The World's Most Confusing Airports
Plenty of airports are engineering marvels featuring amazing amenities. But who cares about upscale dining establishments or relaxing spas when you can't even find your gate?
The following six airports, while nice in many ways, are considered the most confusing and headache-inducing by travelers, thanks to their labyrinthine terminals and layouts that make virtually no sense. For good measure, we're sharing tweets about just how maddening they are, too.
Some of these airports are big. Some are small. All drive us crazy.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
The busiest airport in the world for more than two decades sees more than 107 million passengers every year. Unfortunately, it is as confusing as it is busy, with each of its concourses connected by both a walkway and a train system, which just so happens to also take passengers to baggage claim and the troublesome T gates. (You could end up outside of security and be made to go through again!)
To walk the length of the airport requires two miles of hoofing it, and for each concourse, you'll need to take an escalator up to find the gates, of which there are 192.
If that sounds like a nightmare, well, that's because it is.
Thanks, I Hate It
At Least the Food is Pretty Good
Washington Dulles International Airport, Virginia
One of the largest airports in America at 45 square miles, Washington Dulles is one of three places where you can catch a plane from the DC area.
Located 26 miles west of DC, travelers must use the airport's AeroTrain to get between concourses A and C, as well as B, which is oddly not between A and C. In fact, it's located in a completely different direction altogether.
Oh, and once you find your concourse, there are 135 different gates.
Too Early to Deal with This Nonsense
At Least You Can Burn Some Calories?
Some Think Kafka Is Overrated, Too
Heathrow International Airport, London
Each year, 80 million people pass through this London-area airport, which is 4.7 miles in size with just two runways.
The airport's five terminals — four of which are for passengers and begin at Terminal 2 (Terminal 1 closed in 2015) — are confusing enough. But it's in connecting to other flights that the chaos and madness really begin.
The airport features 79 shops, 40 restaurants and scores of other places teeming with crowds, forcing passengers to muscle their way through throngs of people to catch their next flight. Plus, there's a ton of confusing signage, throwing everyone off track.
So Like Hell, Basically
And We All Know Everybody Hates Clowns
Los Angeles International Airport
It seems simple enough, especially when you look at an aerial shot: LAX is one giant loop. But crammed into the airport's tiny space — just 3,500 acres — are multiple terminals, rental-car centers and parking lots, all of which regularly get congested with traffic.
Don't know which terminal you need? Good luck catching another shuttle to the next one. Missed terminal 1? You'll have to go all the way around again to reconnect. (There are eight terminals here.)
And don't even get us started on a connection: Each terminal requires you to go through security again!
Get It Together, Y'all
Burbank Is Definitely Who You Should Marry
Rest in Peace
Charles de Gaulle, Paris
Ask any seasoned traveler about their experiences with CDG and most will give you a rundown of their worst "almost-missed-my-flight" moment. (Including this travel writer.)
Located just 16 miles outside of Paris, travelers using the simple METRO trains are lured into a false sense of security. Here, there are three terminals, although Terminal 2 technically has seven additional terminals. Trains will take you to each terminal after you get off the METRO, and only one train will take you to Terminals 1 and 3. As most flights will be through Terminal 2, the problem then becomes finding the correct lines and sub-terminals across multiple floors.
Before you know it, you're hearing your name being called for final boarding after too many wrong turns.
Always Plan Ahead
Who Needs Marathons When the CDG Airport Exists?
Always Look on the Bright Side
Frankfurt International Airport
The largest airport in Germany, Frankfurt can feel like a maze. There are only two terminals, and you can walk between them, but the airport is also connected to the city's public-transit system, scores of shops — including a grocery store — and a hotel.
Once safely in the terminals, thinking you know where you are, you'll need to remember that zones A through C are in Terminal 1, and D and E are in Terminal 2. And then, of course, there are times when you actually have to take a shuttle from your gate to your plane. It's a wild adventure!
I Will Remember You...