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June 09, 2008


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I post regularly now at FlyerTalk. Those people make this look like nothing.


Amman is probably the best Airport I've been to in the Arab World.

Cairo's was crawling with storm troopers and qubadai, though the luggage carts were free, the mutaksis were...vicious. Oh, and immigration was more interested in tea and gossip than my passport. Getting back out, bribery everywhere. It was a relief to get into Frankfurt.

Beirut combines the worst of Charles de Gaulle with the worst of the Middle East.

Muskat and Sana'a are like Hartford, if run by Arabs, or Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Small, hot, chaotic to the max.

The Gulf Airports are, or were, in the process of modernization. Hopefully, they'll get better.

Jordan is a great place in the Arab world. A very, very clean big town.


CDG is pretty good as long as you fly in and out of terminal 2. Which means flying Air France...

Flying through terminal 1... not so good, the terminal shows its age and the long walk to the departure gates (where you have to abandon all hopes of material comfort) is not a picnic.

But transfers are as bad if not worse at Schipol (where switching from transatlantic to local/European flights takes 35 minutes of brisk walk, excluding security) or Frankfurt (ditto, plus buses because 3/4 of the time the planes are parked way out from the actual terminal).

I also have nightmarish memories of navigating Munich alone with an infant, a stroller, and a ton of baby gear, not easy when you have to go up and down at least 4 times and the escalators block access for baggage carts (and strollers).

Hmmm... Looking back I think enjoyable airports are an oxymoron.


Oh, I think not. I love O'Hare. With a demented passion. National in DC is on par wit h that.

I sort of like JFK.

Mind, flying into serious police states changes what you're up for. I've heard terrible things about Tehran that combine the wost of flight delays and crap organization, plus hot, plus police groping.

Kim H

Tirana has both a brand new airport and a lovely new road to it. Most people say it is one of their favorite airports now- it's bright, beautiful and well run. The road is straight, smooth and really quick.

I think you'd be surprised by the changes!

Colin Alberts

Being older, the Amman airport (AMM/OJAI) hasn't quite mastered the whole coffee shop right near the gate thing, which I hope will be near universal in few more years.

In 2004, Security at AMM confiscated my favorite Swiss Army knife. They promised to place it in storage for me to reclaim when I would be coming back through a few weeks later.

They lost track of it. I still want it back.

Noel Maurer

Am I the only one here who ranks airports by places to drink? Other side of security, as near to the gate as possible. Decent food a plus.

Yes, I recognize that Logan is terrible by pretty much any other measure. But other than ease of transfer and easy immigration, what else matters?

BTW, Heathrow's security checks, much improved. Amazing what a difference being able to keep your shoes on and your laptop in your bag can make.

Fidel Pardussi

Hi Doug, I didn't know you had a personal blog -- I always read you in 'a fistful of euros'.

Anyhow, the reason I'm writing is to ask when was the last time you flew to Tirana because last year (around June) a completely new terminal (the entire airport) was opened and there is now a new road linking Mother Teresa Airport with central Tirana. It's an amazing improvement from what it used to be, so I wanted to know whether you think the new one is not good. If that's the case I dread to think what you made of the previous road!

This page contains some photos while under construction:

More photos are under 'Press' section and 'Picture gallery subsection'.




Dear frequent airport sufferers:

The book Changing Planes, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is excellent. The introduction is funny and takes the horribleness of airports as a point of departure for some lovely flights of fancy. And she's the daughter of anthropologists, which shows in her writing and just is generally helpful when writing about ...people.

That was sort of random; I guess I just plug my favorite author whenever reasonably relevant.


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