Matt D
Topic Author
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Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sat Dec 04, 1999 7:31 am

Ok....which airport terminals are the nicest (newness, cleanliness, spaciousness, etc)?
Which are the dingiest (antiquity, cleanliness, spaciousness-or lack thereof)?
My choices are as follows:
1. New terminals at Ontario, CA
2. Las Vegas Terminal D
3. Orange County
4. Terminal C at Newark
5. New West terminal at San Diego

In need of some repair and/or replacement:
1. Newark, Terminal A
2. LaGuardia, Central Terminal
3. San Jose (old terminal)
4. Las Vegas terminals A+B
5. Los Angeles, Terminal 3
Das Flugzeug
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EWR Terminals A

Sat Dec 04, 1999 9:11 am

You are absolutely right about the huge difference between Newark terminals A & C. I've been going to C for years, and it is a beautiful terminal (especially considering the recent renovations/addition.) I hadn't been to terminal A until this weekend, and I was shocked at how decrepit it looked. A is some relic of the 70's with pain inducing pastels of yellow, and extremely poor facilities/eateries. I hope the Port Authority starts some renovations there to bring it up to the standards of C.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sat Dec 04, 1999 12:04 pm

I love the new terminal at San Diego, my hometown! I think it was well worth the money they spent on it. Also Milwaukee's General Mitchell is very nice - modern interior, nice waiting areas, big windows to watch planes.

The worst airport I have ever been in is Moscow Sheremet'yevo I. That is the domestic terminal across from Sheremet'yevo II, which is also pretty lousy. It's ancient, no modern baggage handling, no waiting areas, no real services, nasty bathrooms. It needs to be razed and completely redone! Sheremet'yevo II is dingy, unattractive and too small for the huge capital it serves.

RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sat Dec 04, 1999 12:28 pm

Providence is very nice, small, clean and modern. You can see the whole ramp from any window. Too bad there isn't too much of a variety. UAL terminals at ORD are also very nice. That's an achievement, considering the huge amoint of pax and planes, that place is quite orderly. The Delta terminal in JFK is sad. It looks ancient and it's dark.

Istanbul (IST) : The International terminal is tragic. It's old and too small for a city of 10+ million people. The 2 runways are not enough either...

But, a new terminal will be open in 2-3 months, it looks excellent from the outside, all glass etc. It also looks huge. They're also building another runway. Good things these...

How do I know? I was there last week... Great city too, most beautiful I've seen in my life. And I've seen Vancouver, Sydney, Paris etc...
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Sat Dec 04, 1999 2:16 pm

I have to second the Nomination for Providence. Providence is my home town airport It is very roomy and the architechure of it has been highly regarded. Providence Airport has 14 jet bridges, 6 express gates, and room for 5 more jet bridges. The layout is kinda simmilar to SNA. PVD is exprected to reach near 5.2 million pax this year and they need to add more ticket counter area within the terminal. In 1996 the airport served 2.4 mil and in 1999 we will have 5.2 mill much of the sucess credited to Southwest Airlines who will opportate 23 flights per day including nonstops to Phoenix, Houton and Kansas city, as well as 11 daily flights to BWI. The terminal is also equipt with a full F.I.S facility. In 2001 Amtrak and the MBTA will provide rail service to PVD to a station that is 1500 ft away. It will be connected to the terminal via a tramway or a glass enclosed moving sidewalk. The rail service will make it easier for passengers from Connecticut and Boston, re-affirming the name of " Southern New Englands hassle free gateway" as well as the popular slogan " The fastest way out of Boston is through Providence"
p.s I also run a discusion group for PVD at
Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!

RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sat Dec 04, 1999 3:05 pm

I have to be honest - I'm not too crazy about the Terminal 2 addition in SAN. While it is a beautiful terminal and is very nice inside, it is so different from the rest of the airport that it really doesn't fit in. On the inside, they did a good job of transitioning from the original T-2 to the addition, but on the outside the two vastly differesnt exteriors are juxtaposed and just don't look right together. Also, I can't syand what they did with the baggage claims over there... I think that they should have used the new baggage claim facility for the new gates, and allowed American and Northwest flights to continue using the old baggage facility across the skybridge. That baggage claim was so much more convenient when arriving in the older part of the terminal.

As for my favorites, two come to mind... The terminals at HNL are great... probably the best I've seen. They are largely outdoors and fit in well with the tropical atmosphere. My other favorite is ORD Terminal 3. I especially like the walkway where H and K gates are across from each other before the split in the "Y". I'm really looking forward to seeing the G concourse when it's completed, too.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice

Sat Dec 04, 1999 4:55 pm

Sea-Tac needs work. I can tell what was done in the 70's and what is new! My second would be Portland, OR but I don't think they will ever finish building it  
Patriotic and Proud Liberal
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sun Dec 05, 1999 1:55 am

I'am crazy about the brand new terminals from CDG (2E and 2F) but I also like the Stockholm airport even if it is too far away from the city (60 Km).
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sun Dec 05, 1999 2:39 am Europe, Brussels National and Paris new
terminals are great: modern, clean, large
views to spot aircrafts, and so on...but the worst
are airports in Greece, those little airports in the
islands are awful !!! In Asia, my preferences goes to
Changi Airport (of course!!) and new KL airport even
if it's too big for so little traffic.

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RE: Nice And Not So Nice

Sun Dec 05, 1999 4:17 am

Sacramento's new Terminal A is real nice. OMA has a nice terminal as does DSM. I think MSP has turned out rather nice. As for terminals that need help, SMF terminals B1 and B2, all of PDX, SEA, DFW, MSY is kind of in bad shape too.

RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sun Dec 05, 1999 6:29 am

Hey everyone, I would have to say that my favorite terminal is Tampa's in Florida. I love that place!!! Other nice one's include Toronto's terminal 2, Vancouver, Charlotte, NC, and Frankfurt, Germany. Soon to follow will be my home terminal at St. John's, NF which is going through some major renovations and is going to look beautiful when complete. I don't really have any dislikes with any terminals, except for Toronto's terminal 2. Now I know that I said I liked YYZ's T2, and I do, the view is perfect, but I don't like the walk to get from the domestic part to U.S. or international gates or the walk to customs, it is too far!!! Phil
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Sun Dec 05, 1999 7:29 am

I think everyone so far has missed the boat. One of the nicest, most modern, and easily navigated airports in the US has to be Pittsburgh. If you're not a fan of US Airways, you probably don't go through it much.

Similarly, Pittsburgh's twin sister, Charlotte, is a fantastic terminal. If you'll notice, Pittsburgh is built like the letter X, while Charlotte is shaped like the letter K.

As a business traveller, I tend to get bumped onto another airline's flight when one gets cancelled. Have you ever tried changing terminals at JFK, LAX, or ORD? It's a complete pain in the ass. However, it's easy at Pittsburgh. The entire airport has one security checkpoint. If you have to change terminals, there is no need to go through security again.

A small regional airport that has a wonderful new terminal is Albany, NY. While I can't stand the city, the airport is actually quite nice.

I absolutely hate Philadelphia's Terminal A. I hate Philadelphia International as a whole, but Terminal A is like a bus terminal. You have this huge seating area in the center with all of the gates on outer perimeter. It's like sitting in a bus terminal waiting for your bus to be called. It's simply awful.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 6:21 am

My opinion is as follows.

Nice Airports
1. BHM - Very beautiful airport
2. LAS - Terminal D
3. CVG - Very easy to get around.
4. ATL - Also easy to get around.

Ugly Airports
1. MDW - In need of some major updating.
2. OAK - Just not very pretty.
3. JFK - Due to difficulty of transfer between terminals.

RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals - HyperMike

Mon Dec 06, 1999 7:26 am

You don't need to leave security at O'Hare to switch terminals, either, unless you are going to/from Terminal 5 (international). The domestic terminals are all connected behind the security check, so you can go from American at one extreme end to United at the other without leaving the secured area.
nwa man
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 8:11 am

LAX Terminal 2 for Northwest, Air Canada, and Air NZ, among others, is spacious and clean with tall ceilings and an immigration facility on the lower level.
NRT Terminal 1 check-in area is good, much better than gates 40-49 area.
Not Nice:
Detroit's F Concourse is so crowded with all the 744s departing out of the circle area, plus DC-9 flights mixed in.
Create your own luck.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 8:18 am

Okay, here is my 2 cents worth. From an Asian point of view, the new Chep Lep Kok airport in HK and the new KL international airport in Malaysia deserves some mention. They are real cool airports.

worst airports are Sydney and London Heathrow. London standsted is not bad.

SQ always my 1st choice
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 9:05 am

I think that the brand-new "Terminal A" in SMF (Sacramento, CA) is WONDERFUL, especially compared with the old terminal that most of the airlines operate at.

Portland International (PDX) has done a really nice job on re-doing their terminals. The main areas are very open, tall, and bright.

HOWEVER, the BEST terminal in my opinion, is Tokyo Narita's "old" terminal (T1 perhaps?). Having just been re-done, the check in facilities are IMMACULATE, and look SOO WONDERFUL! The waiting area before going through customs is also gorgeous, as well as the entire customs area and walkways to the gates. Oh man...that is one great looking place!!

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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 11:47 am

My favourite terminal is Terminal 1 in Flughafen Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The terminal is very light and airy, and there is the besucherterasse (Visitor's Terrace) that gets you as close the the field, without actually being on the field. There is also a store called Fluggie on the second level that sells virtually every type Herpa made. This terminal consolidates all of Lufthansa's flights, although many flights depart on the airside and you need to get bussed to these flights. Despite this, it is far better than the chage of terminals in LHR (BA) or CDG (AF) DFW (AA). I fing a trip through FRA a wonderful experinece, and I look forward to the next time I can expreience that German hospitality.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 2:47 pm

LH423, where is the "Visitor's Terrace at Terminal 1 FRA? I looked desperately last time I was there but couldn't find it.

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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Mon Dec 06, 1999 5:30 pm

I'll second the opinion that SAN's fairly new West Terminal is great looking. However I find it an inconvenient place to catch a plane because I have to walk SO far to catch those Delta flights at the far end. They should have incorporated a moving walkway.

I think my all time favorite WORST airport (and I'm pinpointing here) WAS Newark Airport's North terminal where PeoplExpress was located. Just like a white trash bus station, except people in a bus station wouldn't lie all over the floors like here! Astoundingly dingy and grim, my mouth dropped to the ground as I hustled off the plane.

I really like the design of Kansas City, MCI, but hate the distance from the city.

RE: Nice And Not So Nice

Mon Dec 06, 1999 10:24 pm

The Usairways terminals (B and C) in Philadelphia just got redone a few years ago. They put in a mall and more windows. The other terminals are allright, Terminal E (Delta, Northwest) could use a facelift
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Tue Dec 07, 1999 5:20 am

Well, Toronto's Terminal 1 Built in the 60's by today's standards is UGLY!!! But for it's time it was among the best in the world. Even Paris CDG's terminal is modeled after YYZ terminal 1. The nicest would have to be Toronto Terminal 3. Very modern, built in the early 90's. It is built using alot of glass. Very Nice. But it doesn't have an observation area. Can't see the planes unles you are going somewhere.
"Clive Beddoe says he favours competition, but his actions do not support that idea." Robert Milton - CEO Air Canada
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Tue Dec 07, 1999 5:28 am

YWG is the cleanest terminal I have been into. The second is YVR. The third is YYC.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Tue Dec 07, 1999 7:07 am

I've got bests and worsts in different categories..=D

Best small airport terminals:
John Wayne/Orange County - simple, easy to get around, spotless.. the only problem is the permanent aroma de McDonald's..

Santa Barbara - beautiful terminal (there's a picture posted on the site here), not sure about now, but Carrow's was open upstairs and lunch on the balcony overlooking the entire airport was always fun..

Worst small airport terminals:
The old Ontario (ONT) terminal - I've seen airports in third-world countries that look more impressive. Never had I thought I would ever see portable classrooms double as waiting areas.

Burbank - the terminals at BUR just scream cramped and crowded, from the narrow hallways to the close proximity to the runways (if you could throw a rock from the Southwest gates, you might hit a flaring airliner).

Best large airport terminals:

Denver - I may be in the distinct minority here, but I really like DEN. Sure, everything is a long walk away, but that just means there's more to see!

Worst large airport terminals:

Kai Tak - I had heard so much about Kai Tak and was thrilled to visit.. the aviation action did not disappoint, but the terminal sure did. Just one big, extremely crowded hallway, a few newstands and the most expensive cafeteria I've ever eaten at.

Singapore Changi - While most people love this place, I found it too sterile. "Children's Play Quadrant Sector 17G-4".. an exageration, but that's the feeling I got there.

Delta's terminal at DFW (not sure what number it is) - "We'd like to welcome you to Dallas-Fort Worth.. we'll be arriving at Gate 3.. the current time is 11:43am.. we'll now announce connecting flights.. Nashville, 12:05, Gate 633. Boston, 12:00, Gate 514. Tampa, Gate 4, 12:30. New Orleans, 11:55, Gate 847." I'm sure they're not alone in this practice and it's not something really worthy of a complaint, but how many times has that happened to you? Why can't I be the guy going to Tampa for once? Instead I get to trudge down 7 miles of hallway, past 13 barbeque places, feeling obligated to stop in the "Everything Texan" to pick up some salt and pepper shakers in the shape of cowboy boots. I guess it's not so much a problem with DFW as it is with the hub and spoke system in practice.
Ask why..
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Tue Dec 07, 1999 7:31 am

If you are in the main are outside the ticket counters. The HUGE ticker display for all the flight should be in front of you. If you're faceing towards these then look to you left. There should be an escalator leading to a second level. There you should see machines. These machines are ticket machines and for DM5 you will get a ticket. Go down the mezzanine by a shop called 'Fluggie' and to the security checkpoint (you didn't really think that you were gonna get within 20 feet of a 747 without going through security did you). While in security the check EVERYTHING. Then you proceed outside and down the roof of the concourse, as the actual deck is about 1/2 a kilometre from the security. Expect a crowd especially if it's busy, as the Viewing Deck is the SECOND busiest tourist attraction in all of Germany. Viel Spaß! (German for 'Have Fun')

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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SFO Int'l Terminal

Tue Dec 07, 1999 6:03 pm

Have any of you guys been to the new SFO Int'l terminal recently? It is huge and truly awe-inspiring. From the freeway and as you drive in, you can see the silver-ladened exteriors of the concourses and main terminal and the beatiful vaulted interior corridors -- it is truly spectacular. Plus, the new BART station and parking garages attached to the terminal are like skyscrapers. It is awesome.
The new int'l terminal at SFO will be the largest int'l terminal in N. America when it opens in March of 2000 (as scheduled). THere will be 26 747 capable gates, with the north concourse (13 gates) available for the exclusive use of United Airlines and Star Alliance. United better initiate a lot of new Pacific and maybe even LatAm and Europe routes to fully utilize those gates!
no wire hangers!
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RE: SFO Int'l Terminal

Wed Dec 08, 1999 1:13 pm

Man that thing is SOO nice looking!! I hope to be there April 1, 2000 for the grand opening!! (I think that's it!)

If UA and Star don't use up all of their "exclusive gates" for international, there was some talk about also operating domestic flights from there...UA really only needs the majority for int'l from about 8AM-2PM...

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RE: SFO Int'l Terminal

Wed Dec 08, 1999 1:20 pm

I have heard great things about this Internatiional Terminal in Canada. I hope UA or AC will start to fly to YWG and YEG from there. I hear that SFO is under a major expansion. Please tell me the details.
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RE: Nice And Not So Nice Terminals

Wed Dec 08, 1999 1:30 pm

New Orleans International's terminal's C and D are among the nicest anywhere. One would be hard-pressed to find a nicer terminal anywhere in the world. C houses UA, AA, JI, FL, AC, TA, TW, LR, and charters. D is home of Delta and Comair.

Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!

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