Tags: holiday air travel

Nightmare Before Christmas Brewing at Nation's Worst Airports

By    |   Tuesday, 02 December 2014 12:53 PM

If you're planning to fly home for the holiday season, especially if you're going to be leaving from, arriving at or passing through the ten worst domestic airports, get ready for trouble.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) anticipates that Christmas holiday air travel will involve 5.53 million passengers this year, meaning that a lack of ease of getting to and from the airport, cancelled flights, unappealing airport food, crowded security lanes and long walks to departure gates can turn anyone's happy holiday travel dreams into the nightmare before Christmas.

If possible, Business Week advises, do everything you can to avoid the worst airports in their Airport Frustration Index, which quizzed passengers on a scale of 1-100 on their own most hated air terminals in the U.S. — and one in Canada also made the bottom ten.

Heading the list as worst was New York's Laguardia, with a whopping "frustration score" of 91 out of 100.

Business Week cites "horrendously crowded gate areas with miniature, foul restrooms and a lack of convenient transportation access. No subway gets near it, leaving taxis, buses and pricey private car services as the main public options to get there."

LaGuardia is so bad that even Vice President Joe Biden blasted the airport as looking like "some third world country."

Newark-Liberty Airport was criticized by Business Week for long security delays and "the airport appears to be trapped in 1974, desperately needing a facelift."

Washington Dulles, with a frustration rating of 87.5, came under fire for being out of the way and having long security delays, and especially to be avoided on Fridays, when legislators are heading homeward and lines are long.

"Plagued by flight delays" is Business Week's description of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and U.S. News and World Report notes that O'Hare suffers flight delays 20.77 percent of the time and late arrivals 18.09 percent of the time.

John F. Kennedy International in New York lands in fifth place with an 83 out of 100 rating because of the expense and difficulty of getting there from the city and because it features a "mix of stylish new amenities and dated, dungeon-like warrens, depending on which airline you fly."

Los Angeles International requires a long freeway struggle to get there and, once there, battling crowds of people in the often-mobbed airport. A lack of outlets for charging electronic devices also was cited by Business Week.

Seventeen miles from downtown Toronto, Pearson International is well known for its long lines for everything from security to ticket counters.

If you're headed for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, bring your hiking shoes. The airport "covers almost 27 square miles and that can make for some long treks from the gate to the baggage claim or to catch a connection," Business Week warns, also noting that gate changes are frequent.

At Miami International, watch out for long, long walks everywhere and high-priced parking, and Business Week calls the terminal layout "nightmarish."

Tenth on the list is Philadelphia International, and Business Week says, "try to avoid the restrooms, a necessity that draws low marks in an airport that is also tagged as being old, ugly and cramped."

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If you're planning to fly home for the holiday season, especially if you're going to be leaving from, arriving at or passing through the ten worst domestic airports, get ready for trouble.
holiday air travel
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 12:53 PM
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