The Worst Airport In America

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More than 46 million Americans will travel further than 50 miles for this week's turkey-based festivities, and many of us will do it via air. And while very few airports deal well with holidays swarms, some of them excel at misery.

Last month, we set out to find America's worst airport. We asked you to name your least favorite terminals, and amassed over 600 comments. The debate was contentious and there was no clear victor. So we asked you to vote on the eight most-mentioned airports. Keep in mind, this is in no way Empirical, since these were based on your informal suggestions and, of course, aren't adjusted for the size of the airport and other influencing factors.

Still, it's been a fun way to channel our collective rage, and now, many thousands of votes later, we have some winners (losers?).


8) Kansas City International Airport


In our original post, Kansas City featured prominently in the comments—your horror stories were rich and vivid. Yet it seems like KCI wasn't able to harness the support it needed in the final, with only 431 votes. Sorry, Kansas City. Or, congrats, I guess.

  • I almost forgot about that little slice of hell. You're packed into your gate like sardines. I have terrible memories of literally pushing my way through the crowd to reach the men's restroom at which there was a line because there were only three stalls. - JuanDimensional
  • It's the smallest, strangest, possibly least secure international airport I've ever been to in the states. - out0mind
  • Eat a dick KCI. You are the worst. - Diesel

7) Dulles International Airport


Dulles was another crowd favorite that managed to dredge up just 468 votes in the final. What happened? Maybe some last-minute sprucing of the terminals? Or perhaps fliers finally looked around and noticed the lovely Eero Saarinen-designed architecture?

  • The entire place should be bulldozed and the MWA should finance a new, modern facility and charge carriers to lease the space. - Flyingbuff
  • I vote for Dulles, solely based on two separate incidences of over-90-minute TSA lines. - mike5k

6) Philadelphia International Airport


By now you're noticing a trend here: The smaller airports, Philly included with only 677 votes, just don't have the manpower to get this thing done. Not enough people pass through them to gain a foothold in this contentious race.

  • I was waiting for a flight one time in a largely empty area, looking for a plug for my laptop. A flight attendant was sitting nearby. I said, "Amazing - not a single wall plug around". She said, "It's Philly, what did you expect?" - emeryl
  • Philly is where dreams go to die while you sit in a wormhole of constantly cancelled or delayed flights. - The Messs

5) Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport


Hundreds of commenters condemned Atlanta in our first post, but nearly as many of them defended it. That helps to explain why the biggest airport in the world only managed 688 votes—a vocal minority, meanwhile, were very angry about it.

  • On your way to hell there's a layover in Atlanta. - thob86
  • Sprawling, crowded, not enough seating, not enough toilets, takes an eternity even with the stupid train(s) to get from gate to rental car. - Kevin Rhodes

4) Newark Liberty International Airport


You might hate Newark, but you probably hate getting to Newark more than the airport itself. Or so out poll suggested: The hatred for EWR was lukewarm at best, amassing only 770 votes.

  • It's dirty, smells bad, has the worst food options, the pay-only wifi is actually still horrifically slow, and there was a single, four plug charging station for the entire terminal that I saw. - Syngine
  • I once bought a one-way ticket on the spot to Orlando since that was the closest I could get to my destination that night instead of having to spend one more evening there. - driftwhatever

3) O'Hare International Airport


Now we're getting into the real competitors. O'Hare, though it has fantastic public transit and generally good food options, was condemned with 981 votes for everything from the distance from terminal to terminal to the frequency of its weather delays.

  • I HATE O'Hare with a fiery passion that will endure through countless generations of my progeny. - incompl
  • If you do some sort of Orbitz wizardry and have to connect between carriers, forget about it. - Dake
  • United is dead to me anyway, but I suppose I will have to deal with American through there once the merger completes, at least occasionally. Sprawling and crowded. - Kevin Rhodes

2) Los Angeles International Airport


The scorn demonstrated by our commenters for LAX was fiery and bitter. From the design to the food options, there was nothing but rage for this airport. One commenter even uploaded a picture of his name written in the dust at one restaurant. Still, 1,185 votes weren't enough to take the crown.

  • This list starts and ends with LAX. The absolute, bar none, worse terminal I've ever been in. - jaysna
  • $5 waters and the $7 cronuts. - Matt R
  • The worst six hours of my life was spent at LAX trying to get to a different terminal. - Caoska

1) LaGuardia Airport


The airport that one commenter lovingly described as the "75-year old loaded diaper known as LaGuardia" won by a landslide in the finals with 1,651 votes. Not only does Biden hate it with a passion, Cuomo is throwing money at designers looking for ways to fix it and its peers.

  • I'd rather wake up in a bathtub full of ice than go to LGA's B terminal. - d4st
  • Last time there the bathroom in my terminal area overflowed drenching the waiting area carpet, so they had big noisy fans to more efficiently disperse the smell throughout the terminal. There was no escape, including via my twice delayed flight. - Zippitydont
  • I think whoever designed La Guardia actually liked the whole "urine-soaked subway experience" and tried to replicate it as closely as possible. - Trike
  • What can you say about LGA other than it was built for DC-3's and used to be a garbage dump before that. - mark
  • La Guardia will always be under construction until we finally kill it with fire. - golfball

[Images. KCI: Wikimedia; ATL: Josh Hallett; Dulles: Kevin Chan/CC; PHL: Scott/CC; EWR: Brian Smith/CC; ORD: Michael Kappel/CC; LAX: Forest McDonald/CC; LGA: Davity Dave/CC]