The 6 worst airports in the world

Talking travel in the Pilot Productions and Globe Trekker office, as we often do, the topic of “worst airports in the world” came up. We started to compose our own list of destinations that might be absolutely fine if you could simply bypass the international airport, but as our debate wore on, we decided to call in outside expert opinion on the matter…

That’s when Chris Guillebeau told us he’d happily share his top list.

Chris is no stranger to travel, indeed his latest best-seller, The Happiness of Pursuit, is a beautifully written tale of travel and adventure, and about all the inspiring people he meets along the road on his ultimate quest; a quest, no less, than a mission to travel to every country on the globe!

We think he probably knows a thing or two about airports by now.


Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

Every traveller has fond memories of Paris… that are not inspired by its monstrosity of an airport. When in doubt, fly to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) or Brussels (BRU).

Baghdad International Airport (BGW)

For years, the airport was the most popular attraction in Baghdad—because everyone was trying to leave. Sadly, it’s not at all better now.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Houston, Texas

Worst major airport in the U.S. Yes, everyone usually mentions Miami International Airport (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX), but those are improving while IAH remains stuck in the dark ages. Better bring survival gear! And then be prepared to pay US$60 for a taxi, since it’s far from the city.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Canada’s great, but the country’s largest airport is unwelcoming and dirty. Add an extra 30 minutes to whatever connection time you’d normally plan for—and prepare to spend those extra 30 minutes in misery.

Worst Airports in the World YYZ

Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (DKR) in Dakar, Senegal

I spent the night before my penultimate country visit (192/193) attempting to sleep on the floor of this airport. When I wasn’t getting hounded for bribes, a swarm of mosquitoes kept me company. Not recommended.

Worst airports in the world DKR

Manchester Airport (MAN)

Everyone loves to complain about Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW), but the UK’s third largest airport is worse. Definitely avoid it when you can, especially if you have a connection.

Do you agree or disagree with Chris’ list; what makes your own list? Drop us a line on FACEBOOK or TWITTER with your opinion.

Images courtesy the following photographers via Flickr Creative Commons:

Compiled by Sarah Blinco