Sleeping in Airports has recently released their 2016 Best and Worst Airports Survey results.
This year, there are 2 "worst" lists of interest: the WORST Airports Overall and WORST Airports for Layovers.
To soften the blow, just in case you realize your next destination is on one of the lists, we've put together some ideas to help you survive your layover.
After the #1 Worst Airport - for both the overall list and the layovers list - we've blended the 2 lists, (even though there is not much overlap) and put the remaining 18 lousy layover spots in order by destination name.
Tip: you may need a transit visa to leave some of the airports listed - do your research before departing!
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED)#1 on the Worst Airports Overall list - was #2 last year
#1 on the Worst Airports for Layovers List
|Be ready to line up for hours, especially during the Haj|
creativecommons image ikhlasulamal on Flickr
• "Careless, arrogant and rude" immigration officers (when they are around) and multi-hour long queues
• Chaotic, crowded, inadequate seating
• "Cleanliness is but a mythical concept"
• Take advantage of the free WiFi or splurge for lounge access
• Visit Souq al-Alawi or Naseef House museum (great evening views from top floor)
• Slip away to Atallah Happy Land Park for rides, skating, bowling, theatres, dining, shopping
• Jeddah Airport Sleeping Guide
• Jeddah Airport transportation guide
• How to Obtain a Saudi Arabian Transit Visa
• Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - I Am Bound Here
Beijing Capital International Airport, China (PEK)#7 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Expect confusion at Beijing Capital Airport|
creative commons image beltzner on Flickr
• Maddening to navigate: "Nobody speaks English or will help you if you are about to miss your flight"
• WiFi requires a Chinese credit card and Chinese mobile phone
• No showers, no rest areas, few restaurants
• Book yourself into the BGS Premier Lounge
• Spend your layover at the newer Terminal 3
• Escape to the Hilton Beijing Capital Hotel
• Beijing Capital Airport Sleeping Guide
• Beijing Capital Airport transportation guide
• Beijing layover ideas
Caracas Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS)#8 on the Worst Airports Overall list - was #5 on the list in 2015
|Try not to let the crazy patterns and colours give you a headache!|
• "Hot, chaotic, chair-free"
• Bathrooms lack water, toilet paper, cleanliness"
• Lack of luggage safety (unwrapped bags are ripe for the picking"
• Cough up the money for private lounge access
• Take advantage of the free WiFi
• Go on a city tour (just leave 5 hours at the airport to get through the chaos)
• Caracas Airport Sleeping Guide
• Caracas Airport transportation guide
• Caracas layover ideas
Crete Chania International Airport, Greece (CHQ)#6 on the Worst Airports Overall list - new to the list in 2016
|If you have time to spare, take a few decent photos of Chania Airport|
(and share them with a Creative Commons licence on Flickr)
• Long lines, chaotic security and lack of seating
• Lack of air conditioning, despite it being 30C/85F temperatures
• One basic food vendor hawking expensive sandwiches
• Pass time reading up on the privatization of 14 of Greece's regional airports (including Chania)
• Pack a gripping novel that you can read as you stand in the lines
• Take a taxi to Elafonisi Beach or Stavro Beach (a Zorba the Greek film location)
• Crete Chania Airport Sleeping Guide
• Crete Chania Airport transportation guide
• Crete layover ideas
Crete Heraklion International Airport, Greece (HER)#7 on the Worst Airports Overall list - new to the list in 2016
• Long lines, crowded lines, uncomfortable seating and no air-conditioning
• Customers vent about poor customer service
• "A sad way to end a visit to an otherwise delightful island"
• Visit the café-bar in the terminal
• Take taxi or tour to the Knossos Palace
• Visit the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion
• Crete Heraklion Airport Sleeping Guide
• Crete Heraklion Airport transportation guide
• Crete layover ideas
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China (CAN)#6 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Looks can be deceiving!|
Creative commons image asagayakei on Flickr
• "I saw airport staff pushing and hurtling abuse at international tourists"
• Significantly less-than-friendly staff
• Overcrowded, disorganized and short on chairs
• Splurge for the lounge!
• Take a visa-free layover tour of Guangzhou
• Check into the on-site Guangzhou Baiyun Pullman Hotel
• Guangzhou airport: six-hour layover
• Things to do in Guangzhou - TripAdvisor
• Guangzhou Airport Sleeping Guide
• Guangzhou Airport transportation guide
• Guangzhou layover ideas
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, USA (IAH)#8 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|You can count the ceiling tiles while you wait around...|
• Painfully long lines lead to many missed connections: "600 people for the only 2 of 40 immigration desks... for 3 hours"
• Then you're stuck with lounges full of armrests and bright lights
• "It's these kind of easily-fixed problems that drive passeners to the brink of insanity"
• Visit the XpresSpa (Terminal D or E) or seek solitude in one of the inter-faith chapels (Terminal C South, D or E)
• Book a private Houston sightseeing tour
• Check into the Marriott Houston Airport at George Bush Intercontinental
• Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Sleeping Guide
• Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport transportation guide
• Houston layover ideas
Juba International Airport, South Sudan (JUB) -#2 on the Worst Airports Overall list - new to the list in 2016
|There is a new Juba terminal under construction, |
but it is years behind schedule (wikicommons)
• "You watch what can only be described as an auction in the luggage area"
• Chaotic and sweaty, "like a mosh pit sauna"
• Illogical lines
• Escape the airport to get something to eat; Logali House is fairly close to the airport and has free WiFi (50m past Sahara Hotel, take a right on the gravel road)
• Entertain yourself at the air-conditioned JIT supermarket in town
• Visit the Roots Project women's cooperative behind the basketball courts for local handicrafts
• Juba Airport Sleeping Guide
• Juba Airport transportation guide
• The Joys of Juba Airport
Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM)#10 on the Worst Airports Overall list - was #3 on the list in 2015
|Check to see if you can see this Buddha mural|
creativecommons image jaygalvin on Flickr
• Crowds and long immigration lines
• Poor signage and unhelpful staff
• "Some of my darkest memories are from having to use the toilets at this airport"
• Be sure to admire the mural of Buddha's life in Arrivals
• Escape and take a custom city tour, rickshaw tour, or visit a spa
• Do anything that will allow you to pee elsewhere!
• Kathmandu Airport Sleeping Guide
• Kathmandu Airport transportation guide
• Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Kathmandu
• A Night in Kathmandu - National Geographic
• How to survive arriving into Kathmandu - The Longest Way Home
• Kathmandu Layover - Crazy Guy on a Bike
London Luton International Airport, England (LTN)#9 on the Worst Airports Overall list - new to the list in 2016
|London Luton, in better days|
• Temporarily reduced space due to renovations = long lines and few seats
• Dirty floors and bathrooms
• Being charged for virtually everything, from "drop-offs near the terminal, weighing suitcases to plastic bags for liquids"
• Splurge for the lounge
• Check into a nearby Luton Airport hotel
• Take a private London tour or go for a walk! (left luggage available)
• Things to do in Luton - TripAdvisor
• Fearless Flyer: EasyJet's fear of flying course at Luton
• London Luton Airport Sleeping Guide
• London Luton Airport transportation guide
• London layover ideas
Los Angeles International Airport, USA (LAX)#3 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Just another TSA line at LAX|
creative commons image Doctorow on Flickr
• Sporadic but confusing signs, and long distances between gates
• Quality differences between terminals
• "Not what travellers coming from Asian hubs are used to... no pay-per-use lounges, no showers and no sleep-friendly quiet zones."
• Explore the airport (8 Places to Check Out at LAX After You’ve Checked-In)
• Head on over to the Tom Bradley International Terminal to enjoy a long layover
• Visit the observation deck in the famous LAX theme building (some weekends)
• Check out Activities near LAX from LA Tourist
• Take unique tour in Los Angeles that you can't take anywhere else: 10 unique LA tours
• Los Angeles Airport Sleeping Guide
• Los Angeles Airport transportation guide
• Los Angeles Airports: Which is best? (BUR, LAX, LGB, ONT, SNA)
• Los Angeles layover ideas
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines (MNL)#2 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Line ups outside one of NAIA's terminals|
• Terrible inter-terminal transfer process between the 4 terminals (3 hours is not enough!)
• Poor signage and overall confusion
• Scams and extortion (did you hear about the bullet-planting ploy?)
• Pre-book a private inter-terminal transfer before you leave home
• Take a layover tour (there is even an overnight layover tour with hotel available)
• Get a massage from the visually-impaired massage therapists in the NAIA domestic terminal (T3)
• Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport Sleeping Guide
• Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport transportation guide
• Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport to Manila Clark Airport private transfer
• Rock Your Layover: Manila
• Manila layover ideas
• Tip: this airport is commonly referred to as "NAIA" by locals
Miami International Airport, USA (MIA)#5 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Seek out Casey and Liz, MIA Goodwill Ambassadors|
• Outrageously long lines, long distances and misleading signage
• Broken toilets, dirty floors and lack of seating
• No free WiFi
• Hit the beach, it's just 16km/10miles and a away! (baggage storage in Terminal E)
• Read the bios and see if you can spot any of the staff featured on Airport 24/7 Miami or learn about the show
• Find out if Casey the dog is working
• Miami Airport Sleeping Guide
• Miami Airport transportation guide
• Miami layover ideas
New York John F Kennedy, USA (JFK)#10 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|JFK's Terminal 5 rooftop terrace is a breath of fresh air|
creative commons image dougletterman on Flickr
• "As a major gateway to the United States, this airport is an absolute embarrassment"
• Long patience-testing lines and labyrinth-like hallways, busy 24 hours a day
• Inconsistent conditions (Terminal 1 is dirty, noisy and uncomfortable, vs aesthetically pleasing Terminal 8)
• Visit the Terminal 5 JetBlue rooftop terrace (post-security, near gate 28, free WiFi, 6am-10pm)
• Check into the Ramada Plaza Hotel JFK International Airport, the only on-site hotel
• Take a unique tour in that you can't take anywhere else: 10 unique NYC tours, 10 more unique NYC tours, 10 extra unique NYC tours
• New York JFK Airport Sleeping Guide
• New York JFK Airport transportation guide
• Private Helicopter Transfer from JFK to Manhattan (return)
• New NYC Airports blog for aviation buffs
• New York City layover ideas
New York Newark Liberty International Airport, USA (EWR)#4 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|You could always spend your layover riding the Airtrain...|
creative commons image royalport on Flickr
• Unreliable inter-terminal train, slow back-up busses, broken moving walkways, and unhelpful staff
• In need of cleaning and "a reduction in the resident pigeon population"
• "I would rather re-route my entire flight and pay more money than to see Newark Airport ever again"
• Shop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store in Terminal C
• Pray a little... there's an Interfaith Chapel, pre-security, between gates C70-99 and C101-115
• You are almost in New York baby, so get out and see the city! 10 unique NYC tours, 10 more unique NYC tours, 10 extra unique NYC tours
• New York Newark Airport Sleeping Guide
• New York Newark Airport transportation guide
• Private Helicopter Transfer from Newark to Manhattan (return)
• New York City layover ideas
Paris Charles de Gaulle, France (CDG)#9 on the Worst Airports for Layovers list
|Paris CDG Airport is simply massive, and can be confusing|
creative commons image yisris on Flickr
• "A 90 minute stopover is way too short, even without checked luggage"
• Moving between 9 terminals is a nightmare, befuddling map
• No 24-hour dining options
• Download the 'My Airport' Smartphone app
• See the doc or get a vaccination at the 24-hour health centre (Terminal 2A, Arrivals, entrance 017)
• Take a 7-hour private Paris layover tour
• Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Sleeping Guide
• Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport transportation guide
• Paris layover ideas
Port Harcourt International Airport (PHC)#3 on the Worst Airports Overall list - was #1 last year
|It looks nice from this vantage point, but...|
creativecommons image sixoone on Flickr
• "The arrival hall is in fact a tent/mosquito sanctuary that lacks toilets and air conditioning"
• The "old luggage pile" (no conveyor belts) so pack well and keep your valuables with you
• Allegations of corrupt staff
• It's worthwhile reading up on this area of Nigeria first
• Get out and stretch your legs if you can
• Travel with a jacket or blanket you can sit on
• Port Harcourt Airport Sleeping Guide
• Port Harcourt Airport transportation guide
Santorini Thira National Airport, Greece (JTR)#5 on the Worst Airports Overall list - new to the list in 2016
|You can learn the Greek alphabet on your Santorini|
photo copyright sampai sudah blog
• "You get stuck waiting in long lineups under the hot Greek sun."
• Small rooms without air conditioning after security
• Indecipherable announcements and dirty toilets
• Learn about the privatization of 14 of Greece's regional airports (including Santorini)
• Check out the airport's outdoor terrace
• Escape to a taverna, if you can manage it - there's sure to be one a 5 minute taxi ride away
• Santorini Thira Airport Sleeping Guide
• Santorini Thira Airport transportation guide
• Santorini layover ideas
Tashkent International Airport (TAS)#4 on the Worst Airports Overall list - was #4 on the list in 2015
|Looks can be deceiving - the reviews aren't as nice as this bar!|
creativecommons image lindako on Flickr
• "One of Dante's circles of hell"
• Long lines and multiple checkpoints
• Pushy mobs: "I fell... and passengers walked over me while I was on the floor"
• Make the most of the free WiFi!
• Visit Chorsu (oldest bazaar in Central Asia) or Tellya Sheikh Mosque (home to the world's oldest Koran)
• Tashkent TV Tower offers great views of the city
• Tashkent Airport Sleeping Guide
• Tashkent Airport transportation guide
• Tourist Visa to Uzbekistan
• Tashkent things to do - Virtual Tourist
For more, check out the juicy sublists of 2016 Worst Airports for Africa, Asia, Caribbean & Central America, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America and the South Pacific. There's also a list of the Worst Airports for Sleeping!
Missing from this year's lists are the 5 airports below. Unless there have been miracles, they are probably still dismal, so check out last year's post - Layover Ideas for the World's Worst Airports (2015) - for layover ideas in case you are headed their way:
- Ho Chi Minh City International Airport (SGN)
- Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB)
- Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL)
- Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport (BVA)
- Port au Prince International Airport (PAP)
Have YOUR say:
Vote in the Sleeping in Airports 2017 Best and Worst Airports Survey
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