Are These The 10 Worst Airports In North America?

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Late last year the website published a list of the Worst Airports in North America voted on by readers, and based on passenger overall airport experience.Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 12.23.55 PM

Here is the list of the top ten, and a quote from the article about why the airport made the list:

  1. New York City LaGuardia International Airport, USA (LGA) “The terminals seem to grow more decrepit each year, with numerous voters noting the leaky ceilings, torn carpet and the spots of mould. Long queues manned by unfriendly staff further irritate those spending time here, and the crowds that vie for seating airside don’t help anyone’s moods either.”
  2. New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport, USA (MSY) “Apparently as dirty as it is confusing, New Orleans International Airport is in dire need of more signs, more snacks and a scrub.”
  3. Los Angeles International Airport, USA (LAX) “There is a general consensus that Los Angeles is confusing and particularly uncomfortable. Food options and washrooms are remarkably limited given the high volume of travellers passing through daily, and staff do little to make for a more enjoyable experience.”
  4. Chicago Midway International Airport, USA (MDW) “Traveller boredom is made worse by unclean surroundings and some seriously slow security lines.”
  5. Newark Liberty International Airport, USA (EWR) “Reports of dirty restrooms, broken trains and escalators, narrow security lines and not especially friendly staff combine at Newark Airport to win it fifth place on our list of worst airports in North America.
  6. Miami International Airport, USA (MIA) “Good signage is remarkably absent from these terminals as well – a disaster given that nothing seems to be logically laid out. Too often, passengers are found walking a minimum of a mile between sprawling terminals in hopes of navigating complicated and lengthy layover processes.”
  7. Honolulu International Airport, USA (HNL) “Generally dated and a little uncomfortable, HNL could benefit from opening a few more shops and restaurants, and operating those that do exist with more liberal hours.
  8. Philadelphia International Airport, USA (PHL) “A little tired and generally confusing to navigate, Philadelphia International Airport is ready for some love.”
  9. New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport, USA (JFK) “JFK Airport, more aptly described as a gargantuan labyrinth, leaves many travellers utterly confused about where to go, and the customer service and limited signs does little to abate their bewilderment. As travellers do manage to navigate the terminals, they quickly find themselves amidst the throws of a massive security line that will likely keep them on their feet for a while.”
  10. Chicago O’Hare International Airport, USA (ORD) “Some voters imaginatively described the terminals as a madhouse and an elementary school cafeteria. Others were more explicit, saying that 24-hour food options are scarce and budget food options are scarcer. The overall layout is illogical and seating is generally uncomfortable.”

Oddly enough, the survey results only contained results in the United States of America, leaving out airports in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Bottom Line:

I’ve visited 9 of the 10 airports – with the exception of HNL – and this is a pretty accurate and cringeworthy list of the worst airports. Of all the airports listed, I think Chicago Midway is the best of the worst airports on the list.

TSA is incredibly slow there, and the terminal is often crowded and dirty, but they have some good food options throughout the airport, but especially in the food court – if you can brave the long lines. I am also surprised Atlanta’s airport didn’t make the list.  What do you think? Do you agree with this list?

Do you have any particularly good or bad experiences at the airports on the list to share?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. I know, weird, huh? I don’t know whether I should blame it on growing up in Florida, or the fact that Hawaii is so far away from the east coast of the USA. I would like to go, and will probably need some advice before booking anything – Hawaii confuses me!

  2. LGA, is the worst! I’ve seen better airports in 3rd world countreis. Dark, dingy, low ceiling, terminals with limited food options and horrible transportation options. It is shocking how bad the food is in LAX, i agree.

  3. Tend to agree(esp LGA, PHL, EWR) with this but not sure why you think ATL could be on this list. They process more people than any other on the planet and do it reasonably well.
    It’s certainly not perfect(TSA checkpoints can be crowded, D concourse is a bit stale), but vs the others on this list ATL does its job with brute force efficiency.
    In fact, the E & F concourses are light years ahead of most anything that those 10 can offer.

  4. don’t know why Dulles doesn’t appear. generally a rat-hole, especially terminal-A. they also have the amazingly stupid computer-generated voice on the trains. How hard is it to have an actual person record a dozen lines that will be played over and over millions of times? it’s ridiculous.

  5. I think I’ve managed to come away with a pretty positive impression of a lot of these airports by luck of airline choice (Delta). JKF (T4) is new and well-lit with decent seating space in the gate areas (not to mention the outdoor deck at the SkyClub). LGA is overcrowded, but otherwise fairly modern (C/D) and above all else efficient (curb to gate in <5 minutes for the Marine Air Terminal). LAX T5 is also overcrowded, but post-renovation has good food options and a modern feel (although the actual pickup area is a disaster for traffic).

  6. Hmmm….I travelled between LAX and EWR quite often and visited some of the airports in the list. I ALWAYS have problem with LAX, mostly at the arrival level, due to the traffic congestion. Getting out of LAX is a nightmare to me EVERY SINGLE TIME. Everyone has to wait a VERY long time to be picked up, unless you get a rental car or a hotel bus. The rental car companies and hotels here at LAX offer super frequent pickup shuttle buses, so frequent that I rarely see anyone in those buses. They create too much traffic to the pickup area that I wish they could all be gone.

  7. LGA gets a (deserved) bad reputation for the central terminal. That being said, the C & D Terminals (Delta, ex-US Airways now American) and the Marine Air Terminal (Delta) are much, much better.

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