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Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.
What are the best & worst international airports you've visited?
For me Hong Kong wins hands down as the best I've been to. As for the worst, there's a few worthy candidates but because it's in a developed country in Western Europe, I'm nominating Schipol in Amsterdam. The confusing gate numbering system and the fact it looks like a huge depressing train station are just two of the reasons why.
Dubai, for a crazy sick building that has freaking everything, IMO Dubai is best. I felt like a beggar in that airport. It was just a transfer. I bet the city is unreal.
Hong Kong, yeah the new terminal is really nice but isn't it kind of crowded in the departures area. Huge lines for food every time I flew out. The train to HK is fast and very convenient. But no surprise, HK was pretty slick.
Incheon, is good because it never seems very busy. Immigration is always fast.
Frankfurt, I like because they have so many cheap ticket dealers at the airport and a convenient train to the city with decently priced hotels, for Western Europe.
CDG Paris is okay also...can drop in and figure your way through it, great train system into the city.
Athens is small and simple, easy train ride to city, free internet if you are there all night. Good restaurant coffee bar upstairs.
Bangkok airport is idiot proof. Cheap food in that underground cafeteria. Easy to change money.
Manila is good only because of where it is. I don't mind sitting in a taxi for 45 min? an hour? to get to Manila. It is like waiting for Christmas. So exciting.
In most of Asia it feels like people there want you to come and go and then return again. Europe does NOT feel like that. Give us money, now go away from this land that we stole from you and return to work while we play.
Worst, JFK is old and too small but boy those Americans are efficient at getting people through that crappy airport. You have to take a stupid bus to Manhattan (that island place) there is no train. Why do the thieves that now live in Europe have trains but once mighty America does not. WTF?
LAX is crap also. Lots of buses to take you to a hotel but no train. Food is sh*t.
Addis Ababa is not good. It is very a strange place.
Osaka nice airport, easy train ride. But why are the Japanese such assholes at immigration? We are Japanese. First wait and then say please. We are Japanese. Now get down on your knees. Koreans and Chinese are nice. Everybody else is nice.
Of all the airports I have been in the only ones I have ever really had trouble in were Madrid (they wouldn't accept my ticket which was good. Fckers.) and Osaka (they took me to a room and searched me).
I took flights into and out of Tunis and Barcelona two or three years ago but right now I have no recollection of those airports.
Citizen: What do you mean about Europe? What land did they steal from who? Also, if you don't mind getting into it, what happened at Osaka? Looking to travel soon & would like to know all the "landmines" that I can.
Hong Kong and Singapore airports are big and efficient. At Singapore airport they have loungers where you can actually take a nap, that's a winner for me. At both places the immigration is usually fast even though they are dealing with loads of people.
The airport in Jakarta is actually pretty OK until you have to get outside and take a taxi. The domestic terminal is actually quite charming with its trad Indonesian architecture.
The airport at Beijing is too crowded for me and there is something weird about the lighting and air-con, both making my feel weird. I really don't appreciate Sydney airport, unfriendly hyper-security at transfer and everything costs a bomb (pun intended). Auckland airport is one of the few crowded places in the country, but you can just go outside to escape it, I often marvel at the size of some of the Pacific Islanders there. Taipei, Taoyuan airport is completely non-descript, but efficient enough. Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires seems lively and badly planned.
I remember queuing up forever at JFK immigration, but there was a train into Manhattan?
Even Billy knows that, just ask Mr S!
Never really saw HK as crowded but then again I've only transferred from another flight so I haven't seen the whole terminal. Guangzhou has a similar layout to HK at the gates but it's less spacious, drab, and as old as the hills. Waited in a queue for 45 mins transferring through that airport between flights too.
Manila was regarded as the worst airport in the world although in my opinion there are others more worthy of that mantle. It's not exactly great and yeah the traffic around it is horrendous. Cebu is the best international airport in the Philippines and Clark in Angeles is good in terms of the small amount traffic in the surrounding area. Easy to get downtown unlike Manila.
JFK. You need buses to get around long distances between terminals. You have no idea what terminal you need to get to to change airlines, and if you ask one of the fat negresses that work there, they are the rudest most unhelpful creatures on the planet. It is like I was trying to away her bucket of fried chicken or asking a baboon if you can share one of their bananas. You will get a screeching fu in response. Or maybe it is because I asked what terminal must I go to for South African airways, and I certainly have no American accent.
The negresses at Miami airport customs were just as rude and screeching loudly in a language I did not understand, until a white American translated for me from baboonics to American English. He told me it was English but to me it made as much sense as a screeching baboon. She went through my bags like a baboon would as well; scattering everything all over the place. No idea what she was looking for. Maybe she thought the arrival of white men on an SAA flight meant their luggage would be full of manacles chains and whips to enslave blacks. I was travelling with a military style balsac which means emptying it
I don't know if LAX is the worst, but it is very unpleasant.
A few months back, I was taking an international flight out of LAX. I had boxes and carryons. I didn't have a five in my wallet, and to get one of those carts to carry your stuff, it's isn't free like it is at nice airports in Asia. I called for a SkyCap, and was drowned out by the five or eight others calling for the one skycap. I had to balance big, full-luggage-sized boxes on top of my carry on.
I finally got into the airport. It was so crowded. I finally got a luggage cart without paying the five bucks.
Coming in to LAX from overseas the last time, there was this awful line. They made all the US and Canadians stand in one line while every single one of the folks in the foreigner line went and had their faces scanned at the machines. I thought maybe this is their way of being hospitable. Then they made us line up in the immigration line. They ask foreigners a bunch of questions and let us American citizens pass easily. Why put Americans behind foreigners if that is the case?
I hear that if someone comes from New Zealand or somewhere like that, headed to England, across the US, the US makes him actually go through imigration and customs at LAX just to fly across even if he has no plans of getting out in the US. The US may create a lot of the crowds and other problems at LAX through bad policies.
LAX also has horribly overpriced food. There used to be a McDonalds at one of the Delta terminals. But now they have some fancy schmansy salad place where you can spend $16 on curried cauliflower, soybean salads and stuff like that. And they had a burrito place that didn't have anyone there who actually took your order. The last time I ate at that terminal, I found out you could go down a set of stairs, emerge at another terminal, and actually buy an overpriced burger from one of the restaurants in the next terminal over.
I do not care much for LAX. Guangzhou's airport even looks nicer to me. Stuff is way overpriced. You can spend $10 on a meal there. But they do have some cheaper options in the domestic part of the airport at the downstairs gates. The upstairs looks good. I went to a medium sized city airport there that looked like a nice mall.
Jakarta has a nice airport when you leave. Kind of simple, but with nice gardens outside. Arriving though is kind of depressing looking, with poor neon lights shining on an old tile floor.
Singapore has a nice airport, especially for a country its size. It has a butterfly garden, a free movie theater, free internet (got to get the password from the information desk) free Internet equipped machines, a game room with computers and something like an X-Box (that had a grown man hogging it up for an hour while I had kids). .
One of the worst international airports, I can recall, is Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) JED.
The terminal is tiny, comparing with the actual flow of people. In the rush hours there is not only nowhere to sit, but even almost nowhere to stand. It is considered as non-smoking airport, and signboards say, you will be fined, if you dare to smoke. But nobody cares. Both terminal staff and passengers smoke in the western part of terminal and throw stubs on the floor.
Toilet is a dump, with 1 cm (half inch) thick layer of water on the floor. Muslims have to wash their toes before a prayer, and they do it in hand basins. The toilet is always crowded, but urinals are unoccupied, just cabins. The thing is they mostly wear their traditional long shirts, calling thawb, which make them unable to release the dick to pee. That’s why they pee squatting and don’t use urinals.
They have 2 cafes, which sell rice, chicken and coca cola, and they accept cash only. Duty free is overpriced, and stock consists mostly of dates and souvenirs “made in china”. When you move anywhere, you should watch your steps, so that not to step on laying people. A few lcd screens show incoming and outgoing flights, but the information displayed is outdated. When a flight is ready for boarding, terminal staff is yelling the destination and airline name, so you should be careful.
It is not like UAE airports, where everything is civilized. Even when flying with Saudi people on board, it is a circus. They always yell, stand, walk along the cabin, even if an aircraft is landing. If a cabin crew is women, they don’t listen to them, since a woman is trash, who can’t dictate men what to do. It’s also amusing to fly to Saudi Arabia, especially from Europe. An hour or so before landing, they become to change their “savage” European dress to traditional one. Women with a thick layer of make up on their faces cover themselves in burka (black dress, so called ninja outfit), men change their dress to white sheets, which they are used to wear on bare body. Since toilets are always occupied (they wash their toes before prayers), men undress in the cabin. They strip naked right in the cabin and don’t care if children or wmen are staring at them.
Sounds exactly like Riyadh so I guess all Saudi airports are the same. Had the unfortunate experience of spending an extra four hours here due to a delayed flight. Also, Saudi Airlines are the worst airline I've flown with.
Re the theft of Europe I will post a thread on my beliefs someday. What is that saying? Half of recording history is hiding the truth.
Osaka immigration is usually slow. Japanese zip through while foreigners wait. One time, after waiting the buggers took me to a private room, made me wait and then searched me, then they made me wait again. They know who is bringing in drugs and contraband. They just wanted to mess with me. It p*ssed me off. Happened 12 or 13 years ago. I didn't think that would ever happen to me. I have been through that airport 4 times since then. I wasn't tasered to death like that poor Polish fellow at Vancouver International, I wasn't refused entry but everything is relative. When you expect to be out in an hour and it takes 3 that is annoying.
My cousin and I flew into Bali on one way tickets. Immigration refused us entry. The immigration officer demanded money to let us in. We offered him 1 USD, thought that was big money for them. Apparently it is not. He didn't think that was very funny. Think we each paid 60 USD to get through. Have a return ticket. Always have a little bit of USD cash. Have the name, address and phone number of a hotel that you can say you are staying at (so it looks like you have a reservation). I think where you actually stay is unimportant. Just make it easy for them to do their job and file you in like everybody else.
I meant the airport is good because it is in the Philippines.
So weird, I find Americans to be very nice and helpful. Actually, I find almost everybody everywhere to be nice and helpful. It is sad that I have such a negative attitude towards the world because in general most people are really nice to me.
NAIA Manila all terminals one of worst in world, maybe worse than that in Lagos. If the airport isn't bad enough, the traffic into town will do you in. I once spent over 3 hours in mostly stand still traffic for a 7.5 km trip.
Yes, I agree Saudi Arabian Airline is bad airline, but not the worst. At least they have normal aircrafts.
You probably haven’t flown with Avior airline in Venezuela. They run some small old aircrafts and the flight itself was a show. When I was flying, the pilot switched the radio to the other frequency to be able to discuss the results of local football match with his fellow pilot. He was very emotional during that conversation and desperately gestured, leaving the wheel unattendant It made the aircraft dangle so much, that some passengers were close to vomit, but the pilot was so busy with conversation, that he even didn’t notice. When we flow into cloud, it became rainy, and we found out the roof and portholes are heavily leaking, which ultimately making us wet When we flow through lightnings, passengers became to pray already. That flight was quite extreme, though memorable.
Aerosur (Bolivia) still uses old aircrafts for domestic flights. It was likely boeing 727, which was produced in 70s and was about to come apart anytime. It was especially scary during take off and landing, when every single particle of the aircraft was cracking and quaking. Some Indonesian domestic airlines such as Susi Air, Trigana Air, Batik Air use extremely old and bad shape aircrafts as well. And every time you have to fly, you pray
Wow, the people hear are well-traveled! Why would you guys go to Saudi Arabia? Isn't everything real strict & the "kuffir" is public enemy? I would presume a lot of times it'd be tough to get laid, since everyone involved might get their head chopped off. I definitely wouldn't go to an Arabic/muslim country now.
Speaking of which: How are the ports & airports around the world now with all that? I know there's been a lot of bullshit going on in Europe & Washington just helped out ISIS in a pretty serious way (bombing the Syrian military that's fighting ISIS). If I'm a somewhat scruffy white guy with an American passport, is that going to get me into shit anywhere in particular? I'm heading to Europe (which I figure would be okay), but I'm trying to an impression of things. The "lay of the land," so to speak.