For Your Business Trip — Published December 03, 2019 | 9 minute read
Worst Large Airports
#5: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
(Tie - Ranked Alphabetically)
What makes it so bad? New Orleans is one of the most vibrant cities in the United States, and its airport...is not. Unimpressive, drab decor disappoints passengers, an ironic display for a place named after a jazz legend. On top of that, finding a place to charge your phone or laptop is almost impossible.
1-Star Yelp Review: "This airport is a Senior Citizen amongst the other airports in the country, which doesn't make sense considering the sheer volume of tourists, business travelers, and conferences that are held here."
What you can do: This is the airport to catch up on reading (i.e. bury your head in a book to avoid looking at your surroundings). Bring an extra battery pack if your phone runs low, or simply make sure everything is charged before you depart.
#4: Philadelphia International Airport
(Tie - Ranked Alphabetically)
What makes it so bad? Do you find Philadelphians to be rude? Well, the airport staff, according to passengers, reinforces that stereotype. A smile and nod go a long way in easing the stress of traveling, but you may not get that here. If that’s not enough to make for a poor experience, the slow Wi-Fi is regrettable for an airport the size of PHL.
1-Star Yelp Review: "Some people are nice, but it is a 50/50 chance you get rude TSA and dirty dirty bathrooms. They seem to have plenty of employees walking around (slowly doing very little except laughing and chatting with each other) but how can the airport staff be so mean for the city of brotherly love."
What you can do: Understand that your interpretation of “rude” may be different. Philadelphians, if you speak directly and show respect, will return respect. They won’t be welcoming per se, but their negative reputation is overblown. As far as slow Wi-Fi, there are several great lounges at PHL that include fast internet, such as the American Express Centurion and Minute Suites, where you can nap or watch Netflix.
#3: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
What makes it so bad? Ronald Reagan National Airport struggles to accommodate the number of passengers who travel through. This results in an over-crowded feeling and long lines for food and bathrooms. Many of the complaints center on the Southwest Airlines area in particular.
1-Star Yelp Review: "Terminal A of Reagan is horrible. It's always crowded, dirty, and never enough seats. The design is asinine too- chairs too close to SW boarding area. Two words sum it up: Airport Hell."
What you can do: Don’t fly Southwest here, even if it means spending more money on a different airline. And before you head to the airport, take care of business: Use the restroom; eat a good meal.
#2: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu)
What makes it so bad? You won’t have to worry about the flight in. After all, you are going to Hawaii. The flight out, though, can be a slog. TSA is a maze, and if you check a bag, you’ll need extra time to have it screened by the Department of Agriculture. The open-air style makes for some uncomfortable heat at times, as well. And the staff (see below), apparently, isn’t the friendliest group.
1-Star Yelp Review: "It is rather remarkable that an island (and city) with such a massive revenue in tourism would allow their airport to fall into such a state of disrepair. Most airport staff seem uninterested and unwilling to support you (and if they do they're surely not enthusiastic about it)."
What you can do: Take lots of pictures on your trip. Should you get caught in an unpleasant line, scroll through to remind yourself you have it pretty good. Also, wear lightweight clothing to stay cool at the airport and pack a sweater for the long flight back to the mainland.
#1: LaGuardia Airport
What makes it so bad? Updates can never match the frequency of travel. It’s a smaller airport that still attracts a large number of visitors based on its location. Those two qualities led to nightmare scenarios in the summer of 2019, when storms affected flights and traffic jams leading into the airport had passengers walking along the highway to get to their gates on time.
1-Star Yelp Review: "Maybe because it's under construction, but, it is very difficult to get around in this airport. I was dropped of at the wrong terminal (D) and it took over 45 minutes to get to terminal B, there was no walking there, you had to take the shut[t]le. The traffic going in and out of the airport is super congested as well.”
What you can do: Allow yourself as much extra time to get to the airport as possible. Once you’re there, a pass to one of LaGuardia’s seven lounges is probably worth it.