Worst airport transfer?

Travel Forums General Talk Worst airport transfer?

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1. Posted by PHOTOBOB (Budding Member 71 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Following on from the Taxi thread. What is the worst airport connection you have found?

Mine is between London City and Heathrow in the rush hour. We had flown through the night from Tokyo with KLM via Amsterdam. I had made a mistake when I booked and hadn't realised that all London Airports included LCY. When I tried to correct my error KLM wanted more than the entire trip to Japan to amend the ticket. We were stuck with getting across London by tube in the rush hour to our booked hotel room at Heathrow.

My wife eventually forgave me.

2. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1332 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Nothing quite as dramatic as that but I recall a very tight transfer at Vienna Airport a few years ago, when our flight from London was a little late in landing due to snow. Our friend Pete was flying in from Luxembourg, arriving about an hour before us, and we were all travelling on to Kharkiv on the same flight. We had to run between our arrival and departure gates, having texted Pete on landing to assure him we were on our way, and arrived at the gate to find him frantically stalling for time before boarding so that we would make it!

On our return journey we had a differently interesting transfer. We had allowed plenty of time at Vienna but our flight from Kharkiv was badly delayed because the inbound flight had left Vienna late due to an overnight snowstorm - it had taken the airport authorities some time to clear the runways and open the airport. Airline staff in Kharkiv said we would be better off staying overnight there and they would put us on a flight the next day, as there was a major conference in Vienna and that, compounded by the weather delays, meant most hotels were full and we might have to sleep at the airport. We decided to risk it and got into Vienna late evening, where Austrian Airline staff were distributing hotel and taxi vouchers - the rumours about full hotels having been exaggerated, it seemed. But we were asked if we had checked baggage and as we didn't they instead gave us tickets for a later Heathrow flight leaving shortly - meaning another run through the airport. We made it and got home the same night, albeit rather later than planned!

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1803 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

I've had a couple that would qualify - one wasn't the transfer but the flight I got and I don't think I've written about this before. I was flying from BWI (Baltimore) to Key West and I had to change planes in Miami. I had the two older girls and the baby with me. We got to Miami and all the flights had been delayed by thunderstorms. Finally the airport people took pity on me and told me that they had two seats on the little plane to Key West and suggested that the two girls (5 and 7 years old) could sit in one seat and I could have the other seat and hold the baby. So we did that. We were right by the door, and it didn't fit quite right, but we weren't going to be flying very high.

I think the worst time I ever had in an airport was at Heathrow - Flying in from Barcelona with my granddaughter last year - she was going on to Houston and I was going to Baltimore. Her plane left an hour before mine. They told her that she had to run off to get her plane - that was wrong. She had over an hour before she had to board. But she believed them and she left for her gate. That left me in the Heathrow wheelchair completely stuck with no way to get to the bathroom or get anything to eat or even ask for assistance to get to my next flight because those wheelchairs require you to push down on the back of them to move them. You can't move them by yourself if you are sitting in them.

Fortunately, I am not paralyzed. So eventually I got up and moved the wheelchair in front of the dispatch desk and sat down in it and said that I need to go to the bathroom and get to my flight. They wanted me out of there so they took me to my gate. Then no one would take me down the gangway to the plane (there was an escalator or an elevator involved). I was about the last person to board.

I don't think I have ever had a good transition at Heathrow - and I have transited Heathrow from 2007 to 2019 and no matter how much time I allow I'm almost always the last person on the plane because they don't give you a person to push the wheelchair until the plane is boarding and the way from the lounge to the gate is too complicated to do on your own.

We had a problem when we visited Tikal - we had vouchers for the trip and all along the way for the whole trip the vouchers were a surprise to the people who were to get them. (In one case there was no room at the Inn so they had to put us in a more expensive place.) We were in the Flores airport for a flight and they had no record of us and the plane was booked. There was no one at the airline desk (which was about the size of a good size science fair project) so I wandered around the airport - I found an energetic lady who spoke good English and she got up from her desk doing whatever was her main job, and she found us a flight on another airline back to Belize City. (we didn't pay any extra) The plane engines were leaking a little bit of oil so it was hard to take photos out the window, but we did get to Belize CIty to catch our flight back to the states.

There was also the time in Costa Rica where we flew in to Palmer Sud airport in a 10 seater plane. When it came time to fly back, the pilot who could fly that plane was sick. The only plane they had available only seated 4 counting the pilot. So that plane made three trips. We were on the last trip - I sat in the co-pilot seat. Bob and the other man were in the back. We got back to San Jose pretty late.

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2020, 17:09 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

4. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1654 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Most unpleasant transfer was returning from France via Montreal. We had to go through USA immigration in Montreal and they were the most rude people I've ever met. I was near tears by the time I got to the plane. Vowed never to use Air Canada or go through Canada again . . . and I haven't.

Most exciting was leaving Haiti once. Our oldest daughter was with me. We had been in Haiti over a month with no USA news so when we landed in Miami, we were surprised to discover the now-infamous air traffic controllers strike. The Miami Airport was at a standstill, jammed with people from all over the world and not many planes were departing. It was kind of fun because we kept running into people we knew and hadn't seen in ages. We were lucky because they were putting people on flights out in the order in which they had left that morning. We left Port-au-Prince at 7 AM so didn't have to wait more than a few hours to get a flight out. It was a bit strange because it was a local and we stopped at nearly every airport between Miami and Raleigh, North Carolina (our home airport at the time). We did get home and had an adventure.

5. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1114 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

There are two that come to mind. First is dreaded LAX where we were given bad information about a bus that was suppose to take us to our terminal for a connecting flight but instead took us out of the airport. Luckily it was doing a loop so it eventually came back and dropped us at our terminal but we lost a whole hour.

The other was in Auckland on our return flight where the security took so long we barely made it to our connecting flight. The weird thing was on the way to our destination the security had been so fast and we had a really tight connection of an hour so on the way back since we had double the time we thought this would be a breeze. We were so shocked when we turned the corner to find the line started at the end of the corridor.

6. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1654 posts) 6w 1 Star this if you like it!

Teoni, I understand "dreaded LAX" because it used to be our home airport and we just hated it. They were so rude to everyone; it was dirty and loud and nothing was convenient. It was not a good place to start and end a trip. We always used the Ontario (California) Airport when we could because it was so much nicer than LAX. So happy to be away from there . . . SFO is a nice airport.

7. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1114 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

Teoni, I understand "dreaded LAX" because it used to be our home airport and we just hated it. They were so rude to everyone; it was dirty and loud and nothing was convenient. It was not a good place to start and end a trip. We always used the Ontario (California) Airport when we could because it was so much nicer than LAX. So happy to be away from there . . . SFO is a nice airport.

I have had to use LAX twice and hated both experiences. The third time I went to USA I made a trip plan that avoided LAX. A lot of times you see those online travellers lists and you take them with a grain of salt but the one thing they get right is the list of worst airports; LAX deserves its place in the top five

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1654 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

If you need to be in the LA area, fly into Ontario airport (ONT). It's fairly new, clean and polite. It's farther out but worth the trip.

9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1803 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

I have only been through LAX twice (well on two trips - on the way out and on the way back for each) and neither time was that bad. No - Heathrow would be my nomination.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Aug-2020, 18:11 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

10. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 106 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

LAX isn't so bad if you are used to it and know what to expect, (it is my home airport) although I will admit I can't remember a trip in recent years when the Bradley terminal was not having some kind of construction.
On topic, I'm unclear whether you are asking about transfers from the airport to a hotel, condo, etc. or changing planes en route to your final destination.