Tony Wheeler, co-founder of the Lonely Planet guidebook empire, wrote a post titled Airports – love them/hate them. Very often, the airport is your first impression of a country. You start setting expectations. Is dealing with officials painless or painful? You’ll get more of the same out of the airport. Does the place feel clean and efficient? You can wager for the same conditions once in-town.
For least-favorite airport, I’d have to put Los Angeles LAX at the top of my list. Partly because familiarity breeds contempt. When I attended a college in southern Califorina, so I’d have to pass through LAX a few times a year. Once had to sprint across a whole concourse to catch a connecting flight. Whoever thought to have connecting flights arrive and depart from opposite ends of airport was crazy.
As for favorite airport, the hands-down winner is Hong Kong HKG. The fastest, easiest landings I’ve ever experienced. Nearly every time, my luggage has appeared by the time I’ve passed through immigration. The Airport Express is a wonder; I wish all airports had a dedicated high-speed train to go to the city center. A big bonus is how many magazine shops and bookshops HKG has. If you’re living in Asia and starved for English-language reading material, definitely load up before flying out.
What airports do you love and hate? Please share your stories in the comments.