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Old May 31, 10, 8:45 pm   #1
 
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What makes a bad airport?

Inspired by the Best and Worst Airports thread, we have seen a general consensus on the best. But there are many different examples of bad airports listed - some in developing countries and some in apparently affluent parts of the world.

So, what actually makes a bad airport bad? This is a thread to itemise the factors, one by one (one per post, perhaps, to keep the discussion alive) and examples of where one might find an example of such badness.

I'll start: queues to get through security to even enter the building - examples include BEY.
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Old May 31, 10, 9:00 pm   #2
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Frequent flight delays due to known common weather conditions that reducing the throughput of the runways, but airlines are allowed to schedule for best case weather conditions instead of common case weather conditions. (SFO and ORD are two notorious examples.)

Airports designed so that one has to go through additional security checks that are not required by policy. For example, airports where one must go through security to make a domestic connection because there is no airside connection between the gates, or airports where, after arriving from an international flight and clearing immigration and customs, one must go through security to go through the screened area exit the airport since there is no other way to exit the airport if it is your final destination (the latter design also violates the usual security policy that only ticketed passengers are allowed into the screened area; ATL has been cited as an example of this).
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Old May 31, 10, 9:05 pm   #3
 
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Lack of air conditioning.
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Old May 31, 10, 9:07 pm   #4
 
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Two pet peeves:

1. Poor wayfinding.
2. Lack of decent food options.
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Old May 31, 10, 9:17 pm   #5
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Any airport that forces travelers to walk so much that the Bataan Death March pales by comparison.....
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Old May 31, 10, 9:19 pm   #6
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Smoking areas not properly divided / ventilated to prevent smoke from going into the no-smoking areas. Example would be NRT in the late 1990s, where the smoking areas were just places that were not even divided from the rest of the airport. Interestingly enough, PEK at the same time (the old ugly airport) had properly divided and ventilated smoking rooms so that no smoke escaped into the rest of the airport.
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Old May 31, 10, 9:23 pm   #7
 
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Lack of shopping or decent catering on airside - so you walk past all the shops on landside and go through the border, only to discover you're in a sterile area with nothing to do, nothing to drink and no way back. Kota Bharu (Malaysia), for example.
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Old May 31, 10, 9:48 pm   #8
 
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Any airport where the arrivals hall is filled with deadly disease carrying mosquitoes, has immigration queues that last more than two hours and where paying a bribe to enter and/or exit the terminal is expected/demanded by gun carrying police.

My expectations are formed after many years of travelling into and out of West Africa.

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Old May 31, 10, 9:54 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yyzvoyageur View Post
Two pet peeves:

1. Poor wayfinding.
2. Lack of decent food options.
+1. I can cite Zurich (ZRH) as an example for an airport that sucks on both counts
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Old May 31, 10, 10:03 pm   #10
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over all ratings?

HUB: Time it takes to reach from the two furthest gates possible
(for connecting flights)

Terminals: Based on these times:
Curb to the aircraft
Aircraft to curb
Gate to takeoff
landing to gate.

(you can combine it and say curb to take off and landing to curb)

I like small airports better... and some of the "best" rated airports are
IMO the worst. (eg. DXB)
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Old Jun 1, 10, 2:14 am   #11
 
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Not naming names but any airport that has a high incidence of baggage/security guys with light fingers.

Tbh having my camera stolen all those years ago was actually a good thing. I learnt my lesson and since then I never leave anything valuable in my checked luggage.

Also any airport that can not handle crowds-peak periods. Air NZ flights check in area at LAX is atrociously small. Have 2 wide body jets leaving at roughly the same time and the line up goes out the terminal.
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Old Jun 1, 10, 3:17 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharmaintl View Post
+1. I can cite Zurich (ZRH) as an example for an airport that sucks on both counts
Huh? Everyone is entitled to his very own opinion, but you must have experienced another ZRH as I have. Although if you passed security then I agree, the food options in the gate area are indeed limited. But in the main hall after immigration you find very nice and decent options. All kind of foods from fast to culinary. And the halls are large, more or less calm, clean and well ventilated.

In contrast to some Asian airports nothing to write home about, but still one of the best in Europe and definitely better then most of the big airports in the US.
W
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Old Jun 1, 10, 5:14 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombelero View Post
Huh? Everyone is entitled to his very own opinion, but you must have experienced another ZRH as I have. Although if you passed security then I agree, the food options in the gate area are indeed limited. But in the main hall after immigration you find very nice and decent options. All kind of foods from fast to culinary. And the halls are large, more or less calm, clean and well ventilated.

In contrast to some Asian airports nothing to write home about, but still one of the best in Europe and definitely better then most of the big airports in the US.
W
+1

Couldn't agree more Wombelero. If ZRH could be classified as a bad airport then that means there must be very few decent ones.
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Old Jun 1, 10, 5:20 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombelero View Post
Huh? Everyone is entitled to his very own opinion, but you must have experienced another ZRH as I have. Although if you passed security then I agree, the food options in the gate area are indeed limited. But in the main hall after immigration you find very nice and decent options. All kind of foods from fast to culinary. And the halls are large, more or less calm, clean and well ventilated.

In contrast to some Asian airports nothing to write home about, but still one of the best in Europe and definitely better then most of the big airports in the US.
W
Completely unbiased as someone whose location is "Beautiful Switzerland".



I had the misfortune the other day of trying to navigate my way through LIS. Ugh - awful. The poor design is one I see replicated across several other European airports, including LIN and LHR T2 before it was shut: there is no intuitive flow of traffic, or it is blocked by pillars/seating; the ceilings are low and the whole airport feels cramped; to get from check-in to the gate involves following illogical corridors, twisting and turning on top of yourself; the actual passageways are impossibly narrow (six feet or less), leading to incredible backups if you have the misfortune to be stuck behind one slow person. It has happened several times to me.
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Old Jun 1, 10, 5:49 am   #15
 
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I hate CDG.

I flew from CDG-JFK yesterday and compared to CDG JFK was a breeze.
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