Saturday, January 24, 2009

Las Vegas Airport: Among the Worst

While Las Vegas might be nice, anyone who's ever had the terrible misfortune of having to make a connecting flight through their airport can relate to my angst and frustration.

I actually had to leave the terminal and walk (run due to my delayed flight) along the road outside before finding my way to the terminal my flight departed from. Its a complete miracle that my bag ever made it to the place.

Korean Air flies directly from Las Vegas to Seoul. I'm guessing they chose it largely because there is a high volume of Korean tourists heading for the strip. Geographically its also a good place for a hub to connecting flights to Asia.

But the airport itself leaves a lot to be desired. This is surprising too, considering that Las Vegas is so dependent on tourist dollars. One would think their chamber of commerce would demand an efficient, top notch facility. Anyways, in the spirit of things, I'm listing the best and worst airports that I've ever been in. Because I wrote this list personally based on my own traveling experiences, it is of course completely objective and indisputably correct.


1. Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International Airport: Sleek contemporary airport is super clean and super easy to find one's way about. Bonus points for being super quiet. More bonus points because Malaysia Airlines is the best I've ever flown on.

2. Hong Kong International: Imposing facility with a big "wow" factor in its architecture. Also nice and quiet. Not as easy to find one's way about though. But some bonus points for Cathay Pacific being a close second in the best airline I've ever flown on category.

3. Denver International Airport: Nice airport all around. One certainly has some elbow room here. Might be 1 higher except its a long drive to get there, but this should change when they put the new train in. Bonus points for stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. More bonus points for having Blue Moon and Fat Tire on tap.
4. Phoenix' Sky Harbor Intl. Airport: People always hate on this airport but I never know why. Granted it isn't as pretty or fancy as some, but it gets the job done efficiently. I've never been confused getting around there. I've picked people up, dropped people off, and been picked up and dropped off dozens of times and have almost never had a hitch. And I recently saw it on this list for lowest flight delays in the US.


1. Minneapolis St. Paul: This airport is alright I guess. Never had any issues here which is how it should be.

2. Detroit Wayne Metro Airport. This one made the cut because they've got a cool train that runs INSIDE the terminal!


1. Dallas/Ft. Worth Intl. Airport: A giant confusing series of expansions and add-ons. They tried to fix it all by putting a big train that runs around all the terminals in a big wide circle. This was marginally successfull at best.

2. Frankfurt Intl. Airport: Big ugly mess reminded me of Dallas's add ons and expansions. It wouldn't be so bad except that for people with long layovers, there is NOTHING to do.


1. McCarran International Airport Las Vegas: Definitely #1 on the worst. See rant above. This place was confusing and messed up to the hilt. Minus points for garish 1975 casino architecture.

2. Los Angeles' LAX: Minus points for standing in long lines the whole time. More minus points for being crowded and chaotic. Whether I was getting to a departing flight or trying to get on a super shuttle after arriving, I felt like I was trying to secure a seat on the last helicopter out of Saigon before it fell to the North.

3. Rome, Fumicino/Leonardo Da Vinci: Again, no fun, confusing, and generally an ugly mess. Leonardo would be rolling in his grave to have this forever linked to his namesake.

4. Ninoy Aquino, Manila: They have three separate international terminals here and you have to go to another terminal if you have a connecting domestic flight. There is a free shuttle bus that takes you there. The big problem though, is it only seems to come around ever 30 minutes, so you're better off walking, but just barely. Not much fun with the humidity.

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