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Most Depressing Airport You've Flown Into/Out Of  
User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2545 posts, RR: 2
Posted (5 years 2 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10926 times:

Figured this one might generate some interesting chatter: what's the most depressing commercially served airport you've ever flown into or out of? When I say "depressing", I'm looking for infrastructure, signs of neglect, unused space, or identifiers that the facility was way past its heyday, not "depressing" as in your significant other just dumped you and you found the airport on your way out of town to be "depressing."

In my case, it'd have to be KBGR (Bangor, ME). I arrived in the morning to ice fog and upon entering the terminal, was greeted by a bus station-like terminal (replete with 1950s-era cinder block walls everywhere), worn carpet, winding, narrow hallways, and a persistent stench of "old". The place was an RJ heaven but I suppose that back in the day was visited by 707s, 727s, etc. There was a "snack bar" with grease/smoke stains on the ceiling, a gift shop catering to nobody in particular, plenty of old school analog clocks, near broken escalators going up/down to the baggage claim (about 10 vertical feet) which screamed of a pork barrel project dating to 1948, and bathrooms that rival the worst high schools in the U.S. in terms of stench, cleanliness, and appearance. Upon the taxi out, we passed the "Maine Aviation Museum" which consisted of a near windowless cinder block building and a couple of rusted out aircraft outside in a yard of some sort.


DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
60 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineisitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 19 hours ago) and read 10866 times:

DTW's NW building before the move to the new terminal.
That place had nothing going for it except the bars.

If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6506 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 18 hours ago) and read 10858 times:

LAS - a bunch of hungover, broke people who have been too busy to shower...and a depressingly run down airport to boot!  

User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7879 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 16 hours ago) and read 10815 times:

Gatwick South -- after a 8 hour transatlantic flight it didn't seem like the place was a major international gateway. On leaving a week later the placed seemed like a shopping mall with an airport attached off at the side.

JFK Terminal 2 (RJ arrival/departure area). Between the bus station like atmosphere near the RJ gates, the random dank staircase to get up/down to the tarmac it is pretty bleak. Which is sort of sad b/c T2 otherwise has some nice mid-century architectural features going on.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7529 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 15 hours ago) and read 10793 times:

FCO is mine. Many of the terminals have no views and seem old. The whole place is stuck in the 70s. MIA used to be like this but for the last 5 years or so I am glad to say this is no longer the case. Also IAD UA terminals are not great either. I just do not enjoy low ceilings and narrow hallways.

"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8582 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 15 hours ago) and read 10782 times:
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A disgusting building manned by disgusting people.

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7479 posts, RR: 41
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 months 13 hours ago) and read 10765 times:
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CDG: Filthy, smells like human waste, cold, and an obsession with concrete that makes it look like an insane asylum.
GRU: See above
La Paz, Bolivia: A second rate bus station, basically.
FCO: As filthy as CDG

User currently offlinemdavies06 From Hong Kong, joined Aug 2009, 415 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 months 13 hours ago) and read 10748 times:

CDG is not too bad. T1 is bad, 2 is not that bad. Have you been to T1 of Cairo or Delhi before? Those are bad.

User currently offlineMCO2BRS From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2007, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 months 12 hours ago) and read 10722 times:

For me, it would be DSA, just after it opened in 2005.


User currently offlinerwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 months 12 hours ago) and read 10707 times:

I really hate PHX. The place is drab in a 1970s way, with ugly carpeting everywhere. There are almost zero food options, unless you want fast food or rip-off generic airport food from the bars. Really an unpleasant place to connect.

User currently offlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2293 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 months 11 hours ago) and read 10700 times:

IAD...under these circumstances:

I flew there back in October of 2001. Obviously not many people were traveling, and I remember there being virtually nobody in the whole main building. That was truly eerie.

Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlineBasilFawlty From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 1372 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 months 11 hours ago) and read 10698 times:

Definitely terminal 2 at MXP. Also BFS, LBA and GVA are quite depressing in my opinion.

'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 16559 posts, RR: 27
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 months 11 hours ago) and read 10698 times:

Quoting Andz (Reply 5):

A disgusting building manned by disgusting people.

I second that. I was shocked that CDG is the same age as DFW. Dallas has aged much better. Honorable mention to T2 at JFK.

Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 months 8 hours ago) and read 10658 times:

Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 10):
IAD...under these circumstances:

I flew there back in October of 2001. Obviously not many people were traveling, and I remember there being virtually nobody in the whole main building. That was truly eerie.

Dulles has come a long way in this decade. New security checkpoint, new underground people mover, underground walkway to Concourse A/B, extended Concourse B, new FIS facilities, new runway, new ATC tower, metro being built out towards IAD as I type this, etc.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Honorable mention to T2 at JFK.

T2 is not that bad. T3 at JFK is pretty depressing in a nostalgic kind of way. Same went for T 8&9 before the new terminal opened in 2005.

LGA Concourse C is pretty depressing IMO.

User currently offlineyendig From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 months 7 hours ago) and read 10641 times:
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PDV (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) - utterly awful in Feb 2008. The airport security decided I didn't need my four rechargable camera batteries (worth £50 and in my camera bag at the time) and threw them in the bin! Don't ever disagree with terminal security when they have guns....

PMV (Porlamar, Isla Margarita, Venezuela) - admittedly we departed during a tropical rain storm in Oct 2008, but there is no excuse in this day-and-age for travellers needing to huddle together between the waterfalls pouring from the terminal ceiling light fixtures    Wow!

User currently offlineBA286 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 months 4 hours ago) and read 10610 times:

CDG is one, only because of the seemingly endless bus-rides one must endure prior to getting ANYWHERE. Once, after arriving on Air France from SFO, I was forced to clear security twice; before boarding the bus to the regional terminal and then again upon arrival at the regional terminal. The bus ride took about 30 min. The whole "experience" took twice as long as my connecting flight to DUS.

Another airport that I disdain is WAW. Though I have not been there in about a year (so I cant comment on the new terminal) I have always found the place very gloomy. The old terminal is so amazingly disorganized that it lingers on the verge of being fantastic... Never before have I been in a check in area as crowded and claustrophobic as WAW. Dont even get me started about the lack of shoppes and even an outlet that carries bottled water. Oh and in just a couple of days I will be there yet again, though hopefully in the new terminal.

Quoting yendig (Reply 14):
PDV (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) - utterly awful in Feb 2008. The airport security decided I didn't need my four rechargable camera batteries (worth £50 and in my camera bag at the time) and threw them in the bin! Don't ever disagree with terminal security when they have guns....

Terrible, I'm sorry to hear that. I cant imagine what their rationale was for disposing of your batteries. Oh well, some folks have got nothing better to do than ruin peoples trips - some even get a kick out of it, it seems.

E190 A318 A319 A320 A343 ATR42 717 732 733 734 735 737 738 744 752 772 DC-10 MD-11
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40298 posts, RR: 73
Reply 16, posted (5 years 2 months 3 hours ago) and read 10599 times:

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 9):
I really hate PHX. The place is drab in a 1970s way, with ugly carpeting everywhere. There are almost zero food options, unless you want fast food or rip-off generic airport food from the bars. Really an unpleasant place to connect.

Read this review by Larry J


I happen to like Phoenix Sky Harbor.  
They seem to have the best Mexican food offered at an airport.

The saddest airport I've flown to was the old Indianapolis airport terminal in 2005.
Seemed like a bland & run down old high school building.
I haven't been to the new terminal yet.

Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineMillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1387 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10547 times:

Can I just say that nothing, nothing beats Islamabad. In terms of depressing its so sad that it hurts anyone flying in there just want to get out asap. Mice in the bathrooms, cleaners that surprisingly dont seem to clean, half broken equipment and absolute chaos. Add on that its very dark, has plenty of blinking lights, fans that doesnt seem to work or has a Casablanca (The movie) feel to them and you can imagine what kind of place it is.
Ahum did I mention that there are dust at most places and paint falling of the walls.
Yet again my impressions here arent that recent, I used to travel there frequently a few years ago.

Another airport from hell is Dhaka. Dhaka transfer area used to have one dutyfree shop, one restaurant, one filthy toilet, 2 old school TV:s and smoking areas that weren't fully enclosed cue the entire place stank of smoke. Stray cats in the terminal and a floor not cleaned since the brits left. Add on endemic corruption maybe 40 chairs in the terminal and you get a picture thats everything but rosy.
And if you walk a bit further they have old leather chairs, must have been installed in the brown days of the 1970:ies and broken in many places. Havent been there for five years and my colleagues say its a lot better now, not sure what to believe. When I used to travel there it was a nightmare and just made you feel depressed and longing to leave the place. A pity, because the people of Bangladesh are usually very polite and nice to chat with and the women are beautiful indeed.

People complaining about LGW or CDG needs to see the world. I love them both.

In the more fancy places DOH is really bad, at least if you fly economy.
Its the worst airport that I am forced to use regular basis these days.

No One Likes Us - We Dont Care.
User currently offlinefixfox From Netherlands, joined Dec 2003, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10534 times:

True, Islamabad, Khartoum, Sana'a are not the best airports but all typical 3rd world destinations so you accept a certain lack of comfort in these places.

However from European airports you can expect more and from this perspective, CDG stands out absolutely negatively.
As a person you can transfer within 60min from T2F to T2E and so on, but your luggage in general not.

The best European airports are probably Berlin and Stuttgart, from front door to gate can be done in 15min., incl. bagage drop and security

User currently offlineLAX888 From Singapore, joined Oct 2010, 279 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10524 times:

The worst airport I have been to is LED and then probably some of the older airports in China although they have been upgraded or pulled down now. Another terrible airport is BOM.
People who say that some US airports are bad, should really see the real thing which exists outside of the US.

User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1426 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10514 times:

CDG. Long ways, bad signage, unfriendly staff.
VIE. Very dated, dark, security at the gate, crowded gate lounges. Bring up the new terminal already...

WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
User currently offline727tiger From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10493 times:

For me, these were, in their days, the most depressing:

The old MDW -- back in the late-80s and early-90s, it was cramped, crowded and cinder block glory.

The former AEX terminal -- spent an entire weekday afternoon there waiting for my late-afternoon flight to MEM. Just 2 of us in the terminal. No wifi, of course. The snack bar guys went on break and told us to help ourselves to soda or snacks, and we'd settle up when they got back. Thought I'd lose my mind to boredom.

PHX Terminal 3 (the South gates wing) is no picnic after security, either.

User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6506 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 10347 times:

Quoting AR385 (Reply 6):
smells like human waste

Well, I mean...I think that has more to do with the country it is in than the airport itself   

User currently offlinedl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10290 times:

ATL terminal D (I think that was the one) where most of the RJ flights operate out of, plus the rest of the non DL carriers. I flew in from CHS or a CRJ and wound up in Terminal D walking around the apron to get to the terminal, up some steps into a run down ATL terminal nothing like the rest. It still had carpet, CRT monitors for flight arrivals (half of them not working) old flickering lighted areas where old customer service desks used to be. Ripped and broken seats and trash everywhere. What seemed like every midwestern family with eight suitcases and nine kids each walking in masses finding their flights to tiny little RJs. I went straight from D to the international terminal to catch my flight and it was literally like night and day.

User currently offlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 9285 posts, RR: 38
Reply 24, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 10243 times:

BVB: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I got stuck in the place for IIRC 19 hours. There was nothing left to do after one.

To the gentleman who commented on LPB - at least they've got a couple of things to do and there are actual people present!   Although I see what you mean if you arrived at the international concourse and never entered the main one.

Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
25 RamblinMan : Bima, Indonesia is kind of depressing, but in an amusing sort of way... It tries to act like a real airport, got check-in counters, security, FIDS, th
26 Icarus75 : Seeing your post, I guess you've never had to connect in FRA, ORD, EWR!! I agree.Of course 2A,2B,2C &2D are not the best terminals but they are c
27 BMI727 : CDG isn't the best airport out there in terms of function, but it does well enough I suppose. But as far as just being depressing, it's pretty hard t
28 AustrianZRH : I did in FRA and ORD. Had better days there however. This is of course just my personal impression, and I only used CDG as final destination. Queues
29 Severnaya : Interesting! The new airport is being built now so it'll improve a great way like the new SVO terminals (D & E). For me so far the worst is RVN,
30 Ychocky : Not really depressing, but my heart sank at CDG when the single manned security line for 2F snaked endlessly into the distance. With multiple wide bod
31 nycdave : While I imagine there are many 3rd world airports that are worse... out of my personal experience, I'd have to go with: LWO - verrrrrry very small, te
32 srbmod : Concourse D is the proverbial redheaded stepchild of ATL. While there has been some improvements in the last few years (the new gates on D South), a
33 Post contains images HT : I'll put my into HKG Kai Tak, last used a few months prior to its closure. Way too crowded, little space, bad air conditioning, ... -HT
34 B595 : United Express gates B80-B92 at DEN. Nowhere near enough gate space/seats for the amount of people being jammed through there. Confined, stuffy, dark,
35 goldorak : I agree. LED is one of the worst, in par with old SVO2. Some airports in Vietnam are awful also like Nha Trang, Dalat, Da-Nang.
36 KingFriday013 : EWR or PHL. No clue, but they both just suck. Never again. (Okay, maybe PHL again if I'm desperate, but you will probably never see me at the airport
37 airevents : Kiev Borispol would rank highly for me. Very chaotic and unorganized, not very well taken care of, generally very unpleasant to travel through plus ad
38 Post contains images vegasplanes : Agree, the Davies Terminal was no fun for originating passengers and must have been a nightmare to connect in with all the finger concourses. The Smi
39 KDTWflyer : I think flying Pro Air out of Detroit City DET (KDET) takes the cake for this thread. The area around the airport is very ghetto. Pro Air eventually l
40 airtrainer : I had the same bad experience at 2E arrivals, spent more time in the queue than in the plane (ok, I was coming from LHR but still it was a nightmare)
41 SW733 : Airport specifically. I just generally despise that airport.
42 vegasplanes : I understand completely! Unfortunately it's my "home" airport for the time being.
43 cvg2lga : I would have to say, Manaus. The observation area (FOR's as well) is dirty and not very well taken care of. The terminal itself is boring, drab and ju
44 JetsGo : I don't recall which terminal it was, but whatever terminal DL used at JFK in 10/2009 for flights to MXP is a complete joke.
45 aloges : Curious, isn't it? After the aforementioned "ordeal" (wasn't really that bad) at BVB, MAO seemed like an amusement park. But obviously, my perspectiv
46 eicvd : LHR, the RoI gates in Terminal 1 to be exact, just a horrible area. The rest of Heathrow cant be as bad as that.
47 robso2 : I'd have to say NBO is the most depressing airport I have been to. Very run down, terrible business lounges. So little seating that passengers are sit
48 DeltaRules : JFK T2 and T3, though I would like to go back one more time to explore more than I got to the one and only time I was there. I'm surprised nobody's sa
49 Post contains images PlymSpotter : I found Lvov to be one of the better airports in Ukraine. Classical railway architecture for the original terminal, and a not too shabby modern exten
50 Post contains links initious : BKI T2 - Low Cost Terminal It was depressing to be inside as it was dark and cramped. With almost nothing else to do except watching planes on the tar
51 aloges : Do you have pictures? You've got me curious.
52 Post contains images PlymSpotter : Yes I do: This was the slightly more chaotic reclaim area, a more recent addition. Still not exactly too bad though compared many airports that I've
53 aloges : Thanks! That's unique!
54 JRadier : Ah, Lvov, brings back memories! That was one of the best trips!
55 FlyDeltaJets87 : I would have to say of airports I've been to, it's CVG. I remember flying there in 2002 and seeing numerous wide-bodies (even on domestic routes) with
56 Post contains images PlymSpotter : Indeed! Great memories
57 yyz717 : Flew into TIJ (Tijuana) from MEX recently on a business trip. TIJ airport is an absolute dump. Low ceilings, unclean, chaotic arrivals area. Interesti
58 travelavnut : Being stuck air-side in CCS for 12 hours was one dreadful experience. Having only a debit-card combined with the fact that there are no ATM machines a
59 steex : For me, it would have to be the international terminal at MNL. Everything about it, from the hundreds of people milling about outside for no reason to
60 777fan : Perhaps, but certainly not in terminal 2! As for the "best" airport Tex-Mex, I'd have to vote for Nuevo Leon at AUS. See T2 at PHX (above!). Seriousl
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