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Worst Airport in the World?

World's worst airport


  • Total voters
    27
Luanda airport used to be a veritable crap hole. But it did have some compensations - The first time I arrived I was in the glacial queue for immigration, and behind me was a young white chap with dreadlocks, beads on every limb, and very 'ethnic' clothing. In other works, a ******. This was in the days when the war was still going.

Due to the boredom of the queue I struck up a half-hearted conversation with him. He said he had come to Angola to travel around and see the place. I did question whether it was a good idea, but he assured me that he was a very experienced traveller - shortly before being dragged off to a small grubby cubicle for yellow fever jabs (someone up-thread mentioned the Luanda Yellow Fever Scam). I never saw him come out.

A few years later someone I know was leaving Luanda and had picked up a bad dose of the trots. He said that he was in the queue that was moving on a geological timescale and could barely hold it in. (He did not want to got to the toilet and lose his place in the queue.) The Emperor (PBUH) must have been busy that day with his sneezing powder. The guy started sneezing, and every time he did so he shat himself. He was so desperate to leave, he stayed in the queue and boarded the plane in a slightly soiled state.

Yeah that was me who mentioned the yellow fever scam.

I’d been forewarned by a mate from HALO so savoured the moment when the septic in front of me in the queue copped it and was dragged off to that room where the surgical rubber tube and the skanky old syringe was in full view.

One of those few airports where it’s equally nasty leaving. Advised to turn up 4 hours early I waited an hour in the first chamber of hell. Having saved just enough of the local toilet paper money to buy a bottle of water, I was in the queue in the shop when the doors to the hall with the departure desks opened.

Carried along by the tide I hadn’t been able to buy the water, and had stuffed the spons into my shirt pocket.

As many here will know it’s illegal to export the local cash from the country, and about four of the local ‘officials’ shook me down checking my suitcase, then my carry-on, then my person for illegal cash. Not one of them noticed the 70 or so ‘things’ sticking out of my shirt pocket. Talk about hiding in plain sight.

There then followed possibly one of my shittiest flights ever. Due mainly to the NGO buying the cheapest flight they could find.

I’ve never let anyone do that to me again and have even turned a gig in Liberia down because of an agency insisting they wanted to save $100 on what was going to then be a 3 or 4 day trip.
 

Oyibo

LE
Yeah that was me who mentioned the yellow fever scam.

I’d been forewarned by a mate from HALO so savoured the moment when the septic in front of me in the queue copped it and was dragged off to that room where the surgical rubber tube and the skanky old syringe was in full view.

One of those few airports where it’s equally nasty leaving. Advised to turn up 4 hours early I waited an hour in the first chamber of hell. Having saved just enough of the local toilet paper money to buy a bottle of water, I was in the queue in the shop when the doors to the hall with the departure desks opened.

Carried along by the tide I hadn’t been able to buy the water, and had stuffed the spons into my shirt pocket.

As many here will know it’s illegal to export the local cash from the country, and about four of the local ‘officials’ shook me down checking my suitcase, then my carry-on, then my person for illegal cash. Not one of them noticed the 70 or so ‘things’ sticking out of my shirt pocket. Talk about hiding in plain sight.

There then followed possibly one of my shittiest flights ever. Due mainly to the NGO buying the cheapest flight they could find.

I’ve never let anyone do that to me again and have even turned a gig in Liberia down because of an agency insisting they wanted to save $100 on what was going to then be a 3 or 4 day trip.

Yup. In my experience (for major international airports) Luanda and Lagos are right at the top. Maybe I need to add a poll to this thread.
 
My worst was in Kabul in 2004 when we could still go to restaurants.

I went to the Indian and foolishly ordered the prawn curry.

WTF was I thinking? The waiter did seem to smell of sulphur though...

Remind me, how far is Kabul (by jundi truck) from the nearest source of prawns.
 
Yup. In my experience (for major international airports) Luanda and Lagos are right at the top. Maybe I need to add a poll to this thread.
Don’t forget to add Luton:-D
 
Don’t forget to add Luton:-D

Seconded.

Also Basra. The joys of a 'cafe' whose food never changed in the three years I was travelling in and out, and one functioning loo with three cleaners sitting outside holding hands and smoking. Walking in, I found a fellow traveller had gone for a crap, missed by a country mile and left a trail from the cubicle and along the floor. That combined with the shoulder-barging Chinese/Indian travellers was enough to drive the blood pressure up considerably.
 
Seconded.

Also Basra. The joys of a 'cafe' whose food never changed in the three years I was travelling in and out, and one functioning loo with three cleaners sitting outside holding hands and smoking. Walking in, I found a fellow traveller had gone for a crap, missed by a country mile and left a trail from the cubicle and along the floor. That combined with the shoulder-barging Chinese/Indian travellers was enough to drive the blood pressure up considerably.

One thing I’ve learned in my travels is never, ever, get in a queue at an airport behind anyone who looks like they hail from the sun-continent. Even if it’s half the length of all the others.

Not only will they be carrying random bits of kit to check in, such as flat-screen TVs or electric fans, with which they will constantly swing round and hit you, but they will inevitably have:

1. Problems with their tickets;

2. Overweight luggage that they will then attempt to compress into a smaller bag (as that apparently makes it lighter);

3. Oversize luggage (e.g. said flat screen TVs which they will refuse to pay extra baggage for);

4. Problems with their travel documents, such as over-stayed visas;

5. Some combination of any or all of the above.

This advice is particularly hard to follow in Columbo of course, so mark that down as another shite airport if for that reason alone.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Seconded.

Also Basra. The joys of a 'cafe' whose food never changed in the three years I was travelling in and out, and one functioning loo with three cleaners sitting outside holding hands and smoking. Walking in, I found a fellow traveller had gone for a crap, missed by a country mile and left a trail from the cubicle and along the floor. That combined with the shoulder-barging Chinese/Indian travellers was enough to drive the blood pressure up considerably.
When I was in Basra (airport) the only loo's were a line of Thunderboxes (from Toifor, who seemed to have made a business by following the Brits around and providing thunderbox services...), being the height of summer, these were not pleasant places to be. Very quickly it became apparent that they were emptied and 'cleaned' at 1500 local each day, around 1450 there just happened to be a few people loitering in the general area, without being too close.... as soon as the honey sucker had done it's job and the blue goo was squirted in, there were several quick dashes from the spectators for a cleaner and less fly ridden few moments of contemplation.....
Who says you can't train your bowels!
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
Leaving aside the African airports which are usually plain bloody awful, Havana is pretty grim. Much of Arrivals is underground, very unkempt with zero facilities, poorly lit, crowded and noisy. The luggage belt is usually stationary then starts with a massive grinding lurch with a six foot high pyramid of teetering cases every five yards or so. The doorways are numerous and tiny, there appears to be no useful staff around (plenty of women shot-putters at Immigration though) and very few signs. Quite strange really because Departures is not too bad!
 
Despite the quite warrented contempt for Liverpool John Lennon, the original Speke airport had a certain charm. The departure lounge was an old hanger I will admit, but you could go out onto the balcony on a nice day to wave off your relatives to their holidays.

It was very art-deco and was converted (very sympathetically) into a rather nice hotel when I went to a wedding there about 15 years ago. Not been since so it is probably now a shit-hole. (Pic attached)

Marriott turned the old Speke (Liverpool) airport into a really nice hotel, stayed there a few times when it first opened. Had an old postal service aircraft from 1930s outside front and a prototype business jet out back that could be used for business meetings. Don't know who took over after Marriott, but gone downhill, the back is basically an aircraft junkyard, includes a Gloster Meteor (will photograph it next time am up)

Alas, the current site for John Lennon Airport is in keeping with the locality

1596907199435.png
 
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Oyibo

LE
Leaving aside the African airports which are usually plain bloody awful, Havana is pretty grim. Much of Arrivals is underground, very unkempt with zero facilities, poorly lit, crowded and noisy. The luggage belt is usually stationary then starts with a massive grinding lurch with a six foot high pyramid of teetering cases every five yards or so. The doorways are numerous and tiny, there appears to be no useful staff around (plenty of women shot-putters at Immigration though) and very few signs. Quite strange really because Departures is not too bad!

Good point about the near monopoly of African airports so far (although the ME puts in a good effort). The Caribbean must surely have some shitty ones - Port au Prince perhaps? What about South America? Surely they must have some good contenders.
 

ACAB

LE
When I was in Basra (airport) the only loo's were a line of Thunderboxes (from Toifor, who seemed to have made a business by following the Brits around and providing thunderbox services...), being the height of summer, these were not pleasant places to be. Very quickly it became apparent that they were emptied and 'cleaned' at 1500 local each day, around 1450 there just happened to be a few people loitering in the general area, without being too close.... as soon as the honey sucker had done it's job and the blue goo was squirted in, there were several quick dashes from the spectators for a cleaner and less fly ridden few moments of contemplation.....
Who says you can't train your bowels!
Can I interest you in a queue at Kandahar Airfield outside of my office at about 5 pm???
 
First world problem perhaps, but I have flown in and out of LAX a couple of times and found it to be dreary beyond belief & an utterly joyless experience. The septic equivalent of Gatwick, maybe.
 
First world problem perhaps, but I have flown in and out of LAX a couple of times and found it to be dreary beyond belief & an utterly joyless experience. The septic equivalent of Gatwick, maybe.

American airports generally are, I find.

I wonder if it’s because so much of their traffic is national, they don’t have such a big duty-free market and thus don’t really bother?
 
First world problem perhaps, but I have flown in and out of LAX a couple of times and found it to be dreary beyond belief & an utterly joyless experience. The septic equivalent of Gatwick, maybe.
I agree, but it's functional. I quite like the equity of their boarding systems for internal flights, and to be honest, have never had any problems with their immigration procedures or airports. Heathrow and Gatwick, in the past ten years or so, have given me so much gyp that I don't fly anywhere (virus effects excluded) at all now. I used to enjoy it, really I did, and later in my working life had access to a little jet to get me around if necessary (if the Beech 1900 wasn't scheduled, of course) but even that was sometimes a pain. Try taking a dump in a Citation. Bugger that.
 

Wee Hawken

Swinger
What about South America? Surely they must have some good contenders.

Lat Am in general does not even come close to African standards of sh1tty airports. Some are a little basic (flying 727s into gravel strips in the jungle is probably not for the faint-hearted)- and Venezuela in particular is characterised by some menacing and unpleasant policemen - but there is none of the utter chaos and mayhem that makes African aviation such an unappealing prospect.
 
The Twotter is a nice bit of kit, but I have to confess that I really prefer her Daddy the DHC-3.

Yup, that big radial is a sexy beast. Nice retirement job to keep your hand in but you need to have all the time in the world.

I do like the DHC-5 Buffalo. If they did something about those bloody GE engines she'd be a peach. Either money changed hands or the engineers had a collective brain tumour to inspire them to stick those wonky pieces of shit into a bloody brilliant airfame.
 
Lat Am in general does not even come close to African standards of sh1tty airports. Some are a little basic (flying 727s into gravel strips in the jungle is probably not for the faint-hearted)- and Venezuela in particular is characterised by some menacing and unpleasant policemen - but there is none of the utter chaos and mayhem that makes African aviation such an unappealing prospect.

The mindset of making shit up as you go, using utter fuckwittery and self important posturing while scheming to nick as much as you can, as a protocol upon which to base procedures, is rarely found outside the continent.

Then folks wonder why African govts are a kleptocratic joke.
 

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