From harsh weather and difficult terrain to overcrowding, a fleet of airline pilots have revealed some of their least favorite airports in the world.
A Reddit post titled ‘Pilots, what is your least favorite airport?’ It quickly gained traction within the primarily US-based aviation community, with La Guardia in New York topping the list.
Explaining why La Guardia is disliked by many airmen, one pilot wrote: “It’s a real pain from 18,000 feet until you’re at the gate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The airport is full. The food sucks and is incredibly expensive. There are people everywhere. Is old.’
The Redditor added that leaving the airport was just as tedious, with queues on the tarmac and “complicated taxi instructions.”
A Reddit post titled ‘Pilots, what is your least favorite airport?’ quickly gained traction within the primarily US-based aviation community, with La Guardia jumping to the top of the thread
Chicago O’Hare International Airport criticized by pilot for ‘ridiculously long taxi experience’
Another airline captain agreed with these sentiments, adding that in addition to being “very congested,” La Guardia had “short runways,” which meant “you’re close to other planes and the ramp area is narrow.”
Its other nomination in the worst airport category was for Chicago for its “ridiculously long taxi experience.”
Another pilot in the conversation agreed with Chicago O’Hare International Airport as a leading contender.
He said of the transport hub: ‘Controllers forget to adjust the spacing between planes when the runways and taxiways are covered in ice.
“On the third turn in a day of flying, you want to strangle someone.”
On the other hand, he added: “Ground controllers are some of the best and can be very entertaining, which is good because you’ll be listening to them for a while.”
However, their vote for worst airport went to Southwest Oregon Regional Airport.
He wrote: ‘In my opinion there should be no airport here.
‘Any place where a single boat in the water could force you to kick half the passengers on the plane was not well planned.
‘It’s fun to put large amounts of golf clubs to fill the cargo compartment. Short runways and terrible instrument approaches.
He singled out Inyokern Airport in California as his second least favorite airport, as it has a “narrow runway in the middle of missile range.”
As a result of this, he says, “the entire airspace is closed for most of the day.” So if you’re late, plan for it to be six hours.
To make matters worse, he says the area is plagued by severe turbulence.
The pilot continued: ‘I had always heard of flights returning to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) due to severe turbulence, but I never experienced it until my sixth flight there.
“When we were at a 60-degree angle and the contents of my flight bag were scattered all over the cabin, I finally figured out what everyone was talking about.”
Like many other commenters, he also shared his distaste for the three largest airports: John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia and Newark, which serve New York.
Along with comments from other pilots, he says La Guardia is not favorable because “there is no train service from the airport to the city.”
In the case of Newark, New Jersey, he complained of tarmac delays, while in the case of JFK he said lines at customs could last up to “four hours,” making connecting flights difficult.
Other pilots complained that airports in New York and New Jersey were hampered by weather delays.
Similarly, another driver criticized Canada’s Toronto Pearson International for its temperamental weather.
They explained: ‘Yes, this airport is huge… but the moment it gets windy or even a millimeter of snow falls, the whole place turns to shit.’
One pilot highlighted Inyokern Airport in California as his second least favorite airport, as it has a “narrow runway in the middle of missile range.”
Other airports criticized in the thread include Florence airport in Italy for being “built in the worst possible location, directly in front of a high mountain.”
‘Cancellations and delays everywhere. Two days ago 200 flights were canceled due to a bit of wind.
‘Last week we landed five hours late due to some snow. When we landed, I counted at least 20 planes waiting at the gates, apparently some had been waiting for over two hours. Not to mention the landing fees are crazy.
Other airports criticized in the thread included Aspen/Pitkin County Airport for its complex terrain, Mexico City for being “too crowded,” and Florence Airport in Italy for being “built in the worst possible location, directly across from a high mountain.”
Interjecting with a neutral response to the conversation, one pilot reflected: ‘As an airline pilot, all I can say is that almost every airport has its ups and downs.
‘Airports that have challenging access often have stunning scenery to support them, and buried airports in metropolitan areas are often the easiest to get in and out of and have excellent services.
‘Even those with strange and complex procedures require greater awareness (and some interesting manual dexterity) to get things working well with an acceptable safety margin.
‘Honestly, I think “least favorite” airport mostly boils down to “what’s the most boring airport I’ve flown to, with the least redeeming qualities?”… but I’m struggling to think of any airport I’ve flown into. I didn’t like it, and I’ve been flying for almost a quarter of a century.
“Most of our objections, in the airline world, are usually due to the lack of services available at a given airport, bad hotels for overnight stays, crime or scary van drivers.”