Date: October 15, 2014
Europe may be home to some of the world’s best airports – but that doesn’t mean the worst do not exist nearly right along side. In major European cities, it is quite common to see a number of airports serve the same destination. Often, one airport welcomes the major airlines while the other welcomes the low cost carriers. It is perhaps unsurprising that the budget airlines fly into terminals that are dingy, dreary and perhaps a little depressing. They also tend to be located far from the city center, with only inconvenient and convoluted transport options. Some travellers will go so far as to say it is worth the extra Euro spent on your ticket price to avoid these terminals all together. This year’s Worst Airports in Europe consists mostly of airports serving low-cost airlines, but a few major airports made the list too.
Here are the Top 10 Worst Airports in Europe based on overall airport experience as determined by voters in our 2014 Airport Survey:
1. Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport, France (BVA)
This airport is the worst in the world. Seriously, the place doesn’t look like a place where people from many countries arrive. – a traveller
There are a number of reasons why Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport is so consistently found at the top of Worst Airports lists. While it is marketed by budget carriers as an airport serving Paris, it is in fact located a slow 88 kilometers outside of the city center. Accessible only by private transport (or airport shuttle), the drive takes at least an hour and a half – on a good day. The journey itself is hardly made worthwhile on arrival at the terminal, since the building itself is said to resemble a bus station more than anything else. Cramped, rundown, debatably clean, and not particularly friendly, this airport does little more than load and unload passengers in a cargo-like fashion. Furthermore, the airport closes at night meaning it is definitely not an option for sleeping before early morning departure. That all said, the other airports in Paris are not heralded for their convenience or beauty – so perhaps, the dollars saved on a flight into France are worth it here?
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Wi-Fi ($). Visit our Paris Beauvais Airport Guide for more information.
2. Frankfurt Hahn International Airport, Germany (HHN)
Since the seats are metallic and not comfortable, the best places to sleep are actually on the luggage conveyor belts, or on the floor just next to the rental car stands. – Journeying Artificial Neohuman
Like Beauvais, tying the title of ‘Frankfurt’ to this airport name is perhaps a bit deceiving. HHN is located over 120 kilometers from the Frankfurt city center – and you’re looking at a minimum of an hour and a half drive (or two hours by bus). Given that Frankfurt’s central (and fairly adored) airport is located a mere 11 kilometers from the city center, this becomes a pretty considerable schlep. The airport itself resembles most secondary European terminals, in that it is bleak, bare-boned and not especially welcoming. Past airport sleepers warn of the uncomfortable seating throughout, and suggest searching for a clean-ish patch of floor space to camp out on. The trade off here is that it is far cheaper to fly into, as it is serviced by budget carriers like Ryanair and Wizzair.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Wi-Fi ($) • Luggage Storage ($). Visit our Frankfurt Hahn Airport Guide for more information.
3. Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport, Italy (BGY)
The only way this airport could be improved would be to destroy it and rebuild. – a traveller
Bergamo Orio al Serio is a secondary airport servicing Milan. It is located only 50 kilometers from the city center, making it more reasonable, distance-wise at least, than some of the other airports on the list. Consequently, it is much more popular with budget travellers and airport sleepers. However, while it may be popular it certainly isn’t adored. A few voters submitted comments saying the best way to fix the airport was to destroy it. Irritation aside, problems arise at this airport because of its small size. There is a lack of seating throughout, and because so many sleep here, travellers consistently report being woken up and moved and make space for cleaners. Other grievances stem from the lack of Wi-Fi, the lack of electrical outlets and the short-tempered security staff. But again – budget airlines make this a cheaper option than Milan’s other two airports.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 24 Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($). Visit our Bergamo Airport Guide for more information.
4. Berlin Tegel International Airport, Germany (TXL)
Lights are on, cleaners and security walk around and there is limited seating, however you are not hassled and you feel safe. – pocketdragon
You know things look bleak in a city’s airport scene when the primary airport is listed on our worst airports list. Tegel is badly in need of some love. Originally designed in the 1970s, this terminal really struggles to meet the growing volume of travellers keen to visit this fantastic city. As such, seating is limited, queues are long, restaurants are crowded and hallways offer little personal space. What’s more – if you do fly in here, its not like you are even saving a ton of money. Most budget airlines fly into neighbouring Schönefeld instead! The positive for Tegel is that it is located very close to the city center and that it is slated to become obsolete. Construction on the new Berlin Brandenburg airport should be finished in 2016, which will completely replace TXL!
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Wi-Fi ($) • Luggage Storage ($). Visit our Berlin Tegel Airport Guide for more information.
5. Rome Ciampino International Airport, Italy (CIA)
For sleeping, this airport is pretty rotten. It’s always cold, crowded, awkward, and uncomfortable. – a traveller
As a secondary city airport that receives budget carriers, Ciampino is located 14 kilometers out of the city center. The building itself is no great architectural-feat – the low ceilings, the dingy décor, and the moderately clean settings hardly wow passengers. Services are limited throughout, and the food options are a sad farewell or welcome to Italy’s world-famous cuisine. Crowds and lines further sadden passengers but the high numbers of sleepers does create a sense of comfort and solidarity. It is after all, a fairly popular overnight option for those with early morning budget-airline departures. A tip is to definitely get there early in the night to snag a good spot!
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Wi-Fi ($). Visit our Rome Ciampino Airport Guide for more information.
6. Barcelona Girona-Costa Brava International Airport, Spain (GRO)
It is a small airport and because there were more airport sleepers I felt quite safe, but I’ve had more comfortable nights. – a traveller
While Girona is located a whopping 91 kilometers outside of Barcelona, the good news is that the transfer in takes just over an hour whether you’re going by public or private transport. This airport has been described as fine, functional and not terrible. There are no bells or whistles to speak of in this tiny and dated structure, but it does not seem to really offend voters like our top three have. Qualms arise from the lack of electrical outlets, the lack of services and the generally uncomfortable seats. If you find a place on the floor and bring a mat it isn’t so bad.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Free Wi-Fi. Visit our Barcelona Girona Airport Guide for more information.
7. Paris Orly International Airport, France (ORY)
The seats have armrests, which makes sleep rather difficult. The Wi-Fi is terrible. – tashore14
If the distance and ranking of our number one worst airport deters you from flying into Beauvais, Orly will be a moderately better choice. This airport is the closest one to the Parisian city center and, while it is hardly glamorous, it is a step up. That said, the building is still dated, and the services and amenities offered are un-inspirational. The real highlight of this airport – particularly relative to others on this list – is the fifteen minutes of free but slow Wi-Fi provided. There is also a supermarket with fairly inexpensive food inside the terminal.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free Wi-Fi. Visit our Paris Orly Airport Guide for more information.
8. London Luton International Airport, England (LTN)
After paying for it, I found that the Wi-Fi shuts off during the night. So I ended up paying for internet that I didn’t get to use. – a traveller
In spite of London’s reputation for being surrounded by a series of mediocre airports, Luton was remarkably the only one to be voted onto this year’s list. Located 56 kilometers outside the city center, you’re likely looking at an hour+ to access the city center by private or public transport. Once at the airport, the services and amenities are generally bleak but sufficient. The real downer occurs upon realizing that the airport charges for virtually everything – beginning with Wi-Fi and ending with the plastic liquid bags for security. For those who opted for Luton because of the budget airlines – you’d do well to pack a snack, a plastic bag and a book in your carry-on. The other downside here is that crowds of budget travellers can become a bit of a problem – and as a result, seating is in short supply. For sleepers, you’d again be wise to arrive early to find your most idyllic patch of floor before the masses descend.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Wi-Fi ($) • 24 Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($). Visit our London Luton Airport Guide for more information.
9. Warsaw-Modlin Mazovia International Airport, Poland (WMI)
There were not enough seats at the gate for the number of people waiting to board the flight. Our flight was delayed so the wait was excruciating. The Wi-Fi was appreciated though! – a traveller
In spite of having been opened in 2012, WMI isn’t exactly the picture of comfort and modernity. However, relative to other secondary low-cost carrier airports, it is a step above. Unlike the other winners on this list, WMI does offer free unlimited Wi-Fi, a decent number of power sockets and an overall clean environment. Connections into the city center take just under and hour, be it by public or private transport – and thankfully the former is oddly convenient! Complaints stem largely from the overall lack of seating, services and amenities, but we suppose it is a budget airline airport after all.
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free Wi-Fi • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers. Visit our Warsaw Modlin Airport Guide for more information.
10. Rome Fiumicino International Airport, Italy (FCO)
Benches are hard metal with arm rests (T1 security side) – Wi-Fi only works in 30 minute blocks. – no plug ins anywhere! – a traveller
Rome’s Fiumicino Airport has had a busy year of listening to customer complaints. While the terminal is still old, small and worn down, there have been a number of customer service-related improvements that have bumped this list down to 10th from last year’s 4th place. Sure, the cleanliness and comfort are still problems, but travellers were happy to see the introduction of mobile charging stations and unlimited free Wi-Fi to the terminals. It is also nice that like Ciampino, this airport is only a half hour beyond the city center – by public or private transit routes. We think that once this airport replaces their metal benches and metal armrests with something a bit more plush, it might just make it off this list altogether!
Airport Services/Facilities To Enjoy Your Layover: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free Wi-Fi • Hotel connected to the airport ($) • 24 Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($). Visit our Rome Fiumicino Airport Guide for more information.
European air travel is not all sad and grey – the continent is also home to some of the world’s best airports. Check out this year’s Best Airports in Europe for some good news!