And the Worst Airport in the World Is ...

Heathrow! In London. For at least the second year in a row. Story here.

**Top 10 favourite airports

  1. Singapore Changi

  2. Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Intl

  3. Amsterdam Schiphol

  4. Dubai World Central Intl

  5. London Heathrow

  6. Copenhagen

  7. Zurich

  8. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Intl

  9. Seoul Incheon International

  10. Frankfurt International

Worst airports

  1. London Heathrow

  2. Paris CDG

  3. Los Angeles - LAX Intl

  4. Frankfurt International **

I have to say I don’t care much for Bangkok’s new airport, and I’ve never found LAX bothersome.

I think Charles de Gaulle is an abomination, and LAX can be a run down pain in the ass… but Heathrow isn’t terrible and I like Frankfurt.

My votes for worst are CDG, JFK, and CDG one more time.

Ooh, and Chicago. That airport is a vortex of lateness and crapitude.

Interesting that Heathrow makes both the favorites list and the worst list.

I actually dislike Frankfurt quite a bit more than CDG.

I think Dubai’s airport sucks. It’s a fancy, well lit, disorganized mess. Frankfurt sucks as well, but it has great Star Alliance lounges that make up for it if you’re a member.

I like Frankfurt a lot because I know it so well and can get good food, beer, showers and lounges there. But I can see hating it if you only go there occasionally, especially as they have been working on re-doing it for a while now. And even though I don’t use them it’s nice to know that there’s a Beat Uhse in there if I need it. Also for rail connections it beats the hell out of a lot of other airports.

LAX is dirty and smelly. It’s an embarrassment compared to Bangkok or Hong Kong.

Yeah, how is Heathrow on both lists? All I know is that I once waited over 2 hours just to check in for a Virgin Atlantic flight. I’m not sure if that was the airport’s fault or Virgin’s, but it sucked.

Dulles is also pretty awful. All the way out in the middle of nowhere, yet somehow still always with horrible traffic. And whoever thought that giant sci-fi vehicles were a good basis for an airport should be shot. It’s truly bizarre. Reagan Airport is like heaven in comparison.

I’ve always hated Kansas City’s airport.

Haven’t been to em all by any means though.

I hate Heathrow. Not because it is butt ugly (which it is) but every time I go through immigration I get treated like a terrorist. Last time the official interrogated me about my US student visa (I got my MA in Chicago a few years ago).

You have student visa from US.


Expiration date is 2012.


You still in US?

(Uh, no, finished in 2007.)

But your visa isn’t expired yet. Why are you not still in US?


Honestly, what the fuck does my American student visa have to do with entry into the UK? I feel like they just want to make life as difficult as possible for anyone who has the temerity to visit their country.

Obviously written by people who have not spent a ton of time in African airports. One day I’ll tell you about the airport in Bamako, which is outclassed by any Greyhound station on the planet.

Addis Ababa, though, has an absolutely beautiful airport, and flying on Ethiopian Air is a pleasure. Especially their awesome blankets.

Heathrow is a fucking horrible mess, and I agree that it should top the list. Terminal 2 is particularly irritating, though now T5 has sorted out its problems I think it’s pretty magnificent.

(I will say, though, that HazelNutCoffee’s treatment isn’t a function of the airport, but of British immigration, which is independent.)

That said, it is merely a horrible mess for a developed country. Hanoi and Saigon are pretty bad, and Nha Trang “airport” is barely more than a shed. Kathmandu and Pokhara also leave much to be desired.

One of the good things about living in Singapore is the fact that either the beginning or the end of your flight is in Changi Airport.
And I will never willingly set foot in Charles de Gaule ever again. Geesh.

As a London airport connoisseur, I would have to say that Gatwick is at least 10x more ugly and depressing than Heathrow. For short-haul flights I try to go from Southampton whenever possible. It’s like flying used to be - walk in door, walk up to queue-free check-in desk, check-in, walk through security where friendly agent checks boarding pass. Place bag on conveyor belt, walk through metal detector, pick up bag, walk about 20 yards to departure gate.

Heathrow is easily beaten by Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi, Sheremetyevo in Moscow, And Manas in Bishkek.

Which Chicago? I live here so obviously I deal with them a lot, and can’t say I dislike either. I haven’t had any notable lateness issues out of either O’Hare or Midway, and generally prefer O’Hare.

My typical worst airports are BWI (Baltimore Washington) and Logan. BWI seems unable to get luggage off a plane with any promptness, and Logan has crummy amenities past the gate, at least for the United/etc. terminal.

I must say we were greatly impressed by Copenhagen airport when we used it last month. Everything seems to work, it’s easy to get around the place and it’s seamlessly hooked into the local transport network.

For me, Heathrow makes the ‘worst’ list for Terminal 3 (especially Virgin check-in) and it makes the ‘best’ list for Terminal 5.

Oh shit yeah. First time I arrived there, in 1998, they were having puja fires on the tarmac and the line through immigration was 3 hours long. Plus, the baggage handlers don’t seem to understand the concept of the conveyor belt, and there are guys whose job is to take your bag off the conveyor and dump it on the floor in a huge pile. WTF?

The place was dark and dingy and dirty and it stank, and when I got to the door to go out, there were hundreds of faces pressed up against the glass, and hundreds more crowding exit, grabbing and pushing and hustling and trying to pickpocket. It was a horrible introduction to the country.

I was back there earlier this year, and things had improved a wee bit, though not a huge deal.

I haven’t flown too much, but have been in Detroit Metro, JFK, Dulles, Philly and Logan. Philly was by far the worst of these. The seating areas were old and busted pleather seats with stuffing spilling out, the food courts only took cash (wtf?) and we were in one area, moved to a completely different area in another wing of the terminal, and then moved back to the original one.

My guess is that it’s a list of airports that a lot of people have gone to. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, so a lot of people remember both good and bad things about it.

(I’ve sampled a lot of airports in the US, and Heathrow is better than most of them.)