washingtonian
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Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:01 am

I've been curious about this. What do most non-Americans think of American airports in general? Do they match or exceed your expectations? It seems like on the whole American airports are a lot more welcoming for non-Americans today. Look at JFK, for example. Just over a decade ago, if you were arriving on an international flight at JFK you were most likely arriving at Terminal 3/4/5/7 or 8. Terminal 7 was in decent shape if you were arriving on British Airways. Terminal 1 opened in 1998 for Lufthansa/Air France/JAL/Korean Air. But pretty much every other airline (including such leading ones as SwissAir and Virgin Atlantic) used a facility from 30-40 years past. Thus the majority of international passengers at JFK were arriving to a crappy facility. Today Terminal 4, 7, and 8 all have lovely FIS facilities and are quite nice terminals. Sadly Terminal 3 is still serving many arriving Delta passengers. But the majority of passengers at JFK should have a more-or-less pleasant experience once they step off the plane.

Ditto at many other American airports. The new South and North Terminals at MIA are amazing. The McNamara terminal at DTW. The new FIS facility at IAD. ATL Concourse E opened around 1996. EWR's two FIS facilities are both relatively new. The international terminal at SFO. The list goes on and on. Obviously some big exceptions like T3 at JFK or LAX though....

So back to my question, what experience do most non-Americans have when they arrive at an American airport after an international flight?
 
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downtown273
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:18 am

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
So back to my question, what experience do most non-Americans have when they arrive at an American airport after an international flight?

As I see the airports are practical, but in general not too modern (see AMS, FRA, MUC, MAD, LHR, they're all pretty nice airports, glass walls, runway views, expensive shops, etc. - I know, depends on the terminal you fly to!) . Flying into the US is a bit of a pain considering that if you're connecting flights you need to take your luggage to clear customs and re-check in the luggage, whereas in Europe you usually clear customs when you reach your final destination. Customs waiting times (at least in JFK, IAD, MIA, BOS) need improving... big time.

I have to say that the airport that I like the most in the US is ATL, I find it easiest to make connections there.

Of course everyone will have his/her particular point of view, so just my $0.01.

Now, what's your view on European airports?
 
FlyNWA727
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:29 am

I don't think American airports compare at all to foreign airports. You look at Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol, Hong Kong, Beijing Capital, Singapore Changi, Incheon, and Dubai ... nothing in America compares. I think one of the biggest reasons, is that America's busiest airports are all located in cities where there's really no feasible way to build a brand new airport. So, unfortunately, we're stuck with aging infrastructure and lackluster upgrades every blue moon. It's really sad. I would love to see a world-class modern airport in the U.S.
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flymia
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:30 am

Quoting downtown273 (Reply 1):
MUC, MAD, LHR,

Been to these three last year LHR Terminal 5 is great but the rest is a dump and the bus connecting system is a hassle not a huge fan of LHR. MAD was nice but nothing special. However I loved MUC nicest airport I have ever been to.

Quoting downtown273 (Reply 1):
Now, what's your view on European airports?

It is great connecting internationally its is such a breeze compared to the US of course. The only airport I hate in europe that I have been to would be FCO. Been for a few others recently: LGW, LHR, MAD, BCN, ZRH, PRG, VCE, MUC. I really enjoyed them all but I just like just about any airport I go to. Security is fine, food options tend to be a little bit worse then what I am used to in the US but shopping is just about the same for large international airports.

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):


Your right American airports tend to be closer to cities and older but. DTW, parts of JFK, MIA, ATL, DCA ( not international but fantastic) SFO, MCO, DFW all pretty nice airports sure not brand new like many of the airports you listed but still nice. We can not be comparing the US to Asia and the Middle East so many of those airports were built very recently if the US started to build major airports in the last 15-20 years they would all be like those too. Also many of these countries have 1-3 maybe four main international gateways while the US has many. Of course when you only have a few main gateways more money will go into them. I am sure the average domestic airport in China is not as nice as TPA or DCA.

[Edited 2011-02-07 22:35:40]
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:35 am

I've done a number of domestic flights and a few international flights in the last year. I found the airports to be so boring. Nothing to do, nothing to see. I've passed through ORD (AA terminal and International Terminal), MDW, SEA and EWR. Nothing much land side in terms of shops of food, and the same goes for airside. It's usually just a bunch of Hudson Newspaper outlets. I hate just sitting around waiting for my flights.
I've found that at European airports there's more shops to air side. Although I don't really tend to buy anything, it's nice to be able to look around.
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:40 am

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
It seems like on the whole American airports are a lot more welcoming

US airports are all over the place, but then again, so are EU airports. I like AMS, FRA, BRU, CGN, GVA, BCN off the top of my head. I don't care much for CDG or LHR. Most of the places that Ryanair flies to are glorified barns, but the fares are low too, well, so long as you don't want to take anything more than your toothbrush with you on holiday.
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:41 am

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
So, unfortunately, we're stuck with aging infrastructure and lackluster upgrades every blue moon. It's really sad. I would love to see a world-class modern airport in the U.S.

The truth.

When I connect in IAH, security is a complete hassle.

LAX is also a lot of walking sometimes. And usually LAX is my final point. I can't imagine how it is for people from Mexico or LATAM connecting to Asia. And immigration lines are terrible.

I have connected in MAD, FRA and as final destination I've flown to AMS and FCO. European airports are by far better compared to US airports.

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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:50 am

Some US airports are definitely not that bad, but for many of them when I think of a US airport, I think of low ceilings, Hudson News, Cinnabon, old carpeting, and a cacophony of Charlie Brown teachers squaking something about podiums.  
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:04 am

As an American who has lived in Asia for a number of years I am always overwhelmed as to how generally superior Asian airports appear. ICN, HKG, BKK, KUL, SIN, even PEK put the majority of American airports to shame, the majority but not all. The new terminal at DTW never fails to impress. Also DEN and SFO are quite nice. ATL gets a bad rap but it's design is highly logical and functional, just a tad overcrowded. In an ideal world we would bulldoze ORD and BOS and just start again, and as an American, I feel that the intl. terminal at LAX is a national embarrassment.
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Maverick623
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:11 am

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
You look at Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle
Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
nothing in America compares.

I disagree, at least with those two choices. Aside from T5 (which is very nice), LHR is kinda trashy. And don't even get me started on CDG....


We do have some nice airports/terminals here in the US. DFW, DEN, ATL, PDX, SEA, and a few others are some large airports that are very pleasant and clean (if a little boring sometimes, with the Hudson News shops).

We also have a few smaller airports like SAV, PVD, SAN, SBA, ALB, etc... that are unique and fun to be around.
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slinky09
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:22 am

Since the question is to non-Americans on US airports, I'll answer that, not any of the other answers that might also be derived:

Just about all airports are generally inferior - international terminals such as ORD which are separate from main terminal complexes are very dull with inadequate facilities, BOS is pretty but boring, MIA is dreadful, there's no sparkle at DFW, ... There are notable exceptions like the international terminal at SFO; but at LAX for example, imagine V Aus in business and T3 and the Alaska Airlines lounge and compare that to somewhere else in the world?

Poor food and dining options by and large - and sometimes even at a Hudson News in JFK you can't buy a decent magazine - what gives with that?

Lounges not a patch on the rest of the world. I had the misfortune of sitting in the AA First lounge at ORD once, dire in a word, cheap food, cheap wine, stuffed full of frequent fliers all dressed poorly.

On officialdom US Immigration can still frequently be dreadful (vis MIA, just incredible how rude they are) and TSA remains variable from good through OK to nasty - the welcoming experience is bad, the inability to check through baggage is an example of poor service thinking, but there are worse places in the world.

Architecturally most are a mess but IAD still warms my cockles (the main terminal that is, the rest of the airport was designed by a sadist!).

So in summary a mixed bag - but it's all to easy to compare to one or two airports in the world built at different times with different perspectives, and not necessarily a good one. By and large they work, which is what you want.
 
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:36 pm

Quoting Slinky09 (Reply 10):
Architecturally most are a mess but IAD still warms my cockles (the main terminal that is, the rest of the airport was designed by a sadist!).

You must have flown United then! The rest of the airport is pretty nice....
 
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MillwallSean
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:01 pm

Since I am a non American Ill reply.
Honestly I feel most US airports are vastly inferior to most of the rest of the world.

Terminal layouts aren't made for international passengers or international connections. picking up the bags at first port clearing customs and re-checking them???
Third world countries can process bags to final destination.

Long walks and in general and way to few airside activities. Its like they have to little business in each terminal and instead of a combined offering we get terminals with just the minimum in each. Combine some stuff.

Lounges in general are dreadful and not at all what one would expect. I usually use my US alliance partners lounges.

Customer service something that usually is pretty good and chatty in the US compared to Europe but at airports it seems to be lacking. Never understood why.

Always low ceilings, rarely decent views of the runways

Just fast food and who wants fast food.

Queues are just to long at international but that can happen at other places too London anyone...
However some international airports really need to plan for being international. it cant be a surprise to LAX that they have lots of international passengers, yet they still dont manage to build or plan for it.
In general I agree with the expat American above LAX is just an embarrassment.

I have three airport that are ok in the US; SFO, PDX and SEA. the rest and I have been at virtually every major international gateway several times aren't pleasant experiences and if I can I avoid them.

Quoting flymia (Reply 3):
I am sure the average domestic airport in China is not as nice as TPA or DCA.

Ahum, to be honest NO - Chinas airports are much nicer than DCA.
And DCA nice? our tastes differ...
Let me remind the gentleman that this year china finished 10 brand new airports, the previous years 30 and before 2018 another 70 will have been built. All major airports have seen new terminals constructed the last few years on top of this.
These are brand new and in built very nicely indeed often designed and project managed by European and in particular German companies.
China is catching up faster than people understand and the terminals being built are brand new and best in class.

Even in Malaysia airports in cities people have never heard of tend to be less then ten years and putting almost every European or American airport to shame.
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:31 pm

Quoting Slinky09 (Reply 10):
On officialdom US Immigration can still frequently be dreadful (vis MIA, just incredible how rude they are) and TSA remains variable from good through OK to nasty - the welcoming experience is bad, the inability to check through baggage is an example of poor service thinking, but there are worse places in the world.



I couldn't agree more about MIA. Coming or going it's totally unpleasant.
 
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:44 pm

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
I would love to see a world-class modern airport in the U.S.

Despite having NWA in your username, I take it you've never been to the Detroit World Gateway??  
 
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:59 pm

Quoting bgm (Reply 7):
As an American who has lived in Asia for a number of years I am always overwhelmed as to how generally superior Asian airports appear. ICN, HKG, BKK, KUL, SIN, even PEK put the majority of American airports to shame, the majority but not all. The new terminal at DTW never fails to impress. Also DEN and SFO are quite nice. ATL gets a bad rap but it's design is highly logical and functional, just a tad overcrowded. In an ideal world we would bulldoze ORD and BOS and just start again, and as an American, I feel that the intl. terminal at LAX is a national embarrassment.

Check out www.lawa.org/laxdev to see what is happening to the Bradley terminal at LAX. It's difficult to replace it while in use, but that's what they are doing. I think the first new gates open in 2012.
 
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Coal
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:04 am

Quoting downtown273 (Reply 1):
Flying into the US is a bit of a pain considering that if you're connecting flights you need to take your luggage to clear customs and re-check in the luggage

Erm, yeah, as is the case in Australia, China, Japan... Well, really, any other country that doesn't belong to the EU.

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle

Yuck!   

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
Beijing Capital

Only T3. T2 is a sh*thole, as are most of the other domestic airports in China. Oh, yeah, and the pat down is not an option in China. It's compulsory.

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
Singapore Changi

Best. Airport. Ever! (checkmark}

Quoting CoachClass (Reply 13):
I couldn't agree more about MIA. Coming or going it's totally unpleasant.

Worst. Airport. Ever!   

I will say I was surprised last week when I arrived at ORD and the time from de-planing to the air train to T3 was about 7 minutes. That nearly beats SIN.

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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:55 am

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
Ahum, to be honest NO - Chinas airports are much nicer than DCA.

Haha, and you are probably the type who has been to Beijing and Shanghai and claims to have gone to China.

PEK T3 is great, SHA T2 is great, PVG T2 is ok, and CAN is generally OK althought the check in area is a big mess and designed in an unbelievably stupid way. PEK T2, SHA T1, and PVG T1 are sh*tholes. So are LZH, TNA, BAV, KWE, CSX, NNG, CGQ, TAO, TSN, XIY, and ZHA. Mind you, a lot of these airports are no more than 10 years old.

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
Even in Malaysia airports in cities people have never heard of tend to be less then ten years and putting almost every European or American airport to shame.

Yes, that's because there was no airport in a lot of those places many years ago.

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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:59 am

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
China is catching up faster than people understand and the terminals being built are brand new and best in class.

Sorry, I missed this last part.

                          

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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:52 pm

I often feel the "international" part of internal US airports is an after-thought, as if the planners built this nice new airport, and then went to work figuring out how to make international operations fit into the mix, although that is mostly true of older designs. Newer terminals work better, but the design seems to be driven by a need for absolute flexibility and making every gate a dual-use domestic/international gate, resulting sometimes in very long walk down an elevated sterile, bland hall to customs and immigrations. One of these days, I'll fall asleep on a people mover.

Overall, US airports lack imagination. I am not saying every major foreign airport is a haven of possibilities for passengers on long connections, but at least some do try and clearly see their airport as an asset to convince passengers to go through their city rather than another, especially on connecting flights. In the US, I cannot think of a single airport or city trying to make that distinction. If one airport is preferable over another to connect through, it isn't because they're trying harder than the other, it is because they are not as bad as the other in some area. Seriously, how hard do AA and Chicago try and get me to go through ORD rather than, say EWR? The answer is they don't, and the same can be said for any hub of any US carrier.

This being said, my favorite O/D airport in the US is DFW. The semi-circle terminals around a central access road and multitude of security check-points make every gate close to check-in, parking, luggage claim, etc... Sadly that design also makes it one of the worst ones to connect through (but never the worst, that award indubitably belongs to MIA). It can also be a major PITA for day trips on AA (which I rarely do thankfully) when you park at the infield lot of your departure terminal and return to another terminal. DFW's international terminal has also some pretty decent shopping and eating options, but again by reason of the design, they can be a long walk away.

This is not to say every foreign airport is a model to be followed. I have no love lost for LHR or CDG, and MAD is PIT with more sun, mostly due to the attitude of the staff who can't be bothered to try and help, and certainly not in any language known to man other than Spanish.

Quoting FlyNWA727 (Reply 2):
I don't think American airports compare at all to foreign airports. You look at Heathrow

LHR is a frigging mall. You can compare it to any mall in the US, except this one happens to have planes!

Quoting Coal (Reply 17):
Yes, that's because there was no airport in a lot of those places many years ago.

Or the ones that were there were tin huts, sometimes quite literally.
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bogota
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:32 pm

I have to agree here with most people. As a kid I remember going to the US and finding paradise as a junior aviation enthusiast. Airports were large (which used to impress) and modern. As I grew up I began travelling around the world and began to see how most places in the world updated, renovated and even reconstructed airports, yet in the US this hardly seen. Architecturally most airports really have a lot to be desired, most are simple large buildings, some with nice interiors. Obviously for very particular reasons the US does not have sterile areas for international connections, which really always makes me not even consider international transit there, plus immigration and customs are in general very inefficient and lets not even talk about the queues at TSA security. They just simply do not seem friendly and fun to go through. I must say I do like IAH when you arrive internationally, they seem to always have a smile in their face. And MIA is trying to catch up, TJ is nice have not seen the new Terminal for AA. A big complain on my behalf is the amount of gates most US airports have, since they belong to airlines and not to the airport you end walking for ever through a large number of unused gates. I have seen monitors on top of gates announcing flights that will depart in 3 or 4 hours, which is not only very inefficient but makes pax unnecessarily walk around. Maybe I am missing something, but why can´t their be less gates used by multiple airlines and use the space for nice entertaining areas, high quality shopping and good dinning which seems to be lacking in most US airports.

pd. I had a very short domestic transit in DEN, but from what I saw it does stand out as an impressive airport.
 
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:06 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 16):
Erm, yeah, as is the case in Australia, China, Japan... Well, really, any other country that doesn't belong to the EU

Not true - Japan does not require one to go through customs or immigration if connecting. Same in Seoul, HKG, and many other places in Asia.
 
signol
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:47 pm

I've only used 2 US airports, LAX and IAD (JFK will be added to the list in April), som my comments will only apply to those.

LAX: TBIT looks like it was built in the 60s to be "ultra-modern", lots of bare concrete and metal/leather seats. Almost nothing airside. Long queues for immigration, even when not even transferring, but continuing on the same aircraft! (NZ1). Landside facilities are good. It looked like there were lots of little self-contained terminals, where they could all be connected, but I guess this is due to each airline having exxclusive use of one?

IAD: Light and airy. Again, long immigration queues (1h on my visit). And what is with those "mobile lounges"?! How inefficient are they?! Ours arrived directly at the immigration queue, but there wasn't enough room in the queue to actually leave the lounge! At least now they have a landside train.

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robso2
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:00 pm

Generally I find US airports to be inferior to european airports:

1) The security system is tediously long in comparison
2) connecting in the US you have to pick your bag up and drop it off again whereas in Europe your back is checked through and handled to the final destination
3) the quality of the facilities vary widely I find between terminals (but I suppose this argument could be made of any airport including LHR where T5 is far superior to the rest) in the US i was impressed by T4 at JFK but thought that T7 was really lackluster....

I find IAH to be a great place to transit, huge open spaces good cafes and also like EWR (lots of shopping and spotting options)
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:58 pm

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 19):
Sadly that design also makes it one of the worst ones to connect through

I'm sorry good sir, you must be forgetting that DFW has train that stops twice in every terminal, running both direction, every 2 minutes. You're never more than 8 minutes away from your destination once on the train. You're also never more than a 3-5 minute walk from your gate to the train station.

Give me two more reasons why DFW is bad for connecting.
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Coal
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:17 pm

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 21):
Not true - Japan does not require one to go through customs or immigration if connecting. Same in Seoul, HKG, and many other places in Asia.

Of course you wouldn't need that in HKG, there are no domestic routes to connect to!  

Regarding Japan, please check link below, about halfway down the page, under "Through check-in from ANA international flight to ANA Japan domestic flight"

https://www.ana.co.jp/wws/japan/e/local/int/service/plantrip/

By your definition, people arriving in a country from abroad and connecting to a domestic flight would never have to clear customs. I'm pretty sure the system would be abused  

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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:27 pm

The one US terminal I've used which measures up to the better ones elsewhere is MCO. Light and airy, even offers proper food. Unfortunately it is still staffed by the dregs of the TSA.

TBIT at LAX can only be described as a 3rd world experience. Could the state of California please extract their heads from their posteriors for sufficient time to recognise this.
 
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Coal
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:03 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 26):
TBIT at LAX can only be described as a 3rd world experience. Could the state of California please extract their heads from their posteriors for sufficient time to recognise this.

Maybe after they plug the $25 billion hole in the budget!

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aklrno
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:38 pm

Quoting rwSEA (Reply 21):
I've only used 2 US airports, LAX and IAD (JFK will be added to the list in April), som my comments will only apply to those.

LAX: TBIT looks like it was built in the 60s to be "ultra-modern", lots of bare concrete and metal/leather seats. Almost nothing airside. Long queues for immigration, even when not even transferring, but continuing on the same aircraft! (NZ1). Landside facilities are good. It looked like there were lots of little self-contained terminals, where they could all be connected, but I guess this is due to each airline having exxclusive use of one?

If you were on NZ1 you were in Terminal 2, not TBIT. For a while T2 was due to be demolished so runway 24L could be moved south for better runway separation, but I think that may have been cancelled. In any case I don't think it will be refurbished too much while demolition is still on the table.

TBIT construction is underway. Most of it will be demolished and replaced. See www.lawa.org/laxdev for construction webcams.

I am old enough to remember when the current LAX opened. The current airport is the third incarnation of LAX. It was state of the art them, but things change. Its hard to replace an airport while it is operating. This time they don't have the space to allow them to build generation 4 on empty land. They are out of space and environmental concerns and the neighbors restrict what they can do. Didn't worry about that in 1957!
 
signol
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:49 pm

Quoting aklrno (Reply 28):

It was me that was on NZ1  

OK, I wasn't sure on that occasion which terminal it was - it was in 2003 before I started taking serious notice. I've used TBIT on other occasions though when I actually went to California.

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
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Coal
Posts: 2545
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:44 am

Since the discussion touched base on China's airports, I want to bring to your attention an article on today's (Feb 15th 2011) China Daily (the state run propaganda paper in English) about the shoddy deals behind most of China's airports.



For those without 20/20 vision, you can see the full size article here.

Same goes for the high speed (Gaotie) railways in China. Impressive? Yes. Can the average Zhang afford it? No. Will the investment pay off? No.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
jgw787
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:50 am

im american and i think airports in other countries are way better
 
flymia
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:21 am

Quoting robso2 (Reply 23):
) connecting in the US you have to pick your bag up and drop it off again whereas in Europe your back is checked through and handled to the final destination

Of course you know that is only for connections when you are coming from an international country. If you are flying DFW-ATL-JFK or PHX-MIA-LHR your bags go straight to the plane. Only on LHR-JFK-STL or LHR-IAD-EZE would you have to take your bags out since they are coming into the U.S. from an international country.

After just recently flying DCA-MIA-DCA and reading this thread before I really noticed how MIA and DCA are both on the same level of many of the airports I have been to in Europe. MIA one year ago was not but now it is. Lots of shopping, easy connections, good food etc.. A lot better then PRG or FCO thats for sure.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
QFKangaroo747
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:46 pm

Generally speaking, US international airports mostly match my expectations when arriving on an international flight. My expectations are not too high, but they all seem to serve their purpose and are usually fine and not particularly unpleasant. Some are much better than others though. Here is what I would say from my own experiences:

SFO - Excellent
LAX TBIT - Average
LAX T4 (when I arrived on QF) - Below average
LAX T5 (when I arrived on DL) - Average
JFK T4 - Very good
JFK T7 (when I arrived on QF) - Below Average
 
blueflyer
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:46 am

Quoting Super80DFW (Reply 24):
ive me two more reasons why DFW is bad for connecting.

Mostly uninspiring food options located haphazardly (term D excepted on both counts).
No "natural" focus point where you can expect to find customer service, connection info, etc...
This space forcibly cleansed to protect truthers
 
dc9northwest
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:08 am

I live in the US, but I'm from Romania.

Here are some impressions about US airports:

DTW McNamara: Excellent airport, the best I've been through. Nice but not extraordinary architecturally. Never had massive delay issues here. Decent amenities, good cleanliness, very modern. The only negative is the black dots on the windows. I think there are better ways to reduce the amount of light (polarized glass, anyone?). 9/10

ORD my home airport for now: T5 is horrible in the sense that there's nothing there after security. Yeah, I understand most int'l departures aren't leaving from T5, but a couple of shops is not enough. T2E is small and long, without the ability for rapid access to the gate. Massive headache if many flights departing at once... you can't even use the hallway due to people clogging it. Great variety of aircraft, so I choose it over MDW. That said, most of the food joints in T2 are of poor quality, and expensive relatively 7/10

MDW: Not bad per se after the remodeling... TSA seems worse here than other places, though. The terminal itself seems kinda spartan, but there are enough amenities for the average passenger. The downside of MDW is that it's very boring for someone like me, as it's a sea of 737s with a CRJ or 319 here and there. 7/10

MCI: It's gotten OK now, free wi-fi, private security, so no TSA. Finally has restrooms in most gate areas (the horror of having no restrooms!). From the plane outside the airport in 2' without checked bags. Very basic amenities, though, and almost nothing after security. 7/10

ATL: A modern looking airport (the renovated terminals look really nice IMO), certainly improved from a few years back. Many amenities, even if not great quality offered. A bit difficult connecting from one concourse to another if you're not used to big airports. Great selection of aircraft, not bad overall, but nothing awe-inspiring for the average passenger. 8/10

CVG: A ghost-town nowadays, which brings its value down, but T3B is quite modern, clean. Obviously the variety of amenities is not that great, but it's a quiet, pleasant place to connect through... if you still can. 7/10.

MSP: Decent, lots of options for food... Lots of walking involved, though, layout can be a bit confusing. Not a great facility. 6/10

MEM: Small, crowded... Confusing layout in concourse B. Not that many amenities, but can't comment on the quality. My least favorite DL hub to connect at, one the five I frequent. 5/10

DEN: The main terminal seemed really nice when I connected there in late 2003. Probably the 2nd best airport in the US if nothing much changed. 8/10

LGA: Small, crowded and very delay prone. I used YX's (former) terminal, which is/was very poor. 5/10

DCA: Similar to LGA, but a bit better. Not much room, so everything feels crowded. A few amenities. 6/10

IAD: Not bad, but was a ghost town when I was there. Seemed modern enough (B-gates).

LAX: Don't remember too much, but it's one of the lower-end airports.
 
flymia
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:34 am

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 35):
DCA: Similar to LGA, but a bit better. Not much room, so everything feels crowded. A few amenities. 6/10

DCA is similar to LGA?? How is that besides for the old Terminal A I do not see how that is true. Much more modern with a pretty decent amount of amenities before security. After security there are no large shops but there is plenty to eat. Its a domestic airport lines are never long, it never feels crowded to me. I have flown in and out of DCA over 30 times.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
dc9northwest
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RE: Non-American Impressions Of American Airports

Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:43 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 36):

Well they're both city airports, so space is limited. That's why DCA feels crowded to me. While there are places to eat after security, it's not great since there's not much room (a food court without many tables). This is in terminal C, the gate area 35-45. Before security DCA is a fine airport, and it doesn't seem crowded at all. You're right in saying DCA is more modern. In fact, I could compare the DCA check-in area to MDW's, which is also pretty modern.

LGA has mostly contact gates, MDW does so in totality, whereas at least US still used numerous bus transfers for their CRJ ops at DCA when I was there.

That said, DCA is still above LGA overall, as it's much less delay-prone on average. And no other place can provide a landing right next to the largest office building on the planet.

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