Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the experience you have at the airport can set a terrible tone for your trip, or end it on the wrong note. What should be just a quick stop in your worldly wandering can turn into a nightmare when bad customer service, disorganization and un-cleanliness are prevalent.
Manila – Ninoy Aquino International Airport
When it comes to ranking airports around the globe, Manila is at the bottom of the list year after year. This could possibly be related to its coming and going of over 32 million travelers every year, when it only was only designed to handle 6.
Add in an air conditioning system that only works erratically, and your trip is taking off on the wrong foot. The biggest complaint given by travelers is the long wait times, which were only heightened during its recent renovation.
The remodel hopefully took care of the rundown look and feel of the outdated airport. With the “new” airport now up and flying, Manila’s infamous airport may slowly make its way off of the list.
France – Charles De Gaulle Airport
One would think that a Paris airport would be like a little cosmopolitan city within the city, yet flyers consistently complain about rude and brash staff and overall chaos inside. Sounds like the City of Lights needs to send a memo to its airport staff on how to seduce their visitors.
The design of Charles De Gaulle leaves much to be desired as well, with connecting terminals set almost 2 miles apart.
And with an obvious lack of enough seating, you want even get a rest after that sprint through the airport.
United States – Los Angeles International – LaGuardia Airport (a tie)
One far to the West, and the other to the East, both LaGuardia and LAX are two of the busiest airports in the world yet get consistent complaints. For a major international hub, LAX is poorly lacking in restaurants, shopping and even just seats. Considering the Hollywood heavy weights that grace the halls daily, you’d think they could afford a few couches.
Being reported as too small, too crowded and just outright dirty, Governor Cuomo hangs his head in shame at the state of LaGuardia airport. Vice President Biden finds it similar to being in a third world country.
This is sad news for the tens of millions of foreign visitors riding its escalators each year.
Italy – Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport
Rude staff, an unclean environment, and a lack of international language skills makes this Italian airport a frequent stop on the worst of the worst lists. You know it’s really bad when a reviewer says that destroying it is the only solution to fixing its myriad of problems.
Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport caters to many of the budget airlines servicing Europe, making it a popular layover and flight change airport. If at all possible, choose another airport for your switch in airlines.
Switzerland – Zurich International
Surprisingly, the biggest complaint given about this major city airport is with the staff and a jarringly bad attitude. When a lack of politeness is over shadowing an array of unique shopping venues and restaurants, it may be time to start a customer relations class.
Travelers to Switzerland are about to embark on one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Who wants to begin that vacation with a run in with a rude immigration officer?
Chad – N’Djamena International Airport
It can’t be a good sign when the lights continually flicker inside of an airport. Yet that is one of the nicer comments about this Chad based airport. With mud tracks through the lounges and garbage lying around, it is more like being in an inner city ghetto than an international traveler’s hub.
If you are stuck spending more than an hour or two, get out and go anywhere else.
You don’t want to have to eat, sleep, sit or anything else in this airport.
Russia – Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport
Poorly designed, this Moscow airport is seemingly two with the terminal miles away from the gates. Make sure your running shoes are in your carry-on if you are there to transfer flights as there is little mercy for late arriving travelers when the plane is ready to take off.
Top that off with broken signs and rude staff, and you could wind up lost in the airport for hours. Maybe you should pack a compass along with those running shoes.
Or open up that bottle of Vodka you bought at duty free and worry about getting home tomorrow.
India – Calcutta Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
Uncomfortable, crowded and noisy seems to be the running theme with Calcutta’s international airport. Plus, serious armed guards at each entrance don’t exactly give off a warm and fuzzy feeling. Be ready to hand over your passport and check-in details before even making it through the front doors.
If you have to spend a few hours in this airport, try and sneak over to the domestic terminal.
According to reviewers it looks like Calcutta is rough on its international travelers, but cozy if you are planning on sticking around.
Pakistan – Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International
Dirty and crowded, this Pakistan international wait station has been likened to a prison. Not exactly the way one wishes to begin a holiday in any part of the world. Have your papers all in order if you have any hope of an early parole.
They should start giving classes now on how to make navigating an airport smooth sailing for travelers.
Saudi Arabia – Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International
If you want your vacation to start with an disorganized and undereducated immigration check, then fly into Jeddah’s King Abulaziz International Airport. Here you may get to wait up to four hours just to have your passport stamped. It’s hard to imagine what would happen if they decided to check through your luggage.
Ready to leave? Be prepared for rude and unresponsive service during check-in. According to reviewers, it is not unusual to be shooed away if you have a question or concern.
Makes you wonder if it’s a lack of foreign translating skills or if they really have an aversion to helping the wayward traveler.
They are very modern in their bribery techniques, and not above taking a little Rupee on the side for the privilege of passing through immigration and customs without international incident. Have a bit of extra cash on hand to handle greedy guards. If you find yourself with a long wait in this airport, you’re better off spending the time in a local hotel.
Since 2001, international travelers have learned to expect longer wait times as security measures in airports around the world have increased. Yet there are some airports that are still ridiculously inept at moving visitors through. When you combine that with overcrowding, limited seating and an environment that makes a pig sty look clean, some major international metropolises are an embarrassment to their flag.
People who travel often have a very good idea of what is acceptable in an airport and what is outright outlandish. When you are making your travel plans, always look for alternative stops to the ones that are listed above. If not, you are setting yourself up to a terrible start in a foreign country. When you are unsure about the conditions of an airport you may be spending some time in, check the reviews. The seasoned traveler is never afraid to share their horrific experiences.
United States – Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport
Most people remember the name Clinton from a scandalous love affair in the 90’s. Though if you are a frequent traveler you might remember the name for a different reason.
This Arkansas based airport is said to be the worst in America due to long wait times, poor check in procedures, delays and the actual design of the airport. If you are travelling via this airport remember to bring some food and entertainment, there are only a couple of stores to keep you occupied during your wait.
One important bonus to note about this airport is its free Wifi. So you see, every cloud does have a silver lining.
Germany – Frankfurt Hahn International Airport
This bleak airport is on the list due to its cold design and lacking in any character. Not only that, it has been voted 6th worst airport in the world.
It is abit of a surprise that a German airport would end up on this list, with German efficiency and over all approach to doing things really well. Frankfurt’s airport lacks in all things German. It was the first budget airport in Germany, with the main airline being RyanAir. Now for $1 flights who can expect more? What is really annoying about this airport is that it is not actually in Frankfurt!
It is over 120km away which makes it a very inconvenient place to get to for most travelers. Don’t expect to be able to sleep here, the chairs are extremely uncomfortable and cleanliness is not the priority.