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Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
253 posts
10 reviews
Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Yesterday I got inspired from a topic I saw on an Australian FF forum and decided to bring it to TA.

The post was extremely fun and I hope you all continue to join in with your experiences, it's awesome seeing what everyone's experiences have been and @singlouissa made a great suggestion of your best and worst airport experience!


I think that's a great idea.

Personally, I haven't had a BAD airport experience except for a couple of mishaps. When I was about 9, I was traveling with mum, my baby sister, her friend, and her 9 year old son and his baby brother. We were going SYD > MLA. I can't remember which airline we took but we did have a connection in Frankfurt and what a mission that was! I remember everyone panicking, babies crying, getting lost... now I know why I'm so damn anxious haha.

Second was in Fiumicino Airport in Rome. My layover was 13 hours. As a Euro citizen I could have left the airport to explore the day in Rome but because I was broke, and had to collect baggage from my separate Air Malta flight I couldn't leave the airport. I had a tonne of ishhh. After 13 hours, a dead iPhone and barely charging iPad I checked my baggage and yayyyy here we go... not. Plane was delayed and they weren't telling us how long.

Shops were closing, people were getting irritated... I was getting bloody hungry but because I didn't know how long until we had to leave I didn't wanna risk missing the flight... ahhh good times. Ended up boarding about 4 hours later. JUST made my connecting ICN > SYD flight.

Best airport experience was DEF Incheon Airport. It's so clean, so filled with culture... even the suffocating smoking rooms were enjoyable... until you, yknow, suffocated lol. My transfer from the airport to Grand Hyatt for my 19 hour layover was sooo easy, and smooth. I was denied getting a sim card cos I was not staying in Korea for more than a day - eh understandable, Hotel had wifi anyway! Return was FANTASTIC as well. Def can't wait until the next time I visit this airport.

52 replies to this topic
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
34,154 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Btw, there are frequent suggestions for TA to have airport reviews. I support this, as long as the reviewer has to specify how they used the airport (origin, destination or transit/connection).

Best Overall - INCHEON ICN (Seoul). The airport that's efficient for a short connection but you should spend longer. The Korean culture shows in the concourse theater is worth it. Great free wifi and doesn't feel crowded. Good ground connections to Seoul too (train to the center and roads to the hi-tech suburbs). Soon to be a Delta hub once their joint venture with Korean is approved by the regulators.

Best/most efficient transit - Tokyo Narita/NRT. My average time from walking off the plane to be through security and on the departure concourse is 7 minutes (I've done it in as little as 2). Honorable mention to Taipei/TPE.

Best Origin/Destination (ground transportation to nearby city) - London Heathrow/LHR and London City/LCY - LCY is a tiny airport so perhaps shouldn't be here but it's brilliant for central London. Heathrow is also great with very frequent and affordable rail service (less than $5 off peak) on the TUBE.

I'll mull over the worst overnight.

Edited: 17 October 2017, 17:05
Level Contributor
1,810 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

I think review of any airport generally boils down to --- what we are expecting from the airport ? Immigration lines? Too much walking? Shopping and restaurants? ………………..

Among my own expectations from any airport, minimum walking time is always at the top of the list. And my consistently reasonably good experience has been at DFW.

I have used the airport several times during the past three years - both within US and international flights. Have always been surprised and amazed that the actual walking time within the airport after getting out of the car so low! Almost every time we walked less than 5-10 minutes to the check in counter or the departure gates.

Ditto on arrival – we walked minimum, picked up our checked bags and again walked a few minutes – and my son is waiting in his car right outside.

Immigration – sometimes it took more than an hour – but this can happen at any airport. I have waited 90 mins at Vancouver and the same at LHR.

I think this has something to do with the layout of the airport - so the car can drop you so close to your check in counter / boarding gate. If you google the plan of the airport – you can easily see the reason – the 5 nos “C” shaped terminals essentially reduce walking time. There is no central terminal like most airports.

Worst terminal in recent memory – Vienna, while we were flying from Vienna to Barcelona. The low cost terminal is located on the side – more like a bus stand. The walking and crossing live traffic while carrying bags ! – very irritating experience. Hope they improve the experience.

Our overall experience at VIE improved only once we reached our departure gates.

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3,632 posts
13 reviews
3. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Oh I see you have started the post

My worst last month at Gatwick 9 hr delay with wonderful Thomson dreamliner no support terrible ground staff apart from one nice woman sat around Gatwick from 5.30 in the morning finally departed 19.15

Then Rhodes Airportt 2 hrs wait for bags and no pre booked taxi finally got to bed 4.000 am

Paid extra for a early flight for the cheaper late flight get to Rhodes before us GRRRR

Certainly was not a dream mind you flight crew where great :)

Best experience sounds odd but

Flew on the day they finally put the American flights back on the week of 9/11 Gatwick North wonderful support and patience from the ground crews, security long long queues and all passengers patiently let people go a head if they where going to be late getting through security no grumbles no shouting .

People pulling together at there best :)

Edited: 17 October 2017, 18:54
Level Contributor
1,809 posts
4. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

I agree Incheon ( SEL ) is great

Of course my favorite is Singapore ( SIN )Changi :)

For those who transit SQ passengers ( including Economy ) who transit thru can get a S$20 ( almost same as AU$ or about US$ 15 ) voucher , use at eateries , spend in shops, or even get 2 hours 'lounge use' where also showers / changing etc, great deal .. As not transit don't get that , but still great airport.

Any airline / airport offering lounge facilities or free eats deal even for Y class has to be good :)

Koh Samui ( USM ) is Thailand is lovely , very open , with Bangkok Airways even economy/coach you have free lounge access etc , whether arriving or departing you can't forget it is a gorgeous tropical island :)

Worst - like with airlines , if fussy could think of a lot , overall I think it is the time it takes even with modern tech to get through airports , queues

Edited: 17 October 2017, 19:41
London, United...
Level Contributor
3,075 posts
120 reviews
5. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Worst - eaaaaaaaaasy. Sharm El Sheikh airport. It’s a dump, doesn’t have enough sanitary-looking toilets and had ran out of toilet roll by 4pm, has zero decent food options and even on arrival, baggage collection was chaos. They had LGW, BHX and MAN baggage co-mingled on 3 conveyor belts with nobody helping. Such a mess! I will never ever return to that hole of an airport.

Best - harder. I love LCY as it takes me 20 mins via DLR to get there and it’s super efficient. I also really liked Boa Vista airport which was a mostly open air space - solely for three reasons. 1. The entire airport staff only arrive about 1h30 before a flight is due to take off. They leave once the bags are unloaded, other bags are re-loaded, immigration is done. 2. They have a duty free shelf. 3. This man arrives with the airport staff. He opens up his pizza takeaway inside the airport but doesn’t even turn the oven on as he knows everyone has come from an AI so won’t want food, only drinks which he sells loads of. It’s funny little details like that that has made it stick in my mind!

Arcadia, California
Level Contributor
2,064 posts
33 reviews
6. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Worst airport: Frankfurt, I avoid it like the plague and go through Munich, which is one of the best transit airports in Europe IMO. Incheon, easy and very customer friendly.

CDG is hated by many travelers, but I never had any problems, till last time a few months ago, because of an incoming flight delay, the departure gate for the connecting had disappeared from the board, so it was a hassle to find the departure gate. Both flights on AF.

Level Contributor
490 posts
67 reviews
7. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

I'm struggling to think of a best airport experience but my worst experience was definitely Heraklion airport in Crete. Sweltering, smelly, overcrowded, flies everywhere, toilets broken or blocked, no seats, delays, weird baggage checking system and insufficient refreshments available for thousands of people. Never again.

Edited: 17 October 2017, 20:49
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
225 posts
32 reviews
8. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Hi Singlouissa

I transit thru SQ all the time on my way to japan

I have never been given $20 voucher, where would I obtain said voucher and is there a minimum transit time


Level Contributor
1,809 posts
9. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

If you are on a regular round trip for example PER-SIN-Hong Kong and return or say PER-SIN-Tokyo return

should be , I think it is one of those things you need to know exists


Eligible - but for straight out returns via SIN should be ok for you from Perth , as always , check , but looks ok - you can only use it once so either on your way out or on the way back


Edited: 17 October 2017, 21:06
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
53,292 posts
1,798 reviews
10. Re: Best and Worst - Airport Experiences

Hm-m, for me, worst has always been CDG - never had a single good experience there, and on 3 of 8 experiences, it was basically shut down for a security issue, which did not help. Other trips from there have just been poor experiences.

Best? Guess I have to go with PHX, but only the little T2.

SFO has usually been good for me, and is our chosen USA arrival airport.

LHR T2 has been good too, especially when compared to T3, when Star Alliance used it.

Now, I have had lousy flight experiences at some airports, but through no fault of the airport. Things were really messed up once, but UA staff at RDU, plus the airport, were fine. Same sort of thing with IAH, were I only have issues with B1 through B31 gates, but I find UA staff there to be very poor. If I fly the C, D or E gates, and do not have to interact with staff, Airport is OK. Similar issues at ORD.

Interesting how some folk view airports.


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