What Makes Your Least Favorite Airport So Awful?
Perhaps the only thing more associated with Thanksgiving than turkeys and pilgrims is airport-induced rage. Hours of delays, lost luggage, and never-ending security lines can surely leave a bad taste in your mouth. A major part of your holiday happiness, therefore, can be tied to the airports through which you travel. If you're lucky enough to get a good one, flying can be a breeze: the sunny halls, central-hub design, and easy-to-navigate tram system at Tampa International Airport means I never have to worry about being a Thanksgiving Grinch on my way home for the holidays. But millions of other travelers aren't so lucky.
CNN.com compiled a list this week of the most hated airports around the world, with reasons why each earned this dubious distinction:
10. São Paulo-Guarulhos International, São Paulo, Brazil: "just 41 percent of all flights leave on time"
9. Perth Airport, Perth, Australia: "a reviled pair of domestic terminals (home of two-hour taxi-line queues, atrocious check-in lines, overpopulated gates and meager lounges)"
8. Tribhuvan International, Kathmandu, Nepal: "primitive yet officious check-in procedure, starring a roulette wheel of underpaid security agents"
7. John F. Kennedy International, New York, United States: "a dim, surly, unbearably congested airport reeking with attitude and unapologetically long immigration lines"
6. Jomo Kenyatta International, Nairobi, Kenya: "cramped spaces; long lines; inadequate seating; frequent power outages; tiny washrooms hiding up several flights of stairs; shabby duty free shops; overpriced food outlets; and business class lounges worthy of a shelter in mid-city Los Angeles"
5. Ninoy Aquino International, Manila, Philippines: "ground crew strikes, unkempt conditions, soup kitchen-style lines that feed into more lines and an overall sense of futility"
4. ToncontÍ n International, Tegucigalpa, Honduras: "second most dangerous airport in the world"
3. London Heathrow, London, England: "long walks (or, more commonly, runs) between gates to a frenzied soundtrack of ‘last call' announcements"
2. Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, United States: "a dramatically undersized and moribund one with the architectural élan of a 1960s correctional facility"
1. Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France: "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"
More often than not, we don't hate an airport for something major, such as Tegucigalpa's spotty safety record. It can be the little things that bug us: long taxi lines, lengthy walking times between terminals, uncomfortable seats, too few outlets.
What's your least favorite airport—and what makes it so terrible?
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Poll: To Red-Eye or Not to Red-Eye?
if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('40ed3393-59bf-4f4c-ab86-2f900217a19d');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)I've probably come across two other people in my life who, like me, actually find air travel relaxing. Sleeping on the plane? Not a problem for people like us—on my last flight, I was completely out before the plane even took off. We're also the people who don't think twice when faced with the prospect of booking a red–eye. Since I live on the East Coast and have family on the West Coast, the red–eye has become a way of life for me. In fact, I'm on the hunt for them when I'm booking travel. Sure, an arrival time of 5:15am can be a little daunting, but for me, it beats losing an entire day—one that could've been spent basking in the California sun—sitting in a cramped seat with restricted airflow and, if I'm lucky, a tiny window. (Yes, somehow I do still manage to find flying relaxing.) I'll opt for the overnight even if it means rolling straight from the airport into work (or for years before that, into class). This habit has been good to my budget—many times, I've saved money by booking that time slot that no one else seemed to want. And there are plenty of other benefits to opting for red–eye flights—just take a look at how bloggers Julie Schwietert and Lynn Rosen go to bat for them in these 2008 and 2009 articles. Better records for meeting arrival and departure times, less crowded planes (and often, airports), and savings? But even in the face of all this reasoning, whenever I talk about taking a Sunday–to–Monday–morning red–eye, I still hear "Are you crazy?" a lot more often than, "Me too!" or, "Hmm, I should try that." So I'm curious: are there more of us out there? What's your take on red-eye flights: love 'em, or leave 'em? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Are quick trips abroad worth the travel time? Holiday Travel: To Go Home Or Go Away 5 Ways Travelers Can Avoid Crowds This Holiday Season
Should U.S. Soldiers be Allowed to Pass Through Airport Security Quicker Than Other Travelers?
Last week, the House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of a preference system for the Armed Forces at public airports. Earlier this year, when United joined its merger partner, Continental, in allowing uniformed military personnel to board planes first—before, even, first–class passengers, disabled passengers, and families with infants—the news sparked a passionate response on our blog, with most comments in favor of the measure. Last week, the House of Representatives went a step further in helping to ease travel burdens for our servicemen. Members voted unanimously—404 to 0—to allow military travelers on official duty to move through airport security checks faster. According to the chief sponsor of the bill, Representative Chip Cravaack of Minnesota, that could mean troops not having to remove their boots, belt buckles, military jackets, and medals. Soldiers could be moved to the front of the security line, or a separate line could be created. "The main emphasis is expediting troops through a security process that wasn't made for them," Cravaack told the Associated Press. In the end, Homeland Security would establish the specific rules of the proposed preferential system. The legislation is now in the Senate. If it becomes law, the earliest recipients would most likely be troops returning home from Afghanistan in 2012, along with their family members, who also would get preferential treatment. So far, the move has earned raves from travel–industry groups. Already, the government has initiated a more intelligence–driven screening process for civilian passengers, allowing members of some frequent–flier programs to voluntarily register information about themselves ahead of time for expedited security screening. The new process is currently being tested at major airports in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, and Dallas and will likely expand nation–wide in 2012. Echoing these moves, some supporters of the new House bill are advocating for these new, eased airport–security screening privileges to extend to law enforcement officers and firefighters, too. What do you think? Should policemen and firefighters be allowed to pass through airport security more quickly than other passengers, alongside members of the military? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 4 Common Airport Security Questions—Answered! 7 Surprising Items That Set Off Airport Security New Shoelaces Ready for Airport Security
5 Ways Travelers Can Avoid Crowds This Holiday Season
Driving may be the number one mode of transportation over the holiday season, but that doesn't mean fliers will have the skies to themselves. Air travel is up seven percent from last year, according to Orbitz. As someone who loves traveling (but hates crowds), that wasn't exactly music to my ears. Fortunately, there are ways to get where you need to go without battling the suitcase-wielding masses (or grappling with road rage). Here are a few travel-editor-approved tricks for you: #1 Be smart about when you travel. Whether you're flying or driving, if you can travel on the holiday itself it's going to be cheaper and less hectic. If that's not possible, plan to arrive two days before (and to leave two days after) the holiday, since most folks will be making their trip the day immediately before and after the festivities. No matter when you're traveling, the earlier you can set out, the better. #2 Consider alternative airports. Taking the time to compare flights into nearby airports could save you money, time and hassle. For example, instead of flying into Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Washington, D.C. consider Baltimore Washington International (BWI) in Baltimore. It's smaller, less crowded, and flights there tend to be more affordable. Yes, it's about a 40-minute train ride outside the city, but the time and money you'll save at the check-in counter could be well worth it. #3 Book a non-stop flight. Every time your plane lands during peak travel times, the possibility of delays due to inclement weather or air-traffic congestion increases—and so do your odds of getting stuck with the unhappy masses. If a connection is necessary, try to fly through a southern hub, such as Dallas, Charlotte, or Phoenix, where you can at least eliminate weather as a problem. (A layover in Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis raises the probability of getting held up because of a storm.) #4 Airport parking lots get filled up around the holidays, so use public transportation. If you must drive, consider a private parking lot near the airport: They'll often shuttle you to and from the terminal, and they let you book in advance so you won't have to worry about finding a space. #5 If you're staying at a hotel, look into business hotels. Over the holidays, you'll find low rates (and fewer people) at classy city and suburban hotels that normally depend on business travelers. Families should consider all-suite hotels or long-stay hotels such as Homewood Suites and the Residence Inn, which have more room and good holiday prices. Hope this helps! If you have any other tips to add, please share them below! SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 7 Surprising Items That Trigger Airport Security 5 Credit Cards Every Traveler Should Consider 10 Most Useful Travel Websites
Case Study: What Happens When One Airline Dominates an Airport
Here's proof that when there's little competition at an airport, travelers pay a hefty price. Wanna clear demonstration of the so-called "Southwest Airlines effect" in action? The phenomenon describes the way airfares drop when big "legacy" carriers are forced to compete on routes with other airlines, specifically low-cost airlines such as Southwest. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently reported the findings of a study about the impact low-cost carriers had on the fares paid by passengers. The major local airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), is the 11th most expensive gateway in the country, according to the Department of Transportation. MSP also happens to be dominated by Delta Airlines, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the domestic flights in two of the airlines' terminals. On routes at MSP that only Delta flies, the average one-way fare is $218. When Delta competes on a route with another legacy carrier, such as United or American, the average fare goes down to $200. And when Southwest or another low-cost carrier competes on a route with Delta, the average price for a one-way ticket is $159. That's 27 percent cheaper than the average fare on Delta-only routes. This scenario, in which a monopoly yields higher prices for passengers, is hardly limited to Minneapolis. For years, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has been infamous for consistently hosting fares among the highest in the nation, on average. Like at MSP, the routes flown to and from CVG are dominated by one airline in particular. Yep, it's Delta. Delta also has a huge presence in Atlanta. But ATL is among the country's biggest, busiest airports, and Delta must compete with low-cost AirTran (which has a hub there) and tons of other carriers that use the gateway. As a result, ATL winds up being a reasonably priced place to fly to, through, or from: It ranks as the nation's 45th most expensive major airport. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: What Makes Your Least Favorite Airport So Awful? ?src=blgrc">Should Airlines Have to Allow One Checked Bag By Law? 5 Airport Innovations Worth Praising