Worst Airport in the World?

World's worst airport


  • Total voters
    14
The new (well, not so new any more) CPT is awesome. But enough of the good ones - I want the dogshite hell holes in far flung parts of the world. E.g. the old aiport in Owerri, Nigeria.

Oh! And Port f*cking Harcourt.
While we are on the subject, Warri, the old one. I was the only honkey in the piss soaked departure lounge.
 
Juba Airport was pretty shocking last time I was there. Ebola was doing the rounds at the time and the 'medics' checking the influx of travellers (with a non-working thermometer) were also assisting their mates thieving efforts. Luckily we pinged the *******.

We then travelled to an even worse dump in another part of S.Sudan: Nimule. More grifters, dodgy soldiery and flies.
 

Oyibo

LE
While we are on the subject, Warri, the old one. I was the only honkey in the piss soaked departure lounge.
I never actually went to the old Warri airport (even though I worked there for two years). But I do remember being stopped on the main road in Warri a few times because the runway went across it.

The Shell/New Warri airport had an absolute uber-bitch of an immigration woman - trying to confiscate passports etc. As an aside, I was visiting one of your company's swamp locations once with a Romanian engineer. We went through the usual heli baggage weighing and safety videos in the new Warri terminal. The Romanian never saw his baggage again!

ETA, Port Harcourt:

 
Let's not forget the exotic delights of Moscow Sheremetevo, built for the 1980 Olympics and largely untouched by maintenance or cleaning since.

The 'new' airport at Domodedovo is, well, not as bad as many African airports and the BA Lounge is bearable' most international flights in and out go via Domodedovo and it's.. well,OK.

Sheremetevo's where you go if you're flying internal or with a cheap ex-Commie airline. Oh. My. God. Filthy dirty and falling apart, that's doable. Wall-to-wall gangsters, ne'er-do-well, obscure nomads, confused Central Asian grannies, more gangsters (note, the gangsters are all 2nd and 3rd Division types, not proper Vory v Zakone, they can afford to fly either Western or bizdzhet charter, so very 90s in their black leather and blue-and-white striped T-shirts) - and every swinging dick is looking to earn from you, or nick your stuff or offer you incredible business deals.

We were flying to Warsaw and a well-meaning travel clerk had booked us on the LOT flight 'as it was cheap'. A gang of hideously drunken Russians were forklifted on to the aircraft and could be heard, from where we were in Business, giving it large all the way. Lots of drama.

Landed in Warsaw, plane parked up away from the terminal, stairs wheeled up and the door burst open and roughly a metric fucktonload of huge Polish riot cops charged in, made for the back of the plane, comedy beating noises ensued and a series of recumbent, bloody, unconscious figures were kicked along the aircraft and down the steps to the waiting Polish riot vans.

This being late December time, I can only assume this represented a sincere and loving Christmas present from the FSB Border Guards to the Polish riot police. It was certainly very gratefully and enthusiastically received.
I fly to Sheremetevo once a year or so, and I don't find it too bad. Never been to Domodedovo. As I'm normally flying on to Ufa or Tyumen, I overnight in the Radisson (Park Inn, not Blu) which is where the aircrews stay and is right next to the terminal.

Mind you, my reference is Schipol...

For zero maintenance, take your pick of any Chinese regional airport. My particular "favourite" was Lanzhou before they built the new terminal. I once had to change flights there on my way to Dunhuang, but my connecting aircraft went technical and I had to spend the night in the hotel across from the airport. I had no-one with me but the office booked a room. It was an interesting experience trying to check-in, and I skipped a shower when I saw the colour of the water coming out of the tap. Fortunately I had some bottled water for teeth brushing.

In China, you can physically see the age progression of any particular street - shiny new buildings at one end are recently built, and decaying hovels at the other as the have not been worked on once since building.
 

Mufulira

War Hero
I'll see your Nigerian airports, and raise you: Bamako, Mali.

Passports confiscated on arrival, baggage not arriving etc.

Atyrau is a dream by comparison
Bamako is most assuredly a right cock-up after wrangling with passport control and showing I had indeed passed legally into the country and now was leaving as my contract was over, all sorts of mumbling and eventual return of documents .... The FFL were simultaneously recycling some troops back to France and climbing the seemingly endless flight of stairs to Departures. My snarky departure was immensely rewarded by the sight of a French camo clad soldat facing away from me and who had the finest set of buttocks...(.British scientists could have calibrated their instruments on them)....by now I'm mumbling to myself "Jesus H Christ ---I have spent far too much time here when I'm impressed by someone's bum!" My last sweaty hours in Bamako were truly rewarded as the French soldat turned to reveal a most lovely French army nurse.....almost wished for a wound even if ever so slight to secure her attention. Anyway it was off and away to some other dusty airport and eventually Paris for duty free Johnny Blue and the Land of the Midnight Sun.
 
I never actually went to the old Warri airport (even though I worked there for two years). But I do remember being stopped on the main road in Warri a few times because the runway went across it.

The Shell/New Warri airport had an absolute uber-bitch of an immigration woman - trying to confiscate passports etc. As an aside, I was visiting one of your company's swamp locations once with a Romanian engineer. We went through the usual heli baggage weighing and safety videos in the new Warri terminal. The Romanian never saw his baggage again!

ETA, Port Harcourt:

Thievery in Africa, you say?
 
I lived there. If you saw the two old SAAF DC3s being operated flying food around, that was us. We were working in the bush when Kabila's mob came through and our local contact got us on HF and told us not to bother going home as there was nothing left. They'd looted everything and stripped my place to the bone, even light switches and window frames ripped out. I lost everything and went back to SA with my flight bag and what I was wearing.

Local scam (apart from the engineer going to the market and buying back his tools every Saturday morning where our workers had flogged them for some extra cash) was to grab our passports after every flight, local or not. Even test flights had someone waiting when we landed who would demand to see them then grab and disappear, meaning we had to go to the terminal and buy them back from the immigration mong in his office. USD, not the shopping bags full of new Zaires required for a baguette and a bottle of Coke.

We showed them to him once but kept a firm grip, despite his efforts to grab them. Pissed him off mightily so next time we ended up with a couple of armed blokes shoving AKs up our noses until we let go. Same old story - bimble off to the terminal to buy them back from him.

The boss eventually got pissed off with the cost and went to see the immigration big cheese in town, who was most interested as he hadn't been getting his cut. We made the deal that he would be on a retainer and immigration mong would leave us alone. Cost us a lot less in the long run and immigration mong disappeared to the Zairean equivalent of Moose Turds, Alaska.
Have a good German mate, Ex German Signals. Met him in 1999. Got talking about this and that over the years. He has some tales like a James Bond movie. He is a bit adventurous so in 1995 decide with his wife and two young kids to volunteer for an “overseas” posting. Never knew but the Germans have some amazing postings. He went to the DRC after a six month French course. Based near Lubumbashi.

Had to build the radio station , HF , and when I say build as in make the bricks to build the thing on the DRC Army base. Had a nice old Belgian style house, he and his wife had horses and went riding every morning, think of the film “Out of Africa”.

Politics took over and he was robbed and nearly killed as he got hit with a tyre Iron during a robbery. There was also a Belgian force on the base. Belgian Col , hearing about what happened asked him into his office , then down to a store room. Opens a safe and says , “Take what you want for your home defense” Juergan picks an Uzi , mags and a couple of hand grenades.

Going out with the DRC Army he lived of , as he said, “My best mates, Johnny, Jack and Jim. Basically mixing whisky with water .

Him being blond and going to some very remote places , the locals were shite scared of him, used to offer him young girls as a thank you for not killing them.

All went pear shaped in about 97 , Got his family out to SA but he waited too long. In the end he , through a friends friend , paid $3000 for a SA Greek chap to fly to the local golf course and then on to SA.

Had to leave his Land Rover on the golf course as that was the landing lights for the plane.

Still had the keys and the German military paid for the $3000 flight.
 
Someone thought it was a good idea to send us to Yemen a couple of years ago. We eventually landed at Aden International where the buggers lost one of my peli cases. After a lot of arm waving/shouting on the part of the staff, we all headed over to the aircraft where I was invited to climb into the hold to have look for it.

IMG_2430.jpg


IMG_2431.jpg
Our departure was somewhat more spectacular. We'd arranged a local security team to assist our usual bloke, Baz. Unfortunately they were shocking and were shown the door quick time. They got their revenge by tipping off some nasty people - as we discovered later:
We were about to head off to meet an interviewee when we got a call from Sky Arabia warning us that they'd heard AQAP were going to lift us at a VCP. They knew where we going so we took it seriously and fucked off to the airport smartly. I had a run in with Daesh outside the entrance but that's another story.

These blokes may have been AQAP or Daesh too. I have no idea but was told that I should meet them, by my new mates on the right.

IMG_2464 2.jpg

Bless the Yemeni airlines - they stuck us on an empty plane to Mumbai and off we trotted. The Indians were very,very unhappy when we arrived. Not on manifest, flown in from war zone, no visas, no tickets... blah blah.
Then a nice man from BA turned up.
'We hear you narrowly avoided being captured by Al Qaeda...' says he.
'oh well, you know... risks of the job etc etc...' says I, modestly.
'We're upgrading you to business ...' he replies.
'whoop, whoop..' says I
 
Having read the whole thread I have become far better informed as to the state of the world’s airports, it has also confirmed the fact that I am somewhat naive when it come to international travel compared with most posters here, long may it continue.

Please could you complete my education and explain why CDG is so bad, apart from it being French in the extreme, is it just because it is named after the most famous objectionable Frenchman ever or what?
 
Not exactly the Aspire Lounge. TZA sometime in '88. San Ped bound.

20200806_155837.jpg
 
Having read the whole thread I have become far better informed as to the state of the world’s airports, it has also confirmed the fact that I am somewhat naive when it come to international travel compared with most posters here, long may it continue.

Please could you complete my education and explain why CDG is so bad, apart from it being French in the extreme, is it just because it is named after the most famous objectionable Frenchman ever or what?
I find there’s a big difference between CDG T1 and T2.

T1 was state of the art in it’s day, but it’s old and tired and a bit manky. Very poorly served by coffee shops and eateries. There’s also a fair to middling chance they’ll lose you luggage.

T2 is now for Air France flights in the main, and is a lot cleaner. The only problem is that if departing from there it seems to take forever to check in and then get through security. I consistently try to arrive 3+ hours early and even then in several occasions I’ve only made the flight because it was delayed.
 

PFGEN

GCM
Fife Airport, Glenrothes.....Dreadful

I went for a flight last year, followed by lunch at "The Tipsy Nipper" restaurant, and the chips with my fish and chips were definitely well below standard, I mean , Frozen chips FFS
A restaurant? Things have been looking up for them. About 40 years ago I used to fly a number of puddle hoppers at Glenrothes when the opportunity arose. ATC was a portacabin. Facilities other than a coffee were zero but it worked.
 

PFGEN

GCM
I find there’s a big difference between CDG T1 and T2.

T1 was state of the art in it’s day, but it’s old and tired and a bit manky. Very poorly served by coffee shops and eateries. There’s also a fair to middling chance they’ll lose you luggage.

T2 is now for Air France flights in the main, and is a lot cleaner. The only problem is that if departing from there it seems to take forever to check in and then get through security. I consistently try to arrive 3+ hours early and even then in several occasions I’ve only made the flight because it was delayed.
T1 is really grotty these days. Facilities for eating tend to resemble poorly lit toilets and some of them even smell like it. The various lounges are way too small and the offerings are minimal. Some of them lack airco so when the sun is shining it's a choice between sitting with the unwashed or having a sauna.
 
Newcastle “International” is up there.

Liked the Car hire , Avis, open from 08 until 1800 on a Saturday.

The office is the chap sitting in one of the cars in the compound.
 
Fife Airport, Glenrothes.....Dreadful

I went for a flight last year, followed by lunch at "The Tipsy Nipper" restaurant, and the chips with my fish and chips were definitely well below standard, I mean , Frozen chips FFS
...and yet, for all its problems, the Tipsy Nipper is the best eatery in Glenrothes....probably
 
We had a really crap stopover at Philadelpia ten years ago
Started bad , WE took off for Vegas , after about 5 minutes I said to SWMBO,"there's something wrong with the plane " ..."BolloX!" comes the swift reply
"We should be much higher, faster, and we keep turning to starboard "
Minute later "This is the captain , we have a warning light on the Hydraulics , we are going to be landing again in a few minutes , you may see a little activity on the airfield , but there is nothing to bother too much about, the crew will are preparing for landing please pay attention to the safety briefing especially the part about bracing!"

A LITTLE ACTIVITY!!!! fire trucks and ambulances facing the runway from one end to the other

Was just a minor electrical fault , but they called it , anyhoo , plane stops , police come on breathalise the pilots and arrest the crew (standard procedure apparently) , then a tug arrives and pulls us onto the walkway and off we go , it's now 9pm three hours later , a new plane will be sorted out , but will leave in the morning, bus waiting to take you to your hotel where you will get something to eat and a bed for the night , again , United Airways apologises for any inconvenience
get to the hotel restaurant It is spring break ,it is full of kids , no service for an hour , eventually off to bed , for three hours sleep and bus back to the airport for the flight at 6.30, arrive ay gate 13 (couldn't make this up) to find the new plane has a flat tyre , except it's memorial day sunday morning , and they are on a skeleton shift there are many of us standing at the gate desk , the chap there says he's just going through the door and will be back shortly, I take a glance through the window and see the young lad running away across the pan , and has abandoned us , we get asked to go to gate 9 (it's now about about 9am) we line up to board , FFS this plane has a flat as well , we are sent back to gate 13 hoping the wheel has been sorted , it hasn't ,
It is a this time I take a seat beside an elderly black gentleman , wearing a WW2 US Airforce battledress, I get into a friendly conversation with him about the hairy battledress , " I used to were battledress like that when I joined the army says me we hit it right off , turns out he is a former member of the Tuskegee ground crew, and was giving lectures at schools, he was also a major shareholder with United, went to the desk , and we were on a plane to Dulles an hour later and onward to vegas from there
As we went through the gate (again gate 13) the lady said to me have a great time in Vegas , and be lucky , you've left all your bad luck here, and we went , and we won a very substantial sum of Uncle Sams finest dollars

anyway Philly at it's best is not very good , at it's worst , early on a holiday morning , when even BK is shut, and you're hungry , it an absolute shithole
 
...and yet, for all its problems, the Tipsy Nipper is the best eatery in Glenrothes....probably
You know, you are absolutely spot on there

Maybe Balbirnie House, but they are all sort of shite, Laurel bank maybe a bit better
 
We had a really crap stopover at Philadelpia ten years ago
Started bad , WE took off for Vegas , after about 5 minutes I said to SWMBO,"there's something wrong with the plane " ..."BolloX!" comes the swift reply
"We should be much higher, faster, and we keep turning to starboard "
Minute later "This is the captain , we have a warning light on the Hydraulics , we are going to be landing again in a few minutes , you may see a little activity on the airfield , but there is nothing to bother too much about, the crew will are preparing for landing please pay attention to the safety briefing especially the part about bracing!"

A LITTLE ACTIVITY!!!! fire trucks and ambulances facing the runway from one end to the other

Was just a minor electrical fault , but they called it , anyhoo , plane stops , police come on breathalise the pilots and arrest the crew (standard procedure apparently) , then a tug arrives and pulls us onto the walkway and off we go , it's now 9pm three hours later , a new plane will be sorted out , but will leave in the morning, bus waiting to take you to your hotel where you will get something to eat and a bed for the night , again , United Airways apologises for any inconvenience
get to the hotel restaurant It is spring break ,it is full of kids , no service for an hour , eventually off to bed , for three hours sleep and bus back to the airport for the flight at 6.30, arrive ay gate 13 (couldn't make this up) to find the new plane has a flat tyre , except it's memorial day sunday morning , and they are on a skeleton shift there are many of us standing at the gate desk , the chap there says he's just going through the door and will be back shortly, I take a glance through the window and see the young lad running away across the pan , and has abandoned us , we get asked to go to gate 9 (it's now about about 9am) we line up to board , FFS this plane has a flat as well , we are sent back to gate 13 hoping the wheel has been sorted , it hasn't ,
It is a this time I take a seat beside an elderly black gentleman , wearing a WW2 US Airforce battledress, I get into a friendly conversation with him about the hairy battledress , " I used to were battledress like that when I joined the army says me we hit it right off , turns out he is a former member of the Tuskegee ground crew, and was giving lectures at schools, he was also a major shareholder with United, went to the desk , and we were on a plane to Dulles an hour later and onward to vegas from there
As we went through the gate (again gate 13) the lady said to me have a great time in Vegas , and be lucky , you've left all your bad luck here, and we went , and we won a very substantial sum of Uncle Sams finest dollars

anyway Philly at it's best is not very good , at it's worst , early on a holiday morning , when even BK is shut, and you're hungry , it an absolute shithole
Agree Philly is a dump, why I have to fly there to fly on to Baltimore , that’s backwards or to Denver I have no idea.
 
C-47/R4D with Pratts 145Kts cruise, 90 galls/hour from memory, could get about 160/5Kts if pushing it, with not much more available. Can't remember fuel burn at full chat, we rarely used it.

Flew 3’and 4’s in Libya, then 3’s in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania with East Af. Same ones my old man had flown when they began the airline with him and five other Kenya born pilots seconded from the RAF to BOAC. They did their civil licences then flew 6 De Havilland Rapides (Domine’s) out to Nairobi to begin services. Later got Doves, Howards, then DC3’s which served to just before the very end of the airlines life when it ceased service in 1977.

The 3’s in 1951 from my dad’s log book were operating as far N as Jeddah for the Haj flights, Khartoum, weekly flights Nairobi to Durban. A round trip to Durban took 4 days. Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar Es Salaam, Lumbo, Laurenco Marques, then Durban where they stayed at the Park View Hotel. Other destinations included Ndola, Abercorn, Lusaka, Salisbury,Blantyre, and Beira.

Got over 3,000hrs on 3’s and loved them, an amazing aircraft, leaked like a sieve in the wet weather, and could take a real beating in turbulence. Once flying with a new indigenous F/O coming back from Iringa to Dar we were cruising Eastbound at 12,000’ about 80miles to go there was a line storm between us and Dar. Tops to about 50,000’ massive anvils and it stretched south at least 100 miles as far as Lindi. It was a weekend, and to go N round it would be only a slight detour but would take us into the TPDF training block which was a prohibited area.

I explained to the new F/O who I was training, that as it was a Sunday and the TPDF didn’t fly on weekends, and a small clip into the training area was unlikely to A) be seen and B) no TPDF pilot in his right mind,if he was flying that day, would want to be anywhere near this beast. We would also be safer going N around it as any hail coming out of the tops would be spraying out downwind and South of our intended route.

Deciding that as this was going to add time I would take a leak, and having briefed him left him at the control’s, he had been doing a pretty good job, and headed for the can at the back. As soon as I started making my way down the aisle, inevitably was being asked questions by chatty pax all the way. Finally got to the heads had unzipped and was full flow when it suddenly got very dark and the next minute all hell broke loose.

I found myself pissing at the ceiling, and the chemical toilet had spewed it contents of blue chemical and various other unmentionables which were now airborne with me. The crockery in the galley next door was crashing and breaking, and the stewardess’s high pitched screaming was leading the chorus from the passengers. I struggled out of the heads and fought my way up the aisle of a plane that was going bat shit crazy, and carrying a load of people who were certainly going along with that act very very noisily.

As I entered the cockpit section I could see the F/O who looked like a rodeo cowboy on a Brahma Bull, his left arm was flailing in the air hand holding an empty plastic cup, his right hand clutching with a death grip on a control column that was shaking him like a terrier with a rat. It was very dark, we were in cloud, and one could not immediately make out quite what attitude we were in. The altimeter which I had immediately looked for, was whirling round rapidly, but up or down I could not tell. Once in the seat and strapped in, bit of a struggle, I took control from a very relieved and terrified F/O and I remember noting in a weird surreal moment that his face had gone from an inky black to a sort of dark grey.

Having established with huge relief that we were climbing rather than diving, albeit at a rate I had never before experienced, I began a turn to the left of the track we had been heading as the storm had been to our right. The plane was experiencing unprecedented level of violent turbulence which seemed to me intent on tearing us to pieces. All needles were bouncing wildly but I establish as best I could a safe airspeed of about 120kts and as we were still climbing, reduced power to 16 inches of manifold which is idle power in the Dak.

This seemed to have little effect, still climbing, so called for ten flap reduced A/S back to 105 then called for gear and20 degrees. Gear down, flaps 20, idle thrust, still climbing!! Back to 95kts and full/40 degrees flap. Still climbing!!! Getting light now, heading North and getting lighter. Finally passing 21,000’ I pulled the power all the way back. This is normally a no no because it puts back pressure on the prop and engine bearings but needs must and all that. We popped out of cloud into bright sunshine just approaching 22’000’ but at 95 Kts, with gear and flaps down and in a nose down attitude.

Fervent thanks to the man upstairs... we were alive!!!!!!!

Cleaned up the plane, and began a descent. Then asked the F/O what exactly had he been thinking. I was so happy that we were in one piece that I was not angry just hugely relieved. He explained to me that he had been curious about how it felt in a cumulus cloud as they had always avoided them in training for his Instrument rating. I asked him why that might have been. He told be that his instructors had told him it would be turbulent but he did not know how turbulent and had decided to find out.

I was at a loss for words. Finaly told him to go back and check the cabin to see if we had lost or damaged any of of our self loading freight, and to see if we had any unconscious babies or old folk due to our altitude, then check if our hostie was still alive.

He could while doing, that also please explain to them how he had been caught in a storm he had been unable to avoid. I was definitely dodging responsibility here, but since they were all the same race, if not tribe...and they all knew it had not been me at the controls when all hell had broken loose, they could vent their collective fury, terror, indignation and woes on his ass and not mine.

Yes the good old Dak was a very tough bird.

Apologies for thread drift, and as for crap airports, in 40 odd years of commercial flying round the world can’t begin to remember them all, and there were some real doozies.
600 mile long squall lines in the DRC. No way to go round them so have to look for a thin spot and push on through. Ends up with more rain inside than outside, coming in the split windscreen and the overhead escape hatch so you don a raincoat and lay a tarpaulin or another raincoat over your knees.

It didn't help that I'm 6'4" and had to just about fly the thing sidesaddle to get my feet on the rudder pedals. The only one I ever flew in a normal position had the bulkhead behind the left seat removed and the seat rails extended.

Flew rich foreign tourists up to Vic Falls a few times in a very well fitted one. I could never understand why they wanted to lurk down in the weeds for five hours at just above walking pace getting thrown about and honking up their caviare and champagne, instead of air conditioned business class seats for just over an hour, a nice lunch and a gentle stroll through the terminal feeling fresh and happy.

Someone once told me it was because it was romantic.
 
Top