How many times have you heard someone excitingly say, “I can’t wait to spend time at the airport, I sure hope my flights delayed?” It’s a rhetorical question. Airports are those pesky places we have little option but to endure if point B is too far from point A to drive the distance. Other things more enjoyable include a root canal, an ingrown toenail, and having to go to Wal-Mart on a Saturday.
Naturally, some airports make more of a conscious effort to accommodate their guests with clean restrooms, better dining options, plenty of parking, and making certain travelers are as comfortable as possible during their wait times. But then there are the others. The most dreaded. The ones where getting in and out without some type of hassle or irritating ordeal is an impossibility.
We can’t avoid passing through those nightmarish airports if they’re on our route, but maybe by identifying the worst of the worst it’ll make it easier to prepare for what lies ahead should you know you’re going to end up in one of them.
Here they are. Have a great flight. If you can.
Juba International Airport – South Sudan
And the Grammy goes to… Juba International Airport has been consistently rated as the very worst airport on the entire planet which is a distinction they are either proud of or couldn’t care less about.
A recent traveler summed up the situation by saying this, “When I passed through a few weeks ago, it was a tent with a rotting plywood floor full of dangerous holes. I have heard rumors now that the floor has collapsed completely. The tents leak during the rainy season. You must wade through mud puddles to get to the check-in desk.”
The airport is nothing more than a tent city since the renovations to the main terminal which began in 2012 are still nowhere near completion. Not only is there is a lack of seating but the majority of the chairs that are available are broken. Don’t expect to use their wi-fi to check on things back home or at the office, there is no electricity in the tents. But this isn’t the worst part. Without A/C the sweltering South Sudan heat reduces passengers to puddles. As if this isn’t enough, the overabundance of security walking around with rifles does little to place anyone at ease. If possible, you’ll also need to block out the horrific smells that have been reported.
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport – Saudi Arabia
This comment says it all. “This airport is the door to the holiest city. You are in a holy spiritual mood before you arrive. But the minute you touch the terminal you see trash everywhere, dirty toilets, no toilet attendants, and long lines. The immigration officers are the worst in the world.”
Though the airport is currently being reconstructed, travelers say unless they replace their entire staff it won’t matter how elaborate the new facility will be. They have been described as lazy and incompetent. There are never enough immigration officers on hand which causes incredibly long lines, and the few who are on duty are foul and rude.
The toilets are always dirty and the majority of them won’t properly flush. There is insufficient seating and the airport is always packed to capacity. If you end up here, scratch comfort off your list and prepare to be annoyed.
Port Harcourt International Airport – Nigeria
The best of luck if your travels take you to Nigeria. Hold your wallet or purse tightly as this traveler stated, “It doesn’t matter what type of VISA you have, they will tell you it’s the wrong one and you must pay for the correct one. Inefficiency is rampant with people repeatedly going through your luggage and asking for money or for you to do something for them. Virtually every person there seeks to extort money from you. You will hear the phrase ‘You have something for me?’ over and over.”
Corruption runs rampant and bribing travelers is acceptable behavior. There is no air condition, toilets are few and far between, and passengers have reported their bags were tossed around like a Hail Mary pass in the final seconds of a football game.
The arrival terminal doesn’t gain any positive points either. It’s a tent.
Crete Heraklion International Airport – Greece
Since this airport is way too small to accommodate its hordes of guests, travelers have to stand in long lines outside of the building. Passengers have complained about a huge lack of sufficient employees, filthy gross bathrooms, no A/C, and immensely overcrowded conditions.
It’s been said if someone is going to miss a flight due to incompetence, it’ll happen here. There is hardly any seating, a lack of security, and extended wait times are much more common than not. There are not many restaurants in the terminal and the ones which are there are not only way overpriced, but the food quality borders on vile and disgusting.
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nigeria
Once again, Nigeria makes the list. With the aid of Chinese investors, over one-half billion dollars have been sunk into rebuilding the country’s airports, but travelers say they see little to no difference in Lagos. Corruption is claimed to be the culprit.
As with the rest of the worst pig sty airports, the toilets haven’t been cleaned since they were originally installed, the A/C hardly ever works, and the archaic system under which they operate continually causes missed flights. Customer service is horrible to non-existent. The only sort of good news is if someone absolutely has to have some comfort or even a place to sit, they can go to one of the pay-to-use lounges. Comfort does not come cheap at this airport.
After reading about these horrific airports, your local one may look much better than it did before. Be thankful for the little things, like wi-fi, a chair, and a clean toilet seat to rest your bum on.