Flightmares: 10 Worst Airports in America Revealed by Travelers

Sad (tired) woman sitting in the airport

The more you travel, the better equipped you are to know which airports to avoid. Some are just too crowded, some lack decent customer service, and some are, unfortunately, a nightmare. Part of traveling involves getting from Point A to Point B and these airports have left lasting impressions on many travelers. 

1. LAX – Los Angeles

Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline in CA, USA

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One of the largest and busiest airports in the country, so be prepared if you’re traveling in or out of LAX. The airport is crowded, with thousands of travelers. But driving in and out of the airport is the biggest complaint of both visitors and locals. 

2. MCO – Orlando

Orlando, Florida

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What do you get when you have an international airport near Disney World? Long lines full of screaming children getting on their parents’s last nerve. Fair warning. 

3. CLT – Charlotte Douglas

charlotte north carolina skyline

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If you’re passing through North Carolina, consider finding a different airport outside Charlotte. Travelers often sit through long, hot waits on the tarmac, late (or changed) flights, and sprint from gates in a short window to make it to their next flight. 

4. EWR – Newark

newark new jersey

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You can find other airports within the tri-state area, but avoid the bathrooms if you have to go to Newark Airport. Visitors have also faced an overwhelming number of delays or flight cancellations when traveling out of Newark. 

5. HNL – Honolulu

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii

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The downside to traveling to the Daniel K. Inouye Airport in Honolulu is that you will need an up-to-date, air-conditioned airport. It’s also very spread out, so be prepared to hustle if you have a connecting flight. On the upside, you’re in Hawai’i. 

6. MIA – Miami


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The boarding experience out of Miami International Airport has got travelers talking—and not in a good way. Many people board using wheelchairs, but upon landing, they seemingly don’t need the wheelchairs after all. This sudden cure is caused by what frustrated travelers have coined: Jetway Jesus. 

7. ORD – O’Hare

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Travelers often report dealing with rude staff or TSA personnel at O’Hare International Airport. International gates are also tricky to get to, as you have to leave the airport to get to them with its strange layout. O’Hare is also notorious for canceling flights whenever there is mildly lousy weather. 

8. SEA – Seattle-Tacoma

Seattle, Washington, USA downtown skyline.

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What bothers travelers about SeaTac is its ridiculously long wait times at baggage claim. The design of the airport terminals and specific check-in gates also doesn’t make sense. Why not have S terminal travelers go through security at S? Instead, be prepared to be sent every which way when going in or out of Seattle. 

9. PHL – Philadelphia

Philadelphia skyline at night with the Schuylkill river

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Unfortunately, people who passed through the City of Brotherly Love were greeted with less than helpful and often rude staff. Many travelers have experienced poor customer service and were given wrong information about flights and gates. 

10. LGA – LaGuardia

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Although LaGuardia recently underwent significant renovations to improve the airport, many visitors still remember the flooded washrooms, dripping ceilings, and general tense atmosphere. First impressions last, and even though recent travelers express the airport has improved, many still won’t pass through LaGuardia. 

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

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Zaida Marston

Zaida Marston is a freelance content writer for B2C and B2B SaaS brands and organizations. With more than 10 years of creative writing experience and a background in theatre arts, she combines compelling storytelling with value-based content for audiences of all kinds. Aside from writing she's an avid reader, scrapbooker, and TV/movie junkie. You can find her professional work in her portfolio for her latest writing pieces.