There is free wifi available throughout the entire airport. I’d say the only drawback is the don’t really have too many places to eat there. Of course, I’m usually not wanting to eat at the airport in Las Vegas anyway. Other drawbacks include the horrible lines at the car rental area and taxi drivers who take creative ways to get to the strip to pad their fare.

I dislike Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. The place is huge and the location is inconvenient. I think the car rental tax there is the highest in the United States and car rental is an almost necessity as the airport isn’t close to anything. I lived in Dallas for a few years so I know my way around, but getting out of the airport can be very confusing. Unless it has recently changed, wifi isn’t free either.

I used to loathe Detroit. But they rebuilt it so that it is one long corridor with a train on the second floor. Changing planes there is not a pleasure. I dislike Seattle because you have to go into a dungeon and take a train, maybe change planes and I find it quite unpleasant. Montreal and Vancouver leave you will miles of walking (ok, I exaggerate, but they stink).

Haaaaaate Detroit and Dallas. Detroit looks like dump trucks of federal money were relieved on it to create that gawd awful “art” corridor with flashing lights. Dallas is terrifying because it’s absolutely enormous - it’s the only place I hesitate to make a changeover with less than 60 minutes. I like Pittsburgh, Charlotte, LAX, and find McCarran, and Minneapolis okay.

Apparently I’m a group of one, but I like SeaTac. I’ve flown to, out of and through there for 40 years, and never had a problem with anything.

Dallas-Fort Worth, OTOH…

(And Salt Lake City, but that was just because I got pulled aside and intently questioned about the items in my luggage when I was departing that fair city. Seems the Mormon TSA guys had never seen…toys before. (I was meeting the woman who was to become my wife for a weekend of hanky-panky. Don’t judge!))

Haven’t been in too many, but of those I have been in:

Dallas. Spent the night there once. HUGE, frigid, $10 sandwiches, molded seating designed to forbid reclining or even seated comfort. Was a nightmare. We’d JUST missed our flight out of Portland and so missed our connecting flight out of Dallas to Austin. Was too late to rent a car and drive home and we weren’t about to call someone to drive and pick us up. Torture. I woke up at 6 am, on the floor, with people stepping over my head.

Portland/PDX. IMO, one of the best airports I’ve ever been in. Small and well structured (only 2 domestic gate areas, at opposite ends of a rel. compact building, all international gates and baggage claim downstairs. The middle of the domestic floor is a “mall” with stores and eateries (mostly local…Powells books, Made in Oregon, Stanford’s Steakhouse, etc…) with skylights and live music much of the time, comfortable seating throughout (you can even lay down in many areas) and a play area for kids.

According to the signs posted, PDX has been voted one of or the best airports in the world several times. I never really paid much attention, coming and going, but I recently spent a week there working as a surveyer for the Dept. of Transportation and really came to appreciate just how nice it is.

One of the main reasons is that we have a law here that any vendor in the airport is required to charge the going rate. No $10 sandwiches or $5 bottles of water. If you go into any store or eatery, you pay the same as you would at one of their branches outside the airport. WOW! :eek:

I live 5 min. away from it currently and seriously, it is somewhere you could go and hang out, shop, eat lunch and have a great, affordable time, even if you weren’t going anywhere or picking someone up.

I’m finding it hard to come up with any airports I like.

Airports I particularly dislike:

JFK. I fucking hate JFK. It’s ridiculously difficult to find your airline. There are no signs, the hall is huge, and the maps are for the stores in the lower level. And there doesn’t appear to be an information desk to ask for directions. You just have to wander around until you find your airline. Plus, once you get down to the lower level, there are very few plugs near tables, so if you want to plug your computer in, you’re probably going to have to sit on the floor. Oh, and wifi isn’t free.

London Gatwick. There’s a little monorail connecting the two terminals. I wander around, can’t find my airline. I ask for directions, I’m told to take the monorail to the other terminal. Okay. I do so. I wander around the terminal, can’t find my airline. I ask for directions, am told that the person who told me to come over was mistaken, my airline really was back at the other terminal. I take the monorail back.

Friends, I shit you not, I ended up taking that monorail back and forth looking for my airline no fewer than five times. In short, I fucking hate London Gatwick.

Chhatrapati Shivaji (aka Mumbai Int’l Airport). Not big enough for the amount of travelers it sees, not enough chairs, makes people go through security TWICE. WHYYYYYYYY. I fucking hate Chhatrapati Shivaji. You can get surprisingly good food there, though.

Oh yeah, and of course, my local airport, DTW. The people are are so fucking rude. Jesus.


  • Logan in Boston. Crappy terminal, relatively few amenities past the gate if you’re not going on Delta or whatever their main terminal branch has.
  • Orlando. Something like 90% of the airlines fly through one half of the airport, and just a few (including Southwest) go through the other. This leads to an insane wait at the backed-up security area that serves the aforementioned majority of the airlines. When I was there, I was glad I decided to arrive early, as I saw a number of people frantically telling TSA agents that their plane was due to take off in 20 minutes.


  • O’Hare and Midway, Chicago. Yes, I know these go on everyone’s hate lists. Maybe it’s because I live here and thus don’t have to deal with flight transfers. They have good to great amenities past security, and the security lines aren’t bad. Only gripe is that Midway understaffs the “black diamond” expert-traveler security line, so it actually takes longer there than it would if you stood behind the family with 5 kids and the elderly couple who haven’t flown in a few decades.
  • Portsmouth, NH. Awesome tiny airport. Maybe a dozen gates, free wi-fi, efficient. If you’re getting a rental car, you go to the desk inside the airport, then walk across a few lanes to the parking garage outside, where your car is being kept for you. I’ve taken this as an alternative to going to Logan (when visiting friends in Boston, even) and been happy about it.

I really like Sacramento airport, and I think it benefits from not being too large. Free wifi, lots of food options including restaurants where you can have a beer and work at an actual table, sensible and friendly power outlet placement, etc all contribute towards a relatively pleasant experience.

I remember strongly disliking O’Hare - I couldn’t find a comfortable restaurant in my terminal nor power outlets not attached to cubicles that made me feel like I was visiting a prison inmate.

Tampa is a seriously wonderful airport. It’s an almost eerily wonderful airport. Airports are not supposed to be as comfortable and efficient as Tampa. Baltimore is also pretty nice.

On the other hand, O’Hare and Dulles are two sprawling, obnoxious airports. Though I was last in Dulles about three years ago, and remember them doing some construction, so maybe they improved. But when I was there, I hated it.

This seems appropriate. =)

I’m fond of ATL, myself. Plenty of amenities and services, and the terminal layout is as straightforward as it gets. The volume of traffic that passes through there is amazing, but delays on bad weather days can really snowball.

I’ll say something nice about DFW. It isn’t Love Field. Love Field is huge, and has almost nonexistent flier services. If you want to use a restroom, well, they’re all waaaaay over there, whereas DFW has a lot more of them, scattered around the place. Love Field was supposed to be shut down some decades ago, however, they found loopholes and used them.

However, trying to navigate the DFW roads and parking lots is a complete nightmare…and we frequently fly out of there or pick our daughter up from there. OK, we do it several times a year, not every month or so, but still, the signs are extremely confusing. Cell phones are a real help here when trying to pick someone up, or when trying to notify someone that you want to be picked up. I pity the poor person who is not accustomed to DFW, and who has to use it.

The Springfield/Branson Missouri airport is just pathetic. It’s better than it used to be, but it’s still pathetic. It’s tiny, so it’s hard to get lost in it, but that’s the only positive thing I can say about it.

I fly out of Memphis and St Louis. Memphis fares tend to be expensive, but i really like the access of the airport. Easy parking, relatively cheap. Last time, I flew out of that airport, it took me a grand total of 15 minutes, to park my car, catch a shuttle, check in with baggage, go through security, and was at my gate. 15 minutes!

St Louis airport is the biggest hassle in the world. Parking is a nightmare. Lines are long.

I hated Toronto Airport.

Logan doesn’t have a main terminal. I don’t hate it because I know it so well, but as a visitor I would.

You sure you’re talking about Portsmouth? Only 2 gates, no airline service at all (RIP Skybus and Boston-Maine), and no parking garage. Sounds more like Manchester.

Like: Almost any airport because I like airports, but I’ll put Honolulu at the top of my list. Mainly because when you land there, you’re in Hawaii.

Dislike: Atlanta, because every connecting flight is at the far end of a different terminal building and it takes every minute you have to hustle down there.

I like the parking at SeaTac: drive up a tight spiral several storeys until you find a spot, then take the elevator to a short walk to the terminal.

Compared to Atlanta: park out in the boondocks, and walk through a six year-old construction zone* to the terminal while sucking fumes and dodging jet-lagged drivers.

*in accordance with the shovel-leaners full-employment act of 1986

Dubai… well organized, easy and polite immigration and security, easy access to the city.
Zurich… same as Dubai… my favorite European airport

Don’t like:
Dallas… rental cars cost a fortune and are miles from the terminal. Baggage claim arrangement is just weird.
Khartoum (Sudan)… thankfully, they are getting a new airport very soon as the old one is very tired. :wink:

Avoid at all costs:
Paris CDG… no place to sit, terrible signage, not enough room for security, convoluted layout.
JFK… maybe they hired Aeroports de Paris as consultants.

The worst one I’ve ever been to is San Jose, California. It’s a major airport, but you’d never know it because it has as few amenities as you’d expect at an airport in Pocatello Idaho or Wheeling West Virginia.

Definitely DFW, for all the reasons already mentioned.

I also hate Pearson in Toronto. Too big, too many gates, and it always seems like the one I want is farthest away from where I am. Crappy overpriced food, and in the middle of nowhere, so you can’t even go someplace close to grab something to eat at a realistic price.

On the other hand, the airports in Ottawa, Kingston and Winnipeg are easy enough to get around in as is the one in Dublin, and John Lennon in Liverpool. The latter two would almost be perfect, but they also suffer from that “out in the boonies” syndrome that affects Toronto.

They’re all that bad? Oh dear. We’ve only flown there via United; I thought at least whichever one they’re a “hub” for (I think it’s Delta?) would be favored. United gets the big-ass terminal at O’Hare, for instance.

Goddamnit, you’re right. Manchester. I like visiting Portsmouth. :smack: Sadly, we’re opted for Logan more in recent years, and last year and this we’re just driving there.

BTW, found a flash map on their website of which airline is assigned to which gate area and which security area:

You have to go through security before getting on the trams to the gate areas. The international flights (barring Aer Lingus) and Southwest/Northwest/Delta go through one security gate. All the other US flights go through the other one. :smack: It was pretty damned lopsided when I was flying out on a Saturday evening, and all those people backed up in that terminal area.

I really liked the old Kai Tak in Hong Kong. That place had character as well as a gnarly landing flight path. :wink: