Thursday, December 01, 2011

World Airports 2: Most Hated, CNN list

CNN GO also released its

10 of the world's most hated airports

The smelliest toilets, the longest queues, the rudest staff ... sometimes air rage feels justified

I've seen only #s 5, 3 and 2.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has 3 terminals. Terminal 1 is for non-national airlines or for foreign airlines only, Terminal 2 is exclusively used by the Philippine Airlines (PAL) for its foreign and local flights, while Terminal 3 is mainly used by Cebu Pacific, both for its international and local flights. There are other foreign budget airlines and local budget airlines that are using T3.

I went to London Heathrow airport, my first and last visit, in June 2005, during the "Global Development Summit" organized by the International Policy Network, and I was one of the panel speakers. It sure is a big airport. I can't recall if our landing was delayed, but our departure was delayed by at least 1 hour. We boarded on time, but the plane left the passenger boarding area late, then we queued for a long time at the tarmac. My connecting flight (London-Amsterdam-Manila via KLM) at Amsterdam airport was already boarding the last few passengers when we arrived. A few of us who have that connecting flight were practically running at Amsterdam airport from our landing gate to the boarding gate, we arrived just on time, whew!

And I went to LA airport first time last April 2009, when I attended the Atlas Liberty Forum, organized by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. I took Korea Air. I landed at LA airport, and flew back at San Francisco airport, because I visited some friends in North California, I went there via Greyhound Bus. I thought that LA airport was rather small, at least compared to many Asian international airports that I've seen, and considering that LA is rather famous worldwide because of Hollywood, etc.

5. Ninoy Aquino International, Manila, Philippines

Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Wear a helmet -- the first collapsed ceiling in 2006 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Beleaguered by ground crew strikes, unkempt conditions, soup kitchen-style lines that feed into more lines and an overall sense of futility, NAIA brings the term “Stuck in the 1970s” to a new level.
At Terminal 1 all non-Philippine Airlines remain crammed despite serious overcapacity issues and a new and underused Terminal 3 is occupied by a few minor carriers. 
A rash of bad press this year (including a “Worst in the World” ribbon from Sleeping in Airports) was capped by a collapsed ceiling in T1, a paralyzing ground service strike at T2, and the usual charges of tampered luggage, filthy restrooms, seat shortages at gates, re-sealed water bottles sold in retail shops and an Amazing Race-style check-in routine spiked with bureaucracy, broken escalators, lengthy Dot Matrix passenger lists and creative airport departure fees. 

4. Toncontín International, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

worst airports
Over-priced corn chips will be the least of your worries.

When do the most common airport gripes about inefficiency, uncomfortable gate chairs, dirty floors and lousy dining options suddenly become irrelevant? When you’re preoccupied about whether your 757 will actually be able to stop before the runway does. 
Nestled in a bowl-shaped valley at 957 meters above sea level, Toncontín’s notoriously stubby, mountain-cloaked landing strip was recently lengthened another 300 meters following a fatal TACA aircraft overshoot in 2008.
Not enough though to avoid being named the “second most dangerous airport in the world” by the History Channel. 
Nepal’s hair-raising Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the Himalayas is the top seed, but receives fewer gripes from its thrill-seeking Everest-bound clientele.

3. London Heathrow, London, England

bad airports
"You'll fly through departures -- at the speed of a penguin."

Depending on which of Heathrow’s five terminals one is funneled through, the average experience at the world’s third-busiest airport ranges from mildly tedious to "Fawlty Towers" ridiculous. 
With its rash of -- as they were politely called -- “teething problems” in bright and airy T5 (remember that riotous grand opening with 34 canceled flights?) and nicely matured problems in Ts 1, 2 and 3, the issues passengers are beset with run the gamut.
Parking messes. Busted baggage carousels. Deadlocked security lines. Long walks (or, more commonly, runs) between gates to a frenzied soundtrack of “last call” announcements. Realizations that getting out of Heathrow took longer than actually flying here from Madrid. 
In the airport “where the world changes planes,” it all boils down to a chronic inability to cope with this many people. Plans for a sixth terminal should help sever even more nerves.

2. Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, United States

It's not even a good spot for celebrity sightings.

If the world’s seventh-busiest flight hub was an old ballpark resting on the stale reputation of its Dodger Dogs and that great 1959 series, LAX might have some endearment value. 
But it’s an airport -- a dramatically undersized and moribund one with the architectural élan of a 1960s correctional facility and several publicized concerns about how its 1,700 takeoffs and landings a day can be sustained in a facility a fifth the size of healthier cousins like Dallas/Fort Worth. 
The unsupportive donut-shaped design -- it’s been called “eight terminals connected by a traffic jam” -- makes dashing between airlines feel like a diesel-scented cardio test. 
Plunked in the middle is the airport’s landmark Jetsons-style restaurant and only mentionable amenity, Encounter, but how does one actually get inside this place -- at least before being nailed for a petty traffic violation by some of the most ticket-hungry airport cops west of the Mississippi?

1. Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France

Don't expect to make friends during a storm closure.

“A great country worthy of the name,” President Charles de Gaulle once opined, “does not have any friends.” 
True or not, it’s this sort of attitude that has helped CDG become the most maligned major airport on earth. What’s fueling it? 
Grimy washrooms with missing toilet seats don’t help. Nor do broken scanning machines and an overall lack of signage, gate information screens and Paris-worthy bars, restaurants or cafés.
The baffling circular layout is worsened by warrens of tunnel-like structures, dismissive staff and seething travelers waiting forever in the wrong queue. 
The worst part may be this airport’s aura of indifference to it all. “Waiting for a connection here,” notes one commuter, “is like being in custody.”  
If you’re actually staying in Paris, you may be okay. If you have the gall to just be passing through between Malaga and Montreal, you can cut the spite of this place with a cheese knife.  

CNN's 5 other hated airports are:


10. São Paulo-Guarulhos International, São Paulo, Brazil

Whether it's 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. this airport experiences round-the-clock rush hour.

9. Perth Airport, Perth, Australia

worst airports
Kick a dog while it's down: The Qantas strike didn't help PER's reputation.

8. Tribhuvan International, Kathmandu, Nepal

Don't look the officers -- or the dogs -- in the eye.

7. John F. Kennedy International, New York, United States

Fans flooded the airport to welcome the 1964 British Invasion, but it seems they never left.

6. Jomo Kenyatta International, Nairobi, Kenya

Can't be disappointed if you're not expecting much.

1 comment:

james emmans said...

love the list, shame Heathrow has such a bad reputation, It does have a very good bus and tube service.