Outside the U.S. you can find some of the world’s finest airports. Their amenities might include swimming pools, movie theaters, spas, hotels, and even free city tours! These “extras” won’t be found in airports stateside. Some American airports get such bad satisfaction ratings that they should be avoided, especially if you have a tight connection. The list below details some of the worst; you should definitely keep these in mind when booking your next cheap airfare.
1. Newark, New Jersey (ERW)
The winner of the most delayed airport in the US; one out of every three flights (33.48%) was late in April 2013; certainly not worth your hard earned money. To add insult to injury, employees are rude, the design is depressing at best, and the outdated airport lounges give a feel of your local DMV. To get between terminals is about as easy as navigating through an old European city with no street names (not to mention the 33 million confused fellow travelers competing with you to get to the gate on time).
You might as well take a taxi to the airport there since parking starts at the low cost of $18 per day, seriously?!? Silver lining: if you get stuck there due to bad weather, airport officials will give you cots & blankets to spend the night.
2. La Guardia, New York (LGA)
Known for its 3rd worst on-time performance of any major US airport; 68.69% of flights arrived on time in April 2013 (31.31% were late). Not to mention it is the closest airport to Manhattan (think crazy traffic). The design is about as inspiring as a cardboard box, and it’s dirty. Out of all of the 5 worst airports, it’s the smallest, yet 23 million passengers crowd the terminals every year. And of course, being in New York the parking is not cheap, ranging $18-$33 per day.
Every dog has its day, so in the Delta terminal, you can find lots of charging stations for iPads (and the like) and freely use comfortable seating while you wait.
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3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL)
In accordance with the trend of bad airports, Philadelphia’s International Airport has an outdated (read: poor, low tech) design. Giving it a clean bill of health would be lying at best. The 30 million passengers that squeeze through it every year only add to the unpleasantly slow inter-terminal bus transportation. The shockingly long transfer times are enjoyed on buses that drive through the tarmac and next to idling jumbo-jets; here the passengers can enjoy the modern fragrance of jet-engine exhaust, health implications are free of charge – economy parking, on the other hand, will set you back a whopping $11 per day.
However, one perk is that travelers can reserve bedrooms on an hourly basis ($34/hr) through the private company ‘MinuteSuites’; to make a reservation ahead online (http://minutesuites.com/locations/philadelphia-international/).
4. Los Angeles, California (LAX)
The largest of the 5 worst airports, it handles 63 million passengers a year. This makes sense considering that it’s the starting point or final destination for more travelers than any other airport in the entire world. Since this is Los Angeles, parking is difficult to find, and if you do find it the cost starts at $12 dollars per day (better to find an alternative and get to LAX with public transport or taxi).
However, as always there is a silver lining. Free WI-FI and charging stations are found throughout the terminals and the large selection of airport lounges.
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5. JFK Airport, New York (JFK)
Make sure that you have plenty of time between connecting flights since long transit times between terminals plague this airport. 47 million passengers that travel through this airport only make the problem worse. Although not as dirty as the other airports on this list, it is getting dirtier and continuous construction suffocates this place. The outdated lounges, which are hard to find, (as is WI-FI) are overcrowded and basic. Parking starts at an eye-watering $18 a day!
But Terminal 5 (JetBlue) is the diamond in the rough. It has a nice and modern design and boasts free WIFI to your heart’s content. To boot, sometimes musicians perform concerts in Terminal 5! Also, it’s cheap ($7.50) to get to any terminal at JFK from Brooklyn or Manhattan so you don’t have to break the bank for parking. Just combine ‘AirTrain JFK’ ($5) with the NYC subway ($2.50), more info here: http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk-to-from.html.
So, here you have it: America’s Worst Airports in 2013. Feel free to add your own airport experiences in the comments!