I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this very subjective topic. With the picture link, my personal opinion (slightly biased as it is my home airport) is that LAX, in total, is the most instantly recognizable, unmistakable airport on the planet. Anchored by the Theme Building, followed by the ATC tower and the "light tubes" on Sepulveda that cascade down Century Boulevard in front of the airport hotels make for a very iconic complex. I have seen CDG, MUC, FRA, LHR, MAD, BCN, FCO, MEX, MXP, VCN, ORY, GVA, GDL, CUN, MTY, LIS, LAS, ATL, CVG, JFK, ORD, DIA, SFO, DFW, IAD and nearly every other airport in the US.
In the US i'd place IAD as a close second (with Eero Saarinen's passenger terminal) and TWA's old terminal at JFK (all but demolished by now, also by Eero Saarinen) as very iconic structures. In Europe, both the original CDG terminal and the new Air France / Sky Team gates are very recognizable. I lack first hand knowledge of the new mega airports scattered throughout Asia.
It is tough to not confuse "iconic" with "beauty" as CDG's old alien space ship terminal is ugly, though it is unmistakably Paris, thus iconic. To be fair, as a frequent user of LAX, most of the actual terminals are dated insofar as design, facilities, amenities and in some cases general upkeep. But overall, LAX cannot be mistaken for any other and is almost instantly recognizable, thus the most iconic.
N8076U From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 425 posts, RR: 9 Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2194 times:
I have to agree, that at least for me, I always instantly recognize LAX, as long as the tower is in the photo. But I also haven't visited that many airports in my lifetime, and definitely not very many at all in other countries.
Gift4tbone From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 611 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2022 times:
What about BOS? I could recognize the tower in a heartbeat, never seen anything like it. Also, I would have to say ORD from the air, as for me, I can recognize the terminal layout. But I do agree that LAX, JFK, and DFW are up on the top of the list.
The TW terminal @ JFK is NOT being demolished... only the gates were demolished. The iconic terminal and famous "tube" connectors are still there and will always be there, and will front jetBlue's new Terminal 5.
Klwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 1954 posts, RR: 3 Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1838 times:
This is indeed very subjective. It all depends on where the individual has been, and what the individual remembers.
I have never been to HKG and CDG so I wouldn't know. But I'll take your word for it.
Of course DEN is very distinctive, and very memorable. It is truly an original structure. But if one has never been, it is not worth much.
Some airports mentioned are not particularly distinctive, special, or iconic in any way.
Of all the airports I think the absolute most recognizable is LAX due to the "signature building." This is especially true if you've never been there cause the airport has been in so many movies over the years, and the signature building is always right there, by the tower. Yes the facilities at LAX are not that great as mentioned.
Petazulu From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 701 posts, RR: 1 Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1829 times:
How about St. Maarten? Could recognize that from anywhere!
I agree with Dulles and Denver as well as the TWA terminal. Throw in all of LGA (including Marine Air Terminal). CDG Terminal 1.
St. Barths and Jorge Newberry in BA are also very distinctive.
VHVXB From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 5519 posts, RR: 20 Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1737 times:
I have to agree with everyone else here that it is LAX simply because of the theme buildings. I have friends who have never been to LAX or ever out the country and easily recongise the theme building and those big poles?? does anyone know the name?
LAX2IADandORD From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 44 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1732 times:
Quoting VHVXB (Reply 17): I have friends who have never been to LAX or ever out the country and easily recongise the theme building and those big poles?? does anyone know the name?
The name is precisely the "Theme Building". It was built in the Lyndon Johnson era (I believe) as his name is on a placard somewhere near the entrance I believe.
More than one indicated LAX's Tower as the most recognizable. Perhaps folks may be confusing the space aged "Theme Building" as the tower. If this is the case, it is not. The building houses a very cool restaurant / bar called "Encounter" which looks like George Jetson's living room on acid. Even the elevator ride up is an experience with music that starts and stops with the elevator. Order a fountain drink at the bar and you'll hear "galactic gun fire" as they pour your drink. The base houses what appears to be administrative airport offices.
WOW!! Thanks to all who agree about LAX. I am always glad to go there (which I do about once per month to fly). Will see it tomorrow.....
DLSLC From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 88 posts, RR: 1 Reply 20, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1728 times:
I can't believe no one has mentioned ATL. At least from an aerial stand point, it has to be one of the most recognizable airport, you cant mistake the layout of ATL with any other airport. Also I think LHR is another easlily recognizable airport from the air.
If you are meaning easly recognized by the landmarks or buildings, LAX obviously and JFK with the TWA building.
Crjflyer35 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 668 posts, RR: 2 Reply 21, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 1672 times:
Definitely agree with LAX and DEN. MDW is pretty recognizable, and PHX is easy to confuse with LAX if you look too quickly and don't notice a "missing" runway. And now since I've flown out of it, the terminal at ICN is unmistakeable!
Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.