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On a recent trip to Spain, I had the pleasure of connecting through Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. The condition of some airports in the US appall me, and Newark ranks high on my worst airports list.
There were several leaky areas, requiring areas to be taped off.
The elevator doors were peeling and cracking.
Perhaps worst of all, the line to the women’s restroom can be terribly long. I’m talking 30+ people in line, which is probably because it’s the only restroom in the gate area, and quite a hike to the nearest one. These long lines happened on two separate visits to Newark.
And there was carpet EVERYWHERE, which makes rolling your luggage through the airport much more difficult than in should be. And not to mention that carpet isn’t very clean….
The Chicago O’Hare International Airport is also in need of a facelift.
I understand every now and then repairs need to be made to airports, but in general the US airports are lacking in amenities, cleanliness, and service.
US Airports Are Not Kid-Friendly
I flew with my 8 month old daughter on a trip to Michigan with a 3+ hour layover in Chicago. She loves to crawl, and there were no safe areas for her to play by herself — instead I had to go into a lounge (free, thanks to my credit card!) to use their kids’ activity room.
I was shocked to find no toys for her to play with — just 2 computers with games loaded on them, and a TV blaring. Fortunately, another little boy had brought his own toys to play with, and he politely shared them with my daughter.
Someone had also left a dirty diaper on the table (there was no trash can), and an employee refused to dispose of it and instead admonished us in the lounge for leaving it there.
The Best Airport in the World
Contrast the Newark and Chicago airports to other airports in the world, like Changi Airport in Singapore. This airport has been ranked the number 1 airport in the world for 5 straight years! It’s almost a destination by itself. I would love to check out the Forest Valley.
Or you can get lost in its Canopy Mazes.
You can catch a movie between flights, for free!
Not All Airports Can Be Like Singapore’s
Not all airports can be like Changi Airport in Singapore. But they should try to be. One of my favorite airports is the Madrid Barajas International Airport. This airport is so kid friendly it amazes me. They had a FREE kids’ play area with not one TV or computer in sight. Anyone can enter these play areas. You don’t need a Business or First Class ticket. And I didn’t see any leaky ceilings.
Even if you don’t have time to make it to the kids’ play area, there are kids’ playgrounds near every gate. What a great way to release kids’ energy before a long flight, instead of playing a computer game or watching TV!
Airports in the US need to up their game by getting rid of carpeting, modernizing their terminals, installing more restrooms, and have more kids’ play areas for ALL travelers to use. What are the worst airports on your list?