by Oliver Smith, The Telegraph, June 13, 2017
What’s the worst airport in the world? According to a new ranking that takes into account punctuality, quality of service and social media reviews, that dubious honour goes to Kuwait International. But not far behind are three British terminals in the form of Gatwick (2nd), Manchester (3rd) and Edinburgh (5th).
The research by AirHelp, which produces an annual airline ranking and this year decided to tally the scores of airports, too, considered the airport's Skytrax rating, punctuality data from "multiple sources", and "social media sentiment" (where tweets are analysed to determine if they are positive, neutral or negative) from more than 136,000 tweets. Newark Liberty (4th), Mumbai (6th) and Dubai International (7th) also made the top 10 worst, from 76 surveyed.
The world's worst airports, according to AirHelp
- Kuwait International
- London Gatwick
- Newark Liberty International
- Dubai International
- Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International
- Los Angeles International
What is that makes Kuwait so unappealing? Or indeed several of the UK's biggest airports? AirHelp did provide the breakdown of data that informed the accolades and it shows that Kuwait suffers a particularly low on-time performance score and fairly low quality and service mark. Its social media sentiment score, however, was relatively favourable - clocking in at 6.47, higher than top rated airport, Singapore Changi. If you want to experience Kuwait International for yourself, both British Airways and Kuwait Airways fly there direct from the UK.
Gatwick, on the other hand, was the only airport to register a 0 social media score, its only closest rival in that department, Newark, with a score of 0.19. Manchester had a higher score in this category but lower in terms of on-time performance.
Another ranking by website Sleeping in Airports, which features reviews of lesser-known terminals in the farthest reaches of the globe, boasts a full sweep of different "worst" airports in its ranking, with only London Luton flying the flag for the British.
Its annual rankings claim Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia is worst of all. And the verdict is scathing. “Virtually all aspects of the terminals need serious improvement,” it says. “Cleanliness is but a mythical concept. The place is said to be staffed by a team of immigration officers described as ‘careless’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘rude’, and amenity-wise, the terminal is devoid of restaurants, shopping and entertainment. During peak hours - to say nothing of when the Hajj pilgrimage rolls around - the queues are unfathomable, and there are never enough chairs to accommodate.”
Juba International Airport in South Sudan, Port Harcourt International in Nigeria, Tashkent International in Uzbekistan and Santorini Thira National complete its bottom five.
The world's worst airports, according to Sleeping in Airports
- Jeddah King Abdulaziz International, Saudi Arabia
- Juba International, South Sudan
- Port Harcourt International, Nigeria
- Tashkent International, Uzbekistan
- Santorini Thira National, Greece
- Chania International, Greece
- Crete Heraklion International, Greece
- Caracas Simón Bolívar International, Venezuela
- London Luton
- Kathmandu Tribhuvan International, Nepal
Special mention too should be made for Paris Vatry Airport. Research by Telegraph Travel recently showed that it’s the world’s least convenient airport, situated as it is a staggering 212 km / 2 hours 9 mins by car from the city it purports to serve.
The world's most inconvenient airports
- Paris Vatry - 212km from Paris
- Frankfurt Hahn - 126km from Frankfurt
- Oslo-Torp - 118km from Oslo
- Munich West - 113km from Munich
- Stockholm Skavsta - 108km from Stockholm
- London Oxford - 100km from London
- Barcelona Girona - 98km from Barcelona
- Dusseldorf Weeze - 83km from Dusseldorf
- Lubeck-Hamburg - 78km from Hamburg
- London Southend - 68km from London
We’ve also got scant praise to offer Banjul Airport in The Gambia (“one dire cafe, one check-in gate, and a queue that stretched into the car park”), Lubeck (“the terminal was in what looked like a large shed, with a couple of makeshift tables for security”), Marrakesh (“grim - disorganised arrival and check-in process, abysmal food and drink options”), Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi (“the 'come find your baggage in a heap outside' system is unsettling”) and Zanzibar (“chaotic and disorganised considering it's a famous honeymoon destination”).
And what of the world's best airports?
AirHelp did have a word to say on the 10 best airports in the world, with Changi, topping the rankings as is its wont (The Singapore airport has taken the top gong at the last four World Airport Awards).
- Singapore Changi
- Munich International
- Hong Kong International
- Copenhagen Kastrup
- Helsinki Vantaa
- Cincinnati Northern Kentucky
- Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas
- Auckland International
- Frankfurt International
Heathrow ranked 21st, Stansted 66th, while Luton was not included in the survey.
The most and least punctual airports
We wouldn't leave you hanging wondering what the world's most on-time airports are, would we?
According to data from aviation analysts OAG released in April, Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, one of the French capital's lesser-known terminals, is the most punctual, with nearly 96 per cent of flights leaving on time.
Follow here to see the full list but here's the top 10.
- Paris Beauvais-Tille
- Minsk International