DeltaXNA
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Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:05 am

Which airport is the best design for a hub?

My top 3 would be:

ATL (this airport was designed with the word hub in mind)

DFW (designed for O/D at a time when hubs weren't around, but with skylink it has become an excellent hub airport)

PHX (Terminal 4 is a very large terminal, but easy to navigate and just a good terminal for a hub airline (or 2)
 
HT
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:59 am

In the end there are a few factors that play a rôle here, leaving terrain, prevailing winds, and other such factors aside:.
- Total number of pax to handle.
- Share of connecting pax.
- Total number of flights to handle.

Quoting DeltaXNA (Thread starter):
Which airport is the best design for a hub?

When looking at the U.S. only, my vote goes for DEN.
Concourses neatly aligned with sufficient space between them to allow pushbacks and taxing simultaneously.
Distances from one end of a concourse to the end of another concourse managable (for connecting pax).
A nice pedestrian bridge spanning an active taxiway (even meanwhile too low for some aircraft types).
Plenty of runways with a layout that allow multiple simultaneous and independet ops.

And what s important for arriving international pax: No need to clear security again just to exit the airport (like at ATL in earlier times, or at MEM).

Option to build another terminal to the north of the concourses, to allow for a split of passenger traffic to/from the airport (similar to ATL's *new* international terminal to the east of the field).
-HT
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dc9northwest
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:13 pm

Perhaps ICN or SIN? Those get high marks.

Maybe AMS in Europe. OSL seems well designed too; HEL as well.

Definitely not the old CDG 

In the USA? Err... DTW and DEN.
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:50 pm

MUC would definitely have my vote. I can't speak for AMS as it's my homebase so I never transfer here.

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1337Delta764
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:57 pm

My picks are ATL and DEN. ATL started the trend of parallel concourses, and DEN continued it.

[Edited 2013-11-12 08:00:54]
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HT
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:53 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Maybe AMS in Europe.

Connecting between the very extremely located gates easily can require a walk of 30 minutes, plus a passport check Schengen to non-Schengen resp. passport check & new security check on the reverse.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Perhaps ICN or SIN? Those get high marks.
ICN has been built from scratch in an open landscape And, yes, it is okay for connecting pax if you have got a BP for your onward flight. If not, the transfer counter is located in an area which can only be reached if you have got a BP. Sounds weird, and it is weird, but the number of pax finding themselves in this awkward situation is not small. Then try to persuade a South Korean guard who do not speak / understand the necessary English.

SIN gets praised by many for its interior, but the overall layout meanwhile is spoiled by the each addition of a building.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Definitely not the old CDG 

Neither is the "new" CDG, which would be Terminal 2 with its 7+ concourses (including 2G on the far side of the field, although connecting within T2G is a breeze).

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
OSL seems well designed too; HEL as well.
OSL yes, but it is in a lower category in terms of pax served. With even more pax, the single terminal/concourse concept will hit its capacity borders, requiring an addition (plans are in place for that).

HEL ? Okay, single concourse, but still hefty walking from one end to the other (to intercontinental gates) Add to that 3 check-in halls with like 1 km from one end to the other. I had the *pleasure* to roam these (landside) for several hours between flights last winter.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 3):
MUC would definitely have my vote.

Passenger traffic routing in MUC T1 is weird to say the least.
And T2 currently is overcrowded at peak times (and some off-peak times).
Intercontinental flights arriving having to use remote stands (LH !) as too few stands at the current terminal are available mean a big mess in the then-to-use inbound security check for everyone, including pax staying in MUC.
Things will improve once the satellite building is ready; until then I avoid non-Schengen to Schengen connections at MUC T2 (unless there are more than 2 hours to make the connection).

LHR, OTOH, is on its way to become a good airport for flight connections once the midfield has been rebuilt. Unfortunately, the number of pax connecting at LHR likely will decline as LHR will be forced to serve more and more O&D traffic.

In its league WAW allows for easy connections.

BER anyone ? ROFL !
-HT

EDIT:
Forgot one:
All lessons learned for large-volume hub airports are supposed to have flown into the design of DWC (Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum Intl). Time will tell.

[Edited 2013-11-12 08:58:15]

[Edited 2013-11-12 09:00:02]
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AirbusGeek
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:49 pm

For me it is CLT, the atrium is so airy and light! However the walk down concourse E is like walking through the actual city of Charlotte.

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dc9northwest
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:52 pm

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
Neither is the "new" CDG, which would be Terminal 2 with its 7+ concourses (including 2G on the far side of the field, although connecting within T2G is a breeze).

Old CDG I meant 2A thru 2D alongside T1.

T2E-F-G is an improvement (then again it's hard to not be an improvement over 2A-2D  ).

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
Connecting between the very extremely located gates easily can require a walk of 30 minutes, plus a passport check Schengen to non-Schengen resp. passport check & new security check on the reverse.

You're right about the security at gate concept; it kinda sucks. That said, no buses between different terminals (you get buses to the Fokker Farm, though) which is a *big* plus. It's good for intra-Schengen connections, however.

It's hard to have only "not long" walking distances in a large hub...

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
ICN has been built from scratch in an open landscape And, yes, it is okay for connecting pax if you have got a BP for your onward flight. If not, the transfer counter is located in an area which can only be reached if you have got a BP.

Well, it's true, I've never connected there; however it definitely seems like a well-designed airport. Interesting about that "quirk"...

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
OSL yes, but it is in a lower category in terms of pax served. With even more pax, the single terminal/concourse concept will hit its capacity borders, requiring an addition (plans are in place for that).

True; they will build a satellite building soon.

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
HEL ? Okay, single concourse, but still hefty walking from one end to the other (to intercontinental gates) Add to that 3 check-in halls with like 1 km from one end to the other. I had the *pleasure* to roam these (landside) for several hours between flights last winter.

Finland in winter does sound like a pleasure. Luckily I used OLCI when I flew out of HEL. I don't remember walking distances being that long but again, Schengen only for me.

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
In its league WAW allows for easy connections.

Except it looks very depressing (only gates and toilets in the area where I departed from). The machines giving you wi-fi codes are very customer unfriendly. The security people also customer unfriendly... I don't rate WAW highly (though for intra-Schengen it's probably not bad).

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
BER anyone ? ROFL !

Well, I've been to TXL recently and while I haven't explored the whole thing, I've never been more confused in an airport  Hm, OK, maybe in CDG the first time... BER is certainly needed.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:55 pm

I give marks to MUC and SIN, both very easy to connect though.

If staying in the same terminal, LHR (T5) and MAD (T4S) are both very easy.

Thanks to the small terminal, connecting in DOH is generally quite easy. Arrivals from some destinations (e.g. LHR) don't need to go through security, so you can be off the bus and at the new gate in just 1-2 minutes. However, the bussing to/from the plane, and the way over crowded terminal isn't nice.

FRA is a complete nightmare, every time it stresses me out. HEL would be ok as the distances are short, but it's too busy for the security check points inbound from Asia connecting to Europe.

Many years ago, the mini AF hub in CFE was great. Shame it didn't last! Connecting in CDG is as bad as FRA.
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kenanc
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:27 pm

I would say DFW. As an often O&D passenger, it is really all around great experience. I can park my car up to the terminal and I am steps away from check-in and security. Also, the remote/express parking areas are great too, they have a consistent shuttle service to the airport and they even pick you up from your parking spot  . It is so easy to navigate, the surrounding areas clearly mark how to get there as well is navigating to the terminals and such. Then there is the Skylink that makes for easy connections. Another thing that I love about the design is the fact they have an out of security shuttle service between terminals, so in high loads often in the holiday breaks and such, you can head over to a less dense terminal and go through security. And trust me, it is something I am thankful for, without that, I would practically miss about a quarter of the flights I book out of there. Anyways, DFW is the best in overall design in my opinion.
 
N243NW
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:30 am

Quoting KenanC (Reply 9):
I would say DFW.

I'm biased since I live here, but I do agree that DFW has some very nice attributes for both connecting and O&D pax. The capacity of the airport alone is impressive, with the ability to have 4 arrival runways and 2 departure runways in use simultaneously.
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Coal
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:33 am

No US airport deserves to be on this list given you cannot connect from int'l to int'l without going through immigration and customs.

SIN and HKG for sure. Excellent connection timings, great shopping and dining, easy access to all gates (though not to the old budget terminal at SIN and apparently neither will it be to the new T4).

IST is not bad, although a little crowded.

Cheers
Coal
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malioil
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:41 pm

People may think I'm crazy, but I've generally found LHR T5 to be a very pleasant experience. Then again save for the odd occasion I have usually transited EDI-LHR-International destination so my milage may vary from someone coming in from outside the UK.
 
SA7700
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:26 pm

USA:

Denver
Atlanta


Europe:

Munich
Amsterdam
Zurich


Asia:

Hong Kong


Regards,

SA7700
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jetblueguy22
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:02 pm

Quoting Coal (Reply 11):
No US airport deserves to be on this list given you cannot connect from int'l to int'l without going through immigration and customs.

Although you are correct, the international to international connecting traffic is much lower so it isn't much of a concern. Flying JFK-LHR and then connecting onto say BRU is far more common than say LHR-JFK and onto YYZ.

Best connecting airports in the US imo would be:
ATL-Big but easy to navigate
DTW-If you get lost in DTW you shouldn't be traveling alone.

I'd like to throw MSP into that list, but navigating through there can be a little confusing unless you are connecting from/to concourse A,B, or C.
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daviation
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:51 pm

I have to agree with the above:

United States - ATL and DTW have been my best experiences. PHL the worst. HNL is very good too, although rather limited.

Europe: I've only used CDG and LHR as O&D points, so I can't say if a transfer is convenient. I found LHR to be perfectly fine; CDG to be an endless walk in circles.

FRA is one of the worst traveling experiences I've ever suffered through; everything from parking on the tarmac because of no available gates, endless walks between terminals, walking out of the secure area and then having to manage security all over again, lack of facilities for handicapped passengers, lack of washrooms in the old terminal. Maybe FRA has improved since I was last there in 2010.
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Coal
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:17 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 14):
Although you are correct, the international to international connecting traffic is much lower so it isn't much of a concern. Flying JFK-LHR and then connecting onto say BRU is far more common than say LHR-JFK and onto YYZ.

Of course, it is not common to have more international to international connections in the US precisely because it is such a hassle to go through immigration and customs, not to mention most people need a visa. That was my whole point. As such, I don't think US airport should be considered good hubs at all in the first place.

MIA could be such a great place for Europe > Latin America traffic to transit through. LAX could be a great place for East Asia > Latin America traffic as well.

Cheers
Coal
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baldwin471
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:37 am

Probably ICN or HKG for me. Both bloody fantastic airports. I'd say ICN just tops it, though.
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:42 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 14):
DTW-If you get lost in DTW you shouldn't be traveling alone

Good one!  

Both ATL and DTW have the advantage in that they were designed as hubs.
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Viscount724
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:56 am

In Europe AMS is by far my preferred connecting hub and has been for decades. Everything in one building and excellent signage. Impossible to get lost.

MUC and ZRH are also good but they both have the disadvantage of more than one terminal, counting the E pier at ZRH used by almost all longhaul flights, which requires an underground train trip to/from the main terminal. As long as you're connecting between LH and othe Star Alliance carriers, MUC is as good as AMS, but it's geographical location isn't as good for most of my usual destinations.

Hubs I do my best to avoid: LHR and CDG.
 
mcg
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:01 am

DEN in the US, really easy airport to use. The only negative is that it is a long way from most do Denver. I really like ZRH in Europe. It's comfortable and clean, very easy to use. I like ZRH a lot.
 
JMGRIFFIN
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:43 pm

I'm been flying through ATL a lot recently and it has really been growing on me, even with a short layover you can easily fly into A or B terminals, pop over to F to check out the Delta SkyClub and then be back at A or B for a flight. It's really easy to get around and navigate even when "busy" or "crowded" (because when is it not?).
 
jumpjets
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:53 am

Have just come back from a trip to the far east connecting through SIN changing terminals both ways. It was easy, efficient and quick - so made my short connections with plenty of time to spare - even allowing my travelling companion time for a quick ciggie in the smoking room.

The only gripe I had was that on the way home the Airtrain between T2 and T3 wasn't functioning properly and only one of the two coaches on the train was available to passengers - and so it was a bit of a scrum trying to get on to the train.

I know SIN rates highly as an airport and I would put it up there in the top places to connect - but as you can see not even the best are always perfect.
 
flyerboy1990
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:18 pm

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Perhaps ICN or SIN? Those get high marks.
ICN has been built from scratch in an open landscape And, yes, it is okay for connecting pax if you have got a BP for your onward flight. If not, the transfer counter is located in an area which can only be reached if you have got a BP. Sounds weird, and it is weird, but the number of pax finding themselves in this awkward situation is not small. Then try to persuade a South Korean guard who do not speak / understand the necessary English.

Sooo true...

While it is a very beautiful airport, I found it incredibly confusing. We deplaned and were unable to understand exactly where we were to go to spend our layover. We ended up going through a small side-room security check. Then, we wondered how to get our next boarding passes. After much frustration, we finally found out that we were to go to the transfer counters for the boarding passes (after passing it many times).

Is the transfer counter thing common elsewhere? Maybe we were confused because we haven't traveled internationally very much.
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BoeingMerica
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:54 pm

Quoting HT (Reply 1):

A lot of what you describe is ATL as well. Both well designed airports. With TLH as my home airport, and previously DAY, I have used ATL a ton, and I love traveling through there.

Last time I was traveling back to Ohio, going TLH-ATL-DAY my flight gate got bumped due to a delayed departure to the F gate next to the boarding evening flight to Johannesburg. It was cool to see the worlds soon to be longest nonstop flight to board, taxi and take off! I was back in ATL and TLH before the bird had made its way back to ATL!

Anyway, enough with my childish curiosity and rant.

ATL is a great airport to travel through!

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AR385
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:27 am

My top three would be:

BRU
DFW
SCL

SCL is great, and DFW has good interterminal transport.
 
AM777LR
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:55 am

IAH has mine. DFW was too big along with ATL.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Most Well Designed Hub Airport

Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:45 pm

Quoting DeltaXNA (Thread starter):

My top 3 would be:

ATL (this airport was designed with the word hub in mind)

DFW (designed for O/D at a time when hubs weren't around, but with skylink it has become an excellent hub airport)

PHX (Terminal 4 is a very large terminal, but easy to navigate and just a good terminal for a hub airline (or 2)

DTW wins hands-down. The main concourse is a long single building. There is an underground tunnel to an ancillary regional terminal that is identical in general layout. There are three tram stops all of which are within a short walk of all gates. It's possible to connect all the way from one end of the terminal (it must be at least 1.5 miles long) quickly and conveniently without having to run.

For passengers with longer connections, there are ample lounge areas within the main terminal in addition to a wide variety of restaurant choices that reflect local character (Max & Erma's) while others cater to passengers arriving from and departing to far-flung lands. Generally, the terminal also is pretty good about having electrical outlets available for passengers wanting to charge devices.

For O&D it's mostly a good setup. My only issue is that the rental car shuttle pick-up/drop-off area is pretty hostile to disabled passengers (I once had to navigate it on crutches and it wasn't fun, especially because there wasn't a single member of airport personnel around to help). Because the airport was completed post-9/11, the security facilities are mostly adequate to demand.

Before the Midfield terminal, DTW was a cobbled-together hodgepodge of various buildings that were clearly meant to have been temporary. The C concourse was especially dreaded and could take 20 minutes from check-in to gate, even with no line at security. Today's DTW is a modern, beautiful, passenger-friendly hub airport and I am always happy to connect there if a connection is needed.
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