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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:21 PM
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Default Airports around the globe

I had a discussion recently, about airports around the world, mentioning that Logan, in Boston, has to be the ugliest evah On my recent trip to Europe for the Magic, we were in four airports, and, 2 Iberia vip lounges, and, saw the bad and the beautiful. What airport makes your top list,and which ones , like my Logan, is just the pits.

I said on my return, that going through JFK was horrendous,and I didn't want to do that again,and I see by my looking for air for the Epic, I could end up there again;(

Newark seems to be like Nassau, hated by everyone yet, I had not one issue there. Loved beautiful Orlando, & Lauderdale, but, will pass on Miami, if given the chance

Madrid had such a nice lounge for Iberia..we ate & drank like queens, and played scrabble...Barcelona has a beautiful airport, but the lounge, a wonderuful luxury while waiting, did not match up to Madrid.

I hear Heathrow, can give you agita, as did the size of Barcelona for us, in a few ways. It's always good to get home, huh?



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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:36 PM
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To be honest we don't like any of them much, a necessary evil that we are trying to avoid. I don't dislike them as much as my wife, they can be places of magic & wonder...where are all these people going? where have they come from? what secrets do they hold?...
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:40 PM
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I absolutely think that airports are the BEST people watching places on earth
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:56 PM
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I sort of wonder rather than actively watch, but I know what you mean! Some make a living watching people at airports, good job too!
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Old October 21st, 2011, 09:05 PM
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Let's start at the beginning: Most big airports around the world have grown like Topsy. They started out as nice little terminals that served propeller airplanes that flew elite passengers for high fares. As the airline business became commoditized, naturally all these airports had to grow, and almost all of them did it poorly. There are almost no "really nice" large airports that were created from scratch for today's high volume requirements and security necessities.

So how do we judge them? Obviously, by our own experiences. If we have lounge access, if we happen to go at a time when check-in and security lines are relatively short, if our connecting gates happen to be close to each other, if we don't have to walk too far, and if our flight isn't delayed, and if the place doesn't smell too badly, well, that's a good airport. To somebody else, the same airport can be hell on steroids.

Some airports are notorious for delays. Among them, Chicago O'Hare, New York LaGuardia, New York Kennedy, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Heathrow. Some are notorious for being dumps. Among them, New York LaGuardia, New York Kennedy (depending on the terminal), Boston Logan, Los Angeles, Miami, and Heathrow (depending on the terminal). Some take you through the fires of hell if you have to connect by changing terminals. Among them, Heathrow, Frankfurt, DeGaulle, Kennedy, Los Angeles, Miami, and lately Washington Dulles.

Our attititude is that an airport is the place you go through, not to. In other words, rather than worry too much about which ones are "nice," we just aim to get through all of them as fast and hassle-free as possible. Books have been written on how to do this, and over the years we've learned a few tricks of the trade and we apply them routinely. As Terry observed many years ago after returning from a grueling business trip to China, "Flying is all about the survival of the fittest."

So the trick is to be "fit" in the sense of being a savvy traveler. You definitely hit on one of the big plusses when you talked about lounge access. We've been lifetime members to a couple lounges for about 35 years, and I can't tell you how many times they've turned the unbearable into the merely annoying, and the annoying into the pleasant. Trouble is, lounge access these days is quite expensive. I noticed recently that the United Club (now combined with Continental's President's Club) is $450 a year, more than $700 if you want a spouse card. Lifetime memberships were discontinued ages ago. You can also get in if you have premium class tickets of one kind or another, or if you're a member's guest. But joining as a leisure traveler probably doesn't make financial sense for most. I'm quite sure we would not pay the annual fee now that we're retired, but a life card is a life card, so we certainly still take advantage of them.

The best big airports? Gosh that's hard. In it's own ratty way, Dallas isn't that bad because of the relatively new overhead train that really does a good job of moving you around the terminals. A huge percentage of people are transit passengers at DFW, and the new train changed things there from hopeless to adequate. Washington National isn't too bad these days. The new terminal is nice, and built to a human scale.

But, at the end of the day, few of us generally pick our destinations by figuring out whether the airport is decent, so we're stuck with whatever's there, good or bad. All we can do is make the best of it.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 09:13 PM
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AR, I agree with what you said...but, getting through it, in pleasant surroundings, with places to eat and, shops to browse, does make long waits, just a weeee bit better...If anyone gets stuck in Logan, take a snooze
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Old October 21st, 2011, 10:07 PM
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Best :Hobby and JFK

Worst: LaGuardia
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Old October 21st, 2011, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry43 View Post
Best :Hobby and JFK

Worst: LaGuardia
Well, I must say that's the first time I've ever seen anybody rank JFK in a "Best" category.

Hobby is OK because it's small. It's Houston's second airport, and generally handles only short-haul flights, leaving the long hauls to the leviathan that is IAH. I like Hobby because it's easy to navigate, never very crowded when I've used it, and quite compact. Nobody would ever accuse it of being attractive, however.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 10:45 PM
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with places to eat and, shops to browse, does make long waits, just a weeee bit better...If anyone gets stuck in Logan, take a snooze
Great example of why it's so different for different people. For me, airport shops are meaningless. I mean, sure, I might stop in the duty free at a European airport and pick up a bottle of booze and a Toblerone, but shopping in an ordinary airport. . .not even on my radar screen. Food, yes, is sometimes a necessity, and if a lounge doesn't work, it's good to find someplace halfway reliable. But if the wonderful smell of Cinnebon is tempting, read the calorie/fat information!

Logan. . .bulldoze it and start over. Make the big dig look like kid stuff.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 10:50 PM
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Well, I must say that's the first time I've ever seen anybody rank JFK in a "Best" category.

Hobby is OK because it's small. It's Houston's second airport, and generally handles only short-haul flights, leaving the long hauls to the leviathan that is IAH. I like Hobby because it's easy to navigate, never very crowded when I've used it, and quite compact. Nobody would ever accuse it of being attractive, however.

I have never experienced a problem flying out of or into JFK .
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Old October 21st, 2011, 10:59 PM
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Ar, have you ever heard the Yiddish word shmy? That's more or less what I meant... shmy = a Yiddish word for meandering.

Last Mayat JFK...we had a wait to push back...we had a wait on the runway..like 45 minutes...when we got off the plane,and up into the terminal, the door was locked, and, we waited
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Old October 21st, 2011, 11:28 PM
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The very best airport I've even been to is in Istanbul, Turkey. And the first class lounge for Turkish Air there is like a Sultan's Palace; just incredible.

MIA and LAX are pretty much holes, with JFK not far behind. Out of date, and basically left to rot because of lack of investment.

Here YYC International has done a really good job of upgrading most of the facility. The only thing still lacking is more amenities, like shops and restaurants once inside security.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 07:36 AM
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The worst for me was Manchester NH. Traveling from there was always a nightmare. Most of the time you could not go where you want without a change of plane somewhere. It was always much more to travel from there too. I used to book from Boston and get to anywhere I want to go in one flight for about half of thecost of flying from Boston. I could take the bus from Concord NH right to my terminal. I could leave my car at the bus terminal for free. Total cost was around $30 round trip. No driving in Boston was worth that.
The best I have ever been to has to be Tampa Florida. Easy to find what you want and get around. Driving through the airport was always well marked and easy to find the way.

Laura
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 08:05 AM
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I haven't flown all that much in my life (so far) but I remember flying into Portland (PDX) and thinking how beautiful it was. It just stood out to me in the decor, the cleanliness, and we had no delays or issues.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 08:39 AM
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One observation from me is ..most people don't have access to exec. type lounges, in fact I would say that quite a few don't even know they exist, they have difficulty finding the gate in time! Some lounges you can just pay to use, we almost always use the one in Barbados, odd place that...the lounge used to be a little dark hole upstairs & there was a public bar/cafe with views over the Airport that was far nicer, that is now the lounge!
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 10:10 AM
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MSP is the best airport for me. It means that I'm starting a new adventure or coming home.

Actually MSP was a pretty mediocre airport until the late 90's and early 2000's when more restaurants, shops, facilities and expanded terminals were added. It's actually quite nice now but there can be some long walks between concourses.

I am basically on the same page as AR. Airports are places I go through and not in any way a destination. I traveled so much that most of them started looking the same.

I have an American Express Platinum card and just the lounge access is worth the annual fee. They also added "Priority Pass" membership with access to MANY more lounges other than Delta, AA, USAir, etc. Having lounge access usually makes any layover quite tolerable.

Airports I wouldn't want to spend an extended time in are: MIA, Heathrow, JFK, STL, or Logan. I have a pilot friend for a major airline who hates their "home" airport of DFW. He has a good quote about it: "Never have so many been so proud of so little." Hey, I didn't say it.

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Old October 22nd, 2011, 10:42 AM
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Dislike

1. O’Hare
2. LAX
3. Mexico City

Like

1. Midway
2. Orlando
3. Huston
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 11:03 AM
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I don't dislike any of them, but I have a few favorites.

Orlando for the treatment I received this summer when I broke my toe. I had everyone's attention. I also like it, because you feel like you are at Disney World, with all the shops. Another thing I like is the food court.

DFW, Never seems crowded.

My all time favorite is Killeen airport. As you walk into the terminal you see two check in desks. One for Delta, and one for American. To the left is the bathrooms, and baggage claim. One the second floor is Subway, and a bar. A snack shop, and two gates.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Bequia in the Grenadines, West Indies, we turned up for a flight at the correct time to be told..."Oh dat...it went"
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 07:05 PM
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Last fall, we needed to be off the Eclipse media cruise, by 8:30, to get the last free shuttle to the aiprport in Miami. Since for health concerns, I need a wheelchair in airports, I was told since I was so early, for my 1:30 flight, they could not get me one, so I plunked myself down,and sat....and sat....

I watched them rotate the suitcases with saran wrap,and I sat,and I sat...I finally was getting antsy, and was going to try and get to my gate, wherever it was, when they finally got me the wheelchair,and, If I had walked, I would still be wallking....first a long ride to the tram,and then a long walk to the gate.

Certainly not the worst of problems, but, it should have been handled differently.

The 1st time we flew into West Palm Beach, it was a tiny airport, with a picture window, which I saw my first palm tree through......ff, and now it's the Papa bear rather than baby bear....Maybe one day Logan wil get prettified
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Ar, have you ever heard the Yiddish word shmy? That's more or less what I meant... shmy = a Yiddish word for meandering.

Last Mayat JFK...we had a wait to push back...we had a wait on the runway..like 45 minutes...when we got off the plane,and up into the terminal, the door was locked, and, we waited
I know some Yiddish words, but that's not one of them. Sounds more like the sound I make when my sinuses are acting up.

Couple years ago I landed at Heathrow coming from Prague. Morning flight, pretty early. We pulled up to the gate (which they call the "stand"), shut down the engines, and we just sat there. No attempt to open the door, nothing. 10 minutes went by and the captain finally got on the horn. . ."Ladies and gentlemen, I have no idea what the hell is going on here, beyond the fact that there doesn't seem to be anybody to move the jetbridge out to us. I've yelled into the radio multiple times on multiple frequencies, but everyone seems to be having morning tea. You would think they would notice a 757 pulling in, but apparently not. I'll keep yelling, you keep sitting. If I can't find anybody in the next 20 minutes, maybe we'll pop a slide or two."

But about 10 minutes later the warden came and got us out of jail.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 03:24 AM
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Reminds me ten years or so ago of a I believe Delta Captain at Atlanta who was so sick and tired of waiting for take off for a couple of hours that he returned to the jetway at the termiinal and to everyone's surprise said over the intercom, "I've had enough of this s _ _ t, and stormed off the aircraft never to return.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 11:15 AM
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Reminds me ten years or so ago of a I believe Delta Captain at Atlanta who was so sick and tired of waiting for take off for a couple of hours that he returned to the jetway at the termiinal and to everyone's surprise said over the intercom, "I've had enough of this s _ _ t, and stormed off the aircraft never to return.
That'll get you a meeting in the chief pilot's office. Pretty serious career move, right there. $150,000-$180,000 job plus a pretty good pension.
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