June 13, 2012

Worst U.S. airports, according to... me

I have by no means experienced all the airports in this country, but I’ve had to trudge my way through a few.  And since this list of the bottom-of-the-barrel U.S. airports is based on my own personal experience, it is horribly biased and unscientific.  But anyone who's flown a few times probably has a list of their own like this.  That said, here are my top 5.. er, bottom 5.  Whatever.

Washington Dulles International Airport: Give yourself a gold star if you manage to arrive here in time to catch your flight.  The traffic on nearby I-66 is usually abominable.  A taxi from downtown DC will set you back about $80. The economy parking lot is in West Virginia (ok not really, but it feels like it).  Checking in for an international flight can take up to 2 hours.  But there is good news - the airport just underwent a major renovation and upgrade!  The old, bizarre mobile lounges that used to transport passengers between terminals have been replaced by a train.  However, there is also bad news - the re-design of the security checkpoint that was needed to accommodate the new train design makes the security lines longer than ever.  Have fun catching that flight to Copenhagen.

Miami International Airport:  Check-in at MIA is a clusterf*ck.  They’re tricky bastards there - think you’re in line to get your boarding pass?  Fool!  You’re actually in the line to have your luggage shrink-wrapped.  And speaking of luggage, don’t check a bag if you would like to see it ever again.  Once you have successfully checked in (it will take you about 3 tries to find the correct line to stand in), best of luck navigating the sheer mass of humanity to get to your gate.  May the force be with you.

Orlando International Airport:  The security lines snake around every conceivable nook and cranny, screaming children run amok, and you can’t even close your eyes without seeing something related to Disney.  It’s my own personal hell.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:  if you are here, you are flying Delta.  My sympathies.  Your flight is also delayed. There is no need to check the Departures board.  Trust me, your flight is delayed.  Good luck finding a place to park your butt while you wait.  If you end up stuck overnight, you will need divine intervention to find a hotel room. 

Dothan Regional Airport (Dothan, AL): This airport, which is about the size of my bathtub, is by far my least favorite airport in the entire world. If you are in Dothan, you are flying Delta to Atlanta (see above for all the fun Atlanta has to offer once - or if - you get there).  If your flight isn’t as full as Delta would like it to be, they will claim vague delays until the next scheduled flight and simply combine them.  Local TSA staff may or may not be there to open the screening checkpoint, so even on the off-chance that your flight wasn't delayed before, TSA will make sure that it is. Hopefully you won't crave a cup of coffee while you wait, as the coffee in the airport cafe isn’t fit for human or animal consumption.  To top all this off, your grand Dothan experience comes at a price - you will have to sell one of your kidneys on the black market to afford all this.  I highly recommend going to Paris instead - it’s cheaper and and better for your blood pressure.

The entire aviation industry seems to tick people off these days, but not everything is a nightmare.  I'll cover my favorite U.S. airports in the next post.  There are some good ones out there, I promise.


  1. BWI > IAD no contest

    I like your new header! especially the guinea pig. I want to smoosh him.

  2. Horse and buggy > IAD. And thank you! That's the fortune-telling guinea pig - he's special ;-)

    Can't wait to catch up with you soon!

  3. Clearly you've never had to connect through CDG, or you'd be conjuring up 50 ways to commit suicide just thinking about it.

    GBE has to be up there with the tractor to pick up your luggage and the handmade welcome sign.

  4. Not to fear, I plan on doing an international version of the best and worst airports at some point. CDG will definitely be on the "Worst" list. Using it as an origin/destination airport will make you want to stab yourself with a spear, too. And yes, the luggage tractor at GBE certainly earns it a spot on the "Best" list!