As we all know, traveling abroad can either be a pleasant experience or a complete nightmare depending on what countries you choose for connecting flights. Whether it’s enjoying the comfort of taking a shower between flights in South Korea or feeling hopelessly confused in Paris, every airport has a unique culture. Here is our list of the best and worst airports in the world:
The Best Airports in the World
Changi International Airport – Singapore
Consistently ranked as the best airport in the world, Changi is hard to compete with. One of the few airports that has it all, Changi looks more like a modern-day shopping mall than an airport. This airport is so loaded with great amenities that one would almost need to schedule a 48 hour layover to experience it all.
Incheon International Airport – Seoul, South Korea
There is something extremely soothing about feeling totally exhausted after a 14 hour stretch and finding a big, plushy recliner in a quiet area to take a nap in. Incheon is one of the most pleasant and relaxing airports in the world. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap… yawn…
It also has great Korean food to eat, spas, gardens, and even an ice skating rink. Whether you are looking to rest between flights or have some time to kill, Incheon is a great airport for long layovers.
Hong Kong International Airport – Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong International Airport is new, big, and has great customer service. Like the airports in South Korea and Singapore, it has showers, free Wi-Fi and great places to rest. This airport has 24/7 pay-in lounges, 24/7 food and drink, and the largest 4D movie theatre in Asia.
The Worst Airports in the World
Murtala Muhammed International Airport – Lagos, Nigeria
While most major airports in Africa could top this list, the Nigerian airport in Lagos has consistently topped various polls as one of the worst airports in the world. With high crime rates, frequent flight delays, and horrendous security, this is one of the last places a person looking for a relaxing vacation would want go through.
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport – Manila, Philippines
The airport in Manila has an astounding number of issues. Besides the ceiling caving in 2011 and the lack of basic functions of an airport, crime rates are extremely high. Airport officials and staff have been known to make requests for bribes and vendors are untrustworthy. Manila is also one of the busiest airports in Asia with annual traffic over 31 million passengers, which translates into long queues and plenty of delays getting through the airport.
Kabul International Airport – Kabul, Afghanistan
While Afghanistan isn’t one of the top tourist destinations in the world (for obvious reasons), Kabul’s airport is definitely not one to look forward to. With long trip delays, Afghan citizens that have often never been on a plane before, and terrible customer service, this airport makes for quite the experience. It’s one of the few places in the world where it can take as long as two hours to get everyone seated on a plane (doesn’t help when many Afghans can’t read their boarding passes).
Charles De Gaulle – Paris, France
One of the most confusing and unintelligible airports, Charles De Gaulle is flat out weird in many ways. Imagine walking through a maze of tiny corridors to somehow miraculously find the next security check point. Imagine that this is one of four security check points and in the middle of the check points, there will be a big open area where only a small, poorly marked door off to the side will let you into the main terminal. It’s one of the few terminals where having a four hour layover is barely long enough to catch your next flight. Expect to do a lot of walking and expect to take a big sigh of relief when you finally make it onto your next flight. Don’t expect your bags to turn up at the other end either.
The final grievance against this airport is that finding normal food to eat is nearly impossible. With the exception of a McDonald’s off the beaten path, your next best bet is to find a small baguette shop that will charge you €6 for a less than average piece of bread.
Paris Beauvais – Paris, France
The worst part of this airport is that it closes and then kicks you out! From 11:30pm-6:30am, transit travelers will get kicked out of the airport by security and have to wait out in the cold until the airport re-opens the next day. Merci!
Sean Halvorson is an entrepreneur and the Marketing Director for Volunteer Card (www.volunteercard.com), a travel insurance provider. He enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures.
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