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JLeslie's avatar

What are your favorite airports?

Asked by JLeslie (59798points) December 26th, 2015 from iPhone

Feel free to name more than one.

Is there a particular terminal you prefer at the airport?

A favorite restaurant, or way you pass the time away there?

Do you purposely arrive early, or schedule a long layover, because you like the airport?

What do you wish airports had that they usually don’t?

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26 Answers

Seek's avatar

For all the pain in the ass it is to get there and get out due to the constant road construction in the area, I love Tampa International. It’s easy to find your way around, it’s always clean, rarely overcrowded, and the restaurants are decent (had a nine hour delay on my trip to Toronto. Plane had a check engine light on or something. Don’t fly Air Canada).

I can’t imagine anyone spending extra time at any airport on purpose. I do usually end up there early, but that’s just out of sheer paranoia that there will be traffic/a huge crowd/elevators broken/whatever. I usually grab a coffee and read a book after getting through security.

What I wish they had that they normally don’t: COUCHES. Hard plastic chairs suuuuuuuuuuuck.

Seek's avatar

Oh, in contrast: least favourite airport is Puerto Rico. Nothing is clearly labeled in English, hallways lead to nowhere, and my Spanish-speaking skills are on par with the average Castillian two-year-old.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I like Tampa too. That’s one airport I sometimes arrive early and have a meal there. Plus, you get free wifi, I think all FL airports are free wifi. Also, the TSA agents are helpful and not weird.

Atlanta has some areas at the gates that have ottomans to put your feet up and end tables! I wish more airports had that. A place to put a soda. Atlanta also has a minute hotel beyond security in the gate area where I think you can rent a small room to catch a nap for a very short stay. Probably, as little as an hour? I don’t know. I just don’t like how massive Atlanta is, and too many delays, storms, and it’s just not my favorite.

Laguardia in the Delta terminal (I think it’s C?) by the gates has a lot of bar and table seating with iPads and you can order food and drink on the iPad and the waiter brings everything to you. It’s like one massive restaurant, but it’s fine not to order anything at all. No pressure. You can use the iPad for other internet stuff, or there is electrical outlets for your own gadgets.

Seek's avatar

Toronto has the iPad bar, too. I didn’t spend much time there, though. Barely made it through Customs in time to get on the plane.

JLeslie's avatar

The only negative is I think those iPads are full of germs. I like having plenty of tables and chairs though. I don’t like eating my bagel sitting in the middle of a row of chairs eating cocktail style with nowhere to put my drink down.

Seek's avatar

Ah. I tend not to worry much about germs. Build up the ol’ immune system however you can.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Good question. I’m struggling to think which airports I’ve stopped and thought “Man, this is a great airport” and why.

San Francisco did make me think that, but I suspect it was partly the approach and the design of the buildings.

I liked O’Hare a lot, mainly because of how easy it was to connect to the rest of the city, without any “walk 20 minutes this way, cross a highway, wait in a place that looks dangerous” nonsense. I had another friend tell me recently that she hated O’Hare because it was hard to navigate, but I didn’t experience that at all. I found the staff very friendly.

Most of what I appreciate in an airport is the ease of getting from gate to gate for connecting flights. The absolute worst that I’ve experienced have been Heathrow and Pearson (i.e., Toronto). Pearson also has incredibly shitty customer service. It’s my most hated airport, and I’ll avoid it as hard as a connection through the US if I can.

Some airports have a lot of fussy connections between gates (underground trains/shuttle buses, etc.), but if they are fast and efficient (and easy to figure out), I don’t mind any of that. Zurich is that way, and there’s another I’ve experienced that can’t think of off the top of my head.

Teeny tiny airports can be fun – you never get lost, and people are nice. The Calgary airport is so small (for a city) that it can’t help but be incredibly straightforward, though the décor is a bit hokey. There’s always a trade-off, I guess.

Restaurants in airports are universally terrible. I avoid them when possible, unless I can’t plug in my laptop at the gate. Okay, you might have a shot at some decent food in a teeny tiny airport.

I almost never arrive early; I’m that person whose scarf is flapping wildly behind as I run from check-in to security to gate, muttering and cursing the whole way.

Zaku's avatar

The Oahu airport is very nice, with lovely open-air gardens to pass the time in past security.

Seek's avatar

Flamingo Airport on Bonaire is smaller than some houses I’ve been in, and is basically open to the air. It’s kind of a bright pink gazebo with a divider and a few ticket booths. Haha.

flutherother's avatar

I am ambivalent about airports. On the one hand I find them bland and boring and very similar to one another and on the other hand they are exciting because you are travelling to new countries with new experiences and new people. The airport that most impressed me was Dubai but at the other extreme I love Barra where planes land on a beach.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Aiports are usually places I want to avoid. They’re places to move through as quickly and efficiently as possible.

However, Hong Kong airport was very organised. The train system to get you into the airport and out is excellent.

New York was another really organised airport. They have an excellent information system and it’s really easy to organise to get on a bus to your hotel. Very well managed.

Vancouver was quite a pretty airport. And I liked the lounge in Helsinki. Singapore has good shopping and is huge.

jca's avatar

I think the only airport I’ve been in within the past few years is Orlando. I live near some major airports but don’t spend time there. I’ve been in others but more than ten years ago, so my guess is they’ve probably been updated since. Orlando was more shopping opportunities. As far as restaurants in any airport, if I get a sandwich and a soda from a shop I am happy to eat it in the waiting area by the gate.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Which NY airport? Kennedy?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Call me when the worst airport question is vetted.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly I was just thinking about that. You can ask it. Go ahead.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was mulling it over, and mid process realized that constant complaining is exhausting work. Worse, there is virtually no aspect of commercial air travel nowadays that I don’t thoroughly despise. The entire process is one perfect metaphor for the decline in quality of life.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I was at the Singapore airport maybe 15 years ago, and really hated it. They had wall to wall carpet that ran up the walls, and in that humidity it just meant that everything reeked of mold. And then all the “Drugs = Death” signs everywhere were a bit unsettling… it’s a good thing I had Australia to look forward to!

jaytkay's avatar

Long Beach and La Guardia.

Long Beach is a fantastic alternative to LAX. It’s relatively tiny. The remote parking is about a 5-minute shuttle ride from the terminal.

When my brother worked in NYC, I would fly into the Laguardia Terminal A. It’s an Art Deco beauty, built to accommodate the flying boats used for overseas flights in the 1930s.

Old photo w/seaplane

How To Leave New York via 1940: Scouting LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal

OpryLeigh's avatar

Reno Tahoe International is my favourite.. It’s small enough to be easy to navigate but big enough to fly to and from a variety of destinations.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@dappled_leaves, I didn’t say it was pretty. It does have good shopping and it is huge. Depends what constitutes ‘favourite’ really. I struggled to list any. So I went with things that might make an airport appealing. Getting in and especially out is a major plus for me.

We were in Singapore a few months ago. No mold. Still carpeted as I recall (I was a bit tired). Huge and hard to find your way around. I don’t remember the signs. I’m sure they are still there but I must have blanked them.

@JLeslie, yes it was JFK. As people coming in who had no idea where to go, the information service was super helpful. We walked up, they booked us on a bus to our hotel, and off we went. Very impressive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Nice to hear. A few mayors of the city in the past made serious efforts to ensure newcomers into the airports received accurate ground transportation information, and had very little chance of being ripped off by taxis and other transport. They capped fares into Manhattan, and some other best practices to be helpful. The truth is, public transportation has always been helpful as long as I can remember in NY. From the subway, to the buses, and all the information centers.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

It was a fabulous start to our visit to New York. I think other cities could follow the example there. In contrast, we flew into Heathrow and went to the info desk to find out about getting transport to our hotel. The options offered were horrendously expensive. We should have organised it in advance, but for some reason hadn’t. We ended up having to get our phones out and Googled a company we’d seen an ad for. They turned up in about five minutes, took us to our hotel, and cost us half as much as the service offered at the info desk. The people on the desk were friendly, but not terribly interested in making sure we got the right info and weren’t ripped off.

dxs's avatar

Tampa was awesome for the free wifi. They also play good music and there’s always a quiet place to sit down. I also like how the terminals are organized with all the separate islands.

For Logan, I love how unorganized it is. I also like those small outdated sections that you pass through.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve never been to Logan. I keep saying I’m going to get to Boston, and never have.

jca's avatar

I’m in Boston as we speak but we drove up. 3 hour ride. When possible, traveling by car is so much simpler.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I liked Boston and its airport!

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