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Least Favourite Airport


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I've not used Heathrow in a few years, but back when I was a regular visitor to the UK I was usually in T3, since that's where American landed, and it was permanently in a state of construction. Nonetheless Heathrow is easy to get in and out of, and for that reason it's streets ahead of both LaGuardia and JFK.

LAX is my least favorite until the new transport infrastructure is in place. Takes forever to get in and out of, not enough security checkpoints. Admittedly I've never used the international terminal, which I hear is quite good. If you're flying domestically in the US and going to LA, I recommend Long Beach, Burbank, or Santa Ana. 

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Brussels South Charleroi. The current terminal was only built around 2010 and is already way too small for the volume of traffic. It's in the middle of nowhere so getting to it by public transport is difficult (for me it's two trains and bus). All-in-all it's just horrible. Within reason, I'm happy to pay more to travel to and from the main Brussels airport in Zaventem which is actually pretty good and has excellent public transport links (15 minute train ride for me).

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I was in Heathrow T5 for a five hour layover when I posted this yesterday.   My original flight got cancelled which meant that I had to reschedule both legs of the journey at short notice, and my two hour layover then became five.  It was mobbed, full of people wandering about aimlessly trying to kill time because, they had time to kill.  All the shops seem to be be selling overpriced suitcases and London/Big Ben/Red Bus tourist tat, all the bars/eating places are stowed out and you cant even get a burger unless its a Gordon Ramsay/Jamie Oliver concoction for three times the price.  I mean, whats wrong with just having a Burger King?  Amsterdam has one and it works a treat.

To make matters worse, they have a 'quiet zone' next to the A gates which is anything but fucking quiet.  It was full of Airport workers of one particular ethnicity on their phones speaking too fucking loud and irritating the life out of normal passengers just trying to get a bit of peace.

 

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3 hours ago, LargsTON said:

I was going to say Heathrow by a country mile until I travelled from Leeds Bradford a couple of years ago.  A horrible place. 

Used to use that one quite frequently. It always felt like it was down a cul-de-sac on a random street. Very maze-like and cramped. But it was cheap. 

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Manchester is a fucking maze. Last time I flew out of Charleoi was 2001 after my first Scotland away game and the terminal reminded me of Buchanan Bus Station.

 Flying from there on Monday, great.

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21 minutes ago, Toby said:

Manchester is a fucking maze. Last time I flew out of Charleoi was 2001 after my first Scotland away game and the terminal reminded me of Buchanan Bus Station.

 Flying from there on Monday, great.

You know what I hate? Airports where you have to go through a second security to get to the gate area, and there's nothing in there except maybe a vending machine if you're lucky. Some of this is imposed - for example the US requires this of most countries that fly there. But some airports do that for all flights and it's incredibly annoying. 

Beijing did not only this but confiscated the cans of sparkling water I'd brought for my 15 and a fucking half hour flight. 

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7 hours ago, Toby said:

Manchester is a fucking maze. Last time I flew out of Charleoi was 2001 after my first Scotland away game and the terminal reminded me of Buchanan Bus Station.

 Flying from there on Monday, great.

Nae luck mate. There's a new(ish) terminal there now, but still way too wee for the number or people using it. Always mobbed, and there's like one bar, a bookshop/newsagent, and a cafe/restaurant. The only good thing I can say about it is the long-term parking rates are very cheap compared to major airports, which is needed as the public transport links are shite. Good luck on Monday mate, thoughts and prayers and all that. 🤞

Having said that, it's a good number of years since I've actually flown from there for all the reasons mention above, so it might have improved. Wouldn't bank on it though.

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1 hour ago, TRVMP said:

You know what I hate? Airports where you have to go through a second security to get to the gate area, and there's nothing in there except maybe a vending machine if you're lucky. Some of this is imposed - for example the US requires this of most countries that fly there. But some airports do that for all flights and it's incredibly annoying. 

Beijing did not only this but confiscated the cans of sparkling water I'd brought for my 15 and a fucking half hour flight. 

Had an experience like that flying to San Francisco via Montreal with Air Canada. If you have a connecting flight to US you actually go through American customs at the airport and into an 'American' departure lounge with hee-haw in it except a couple of shops selling electrical gadgets and a stupidly overpriced bar populated mostly by American business wankers on expense accounts. Not a big issue if it's a short stop-over but our flight was delayed 6 hours so we had 8 hours there.

I had forgotten about that, so I now nominate Montreal airport American departure lounge as the worst. 

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27 minutes ago, Cet Homme Charmant said:

Edinburgh airport's a bit shite as well. Not the worst by any means, but it is a bit shabby here and there.

It's a good bit better than Glasgow though.  We've all got a bit of a fondness for it because it's 'our' local airport, but to be frank - its shite.  The waiting area is way too small for its requirements, and the lounges are dreadful.  I was in the 'Aspire' Lounge yesterday and the food on offer was like prison food, and there wasn't a salad leaf to be seen. They are also limiting passengers to four drinks per person too. I wish I went to Burger King instead.

 

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2 hours ago, Toby said:

Manchester is a fucking maze. Last time I flew out of Charleoi was 2001 after my first Scotland away game and the terminal reminded me of Buchanan Bus Station.

 Flying from there on Monday, great.

Last time I was in Charleroi was in 2008, the thing i remember about it was the Duty Free Aftershaves were good and cheap too.

2 hours ago, TRVMP said:

You know what I hate? Airports where you have to go through a second security to get to the gate area, and there's nothing in there except maybe a vending machine if you're lucky. Some of this is imposed - for example the US requires this of most countries that fly there. But some airports do that for all flights and it's incredibly annoying. 

Beijing did not only this but confiscated the cans of sparkling water I'd brought for my 15 and a fucking half hour flight. 

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is like that too.  Also, for all the money they've spent on it, they never put travelators in which means walking for miles to the departure gates.  Not all trains serve both terminals either, which means having to get off at one terminal to wait for another train to come along which serves the other terminal.  Also, for an airport which is predominantly served by the low cost carriers - Easyjet & Ryanair - their retail offering is aiming at the expensive suitcase clientele which is doomed to failure.  The old Schonefeld Airport which it replaced was nothing fancy, but it done the job and was better than this one.  And it had a Burger King airside too.

 

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2 hours ago, Cet Homme Charmant said:

Had an experience like that flying to San Francisco via Montreal with Air Canada. If you have a connecting flight to US you actually go through American customs at the airport and into an 'American' departure lounge with hee-haw in it except a couple of shops selling electrical gadgets and a stupidly overpriced bar populated mostly by American business wankers on expense accounts. Not a big issue if it's a short stop-over but our flight was delayed 6 hours so we had 8 hours there.

I had forgotten about that, so I now nominate Montreal airport American departure lounge as the worst. 

At least it had something. At Heathrow you can get stuck in a place with an ice cream vending machine and nothing else.

I don't altogether blame the airports because it's the US that requires this level of quarantine, although I'm told that Singapore does it at all gates, which seems ludicrous.

1 hour ago, capitanus said:

Last time I was in Charleroi was in 2008, the thing i remember about it was the Duty Free Aftershaves were good and cheap too.

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is like that too.  Also, for all the money they've spent on it, they never put travelators in which means walking for miles to the departure gates.  Not all trains serve both terminals either, which means having to get off at one terminal to wait for another train to come along which serves the other terminal.  Also, for an airport which is predominantly served by the low cost carriers - Easyjet & Ryanair - their retail offering is aiming at the expensive suitcase clientele which is doomed to failure.  The old Schonefeld Airport which it replaced was nothing fancy, but it done the job and was better than this one.  And it had a Burger King airside too.

It's an ongoing and persistent myth that the Germans are good at infrastructure. They've been getting steadily worse at it for decades and although I've not yet flown in, BER looks like a bit of a nightmare.

Frankfurt airport, considering it's Germany's flagship, is a total joke, for example.

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I used to fly a lot for work two jobs ago. Flew for the first time in four years last month. I’d genuinely forgotten how grim an experience flying is. 
 

 

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

 

George Bernard Shaw

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Ach! if you're in any airport it means you're going somewhere or coming back from somewhere and even though they all sell overpriced and usually not great quality beer and food, we still buy it.

That said, LAX and Charleroi are both holes, possibly flying to Charleroi 3 weeks on Tuesday for Stevie Nicks in Antwerp. we'll see.

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7 hours ago, TRVMP said:

At least it had something. At Heathrow you can get stuck in a place with an ice cream vending machine and nothing else.

I don't altogether blame the airports because it's the US that requires this level of quarantine, although I'm told that Singapore does it at all gates, which seems ludicrous.

It's an ongoing and persistent myth that the Germans are good at infrastructure. They've been getting steadily worse at it for decades and although I've not yet flown in, BER looks like a bit of a nightmare.

Frankfurt airport, considering it's Germany's flagship, is a total joke, for example.

Frankfurt, although not perfect is better than both Berlin Brandenburg and Munich though.  

I was flying back home from Munich to Glasgow last saturday and forgot until I was doing the online check-in that I had an extra leg Munich>Frankfurt then onto Heathrow then Glasgow.  The first flight was delayed which meant that connecting flight was going to be very tight if at all possible.  I had to run the length of the terminal at Frankfurt, then bypass the lifts to the floor to the gates where the flight was leaving from, only to double back then do the same on the floor below.  When I got to the right section there was a queue at customs, I quickly explained and asked if I could go into the other queue which was a fasttrack thing, the asian guy starts asking me where you are going, your late for your flight, your flight is now boarding etc. and I just snapped at him 'Look, I wasn't flying the fucking plane' then he let me cut the queue.  Not a sensible thing to do, it just sort of tripped out of my mouth.  Fortunately enough I made it to the gate with seconds to spare.

In my experience the best German Airport is Bremen, it about 2 mile from the city centre in a straight road, not too busy, and not constant up & down stairs, lifts, esculators to leave the building.

 

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3 hours ago, centralTON said:

 That said, LAX and Charleroi are both holes, possibly flying to Charleroi 3 weeks on Tuesday for Stevie Nicks in Antwerp. we'll see.

I'd avoid Charleroi if you can. I don't think they have a direct shuttle bus to Antwerp, meaning you'd need to get a bus to Brussels then a train or another bus to Antwerp, which would be a right pain in the arse.

Brussels Airlines from Edinburgh to the main Brussels airport in Zaventem would be by far your best option. You can get a train at the airport directly to Antwerp. It only takes about 45 minutes and they're pretty regular. If you book in plenty of time you can get usually get a good deal with Brussels Airlines, so I would check it out sooner rather than later.

Good luck and have fun in sunny Belgium! Let me know if you want some restaurant or hotel tips in Antwerp, we stay there overnight regularly for gigs. I assume the one you're going to is in the Lotto Arena?

Edit to add: there are also regular shuttle buses between Zaventem and Antwerp 

https://www.flibco.com/en/shuttle/shuttle-bus-antwerp-brussels-zaventem-airport

 

Edited by Cet Homme Charmant
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18 hours ago, Cet Homme Charmant said:

Edinburgh airport's a bit shite as well. Not the worst by any means, but it is a bit shabby here and there.

I actually like Edinburgh tbh.  Along with Prestwick they're probably my two favourites.  In fact I'm flying to Tenerife from there a week today.

"CORNBEEF IS A BELLEND"

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