It’s that time of the year again when you need to dedicate serious planning to your vacation preparations for the holiday season. Time, money, fun activities and family commitments will take priority, so the last thing you want to be worried about are flights. A big part of your travel plans that you often don’t have any control over. 

Air travel can be a daunting experience, especially when you find yourself in an airport known for its poor reputation. While many airports in the United States offer smooth and efficient journeys, there are a few notorious ones that have earned a reputation for long lines, rude staff, and overall unpleasant experiences. Here are some of the worst airports in the US, rated by travelers to look out for or completely avoid if you can. Keep in mind that improvements can happen over time, so your experience may vary. Let’s dive into this list!

1. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) – New York, New York

LaGuardia Airport consistently ranks as one of the worst airports in the US. Travelers complain of outdated facilities, limited dining options, and confusing layouts. The airport is often crowded, and flight delays are frequent due to its aging infrastructure. Thankfully, there is a major ongoing renovation project aimed at transforming LaGuardia into a more modern and passenger-friendly hub, but for now, it remains a frustrating experience for many.

2. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – Newark, New Jersey

Newark Liberty International Airport, located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, suffers from overcrowding and congestion. Travelers report long security lines, unfriendly staff, and a lack of cleanliness. While the airport’s proximity to New York City is an advantage, it doesn’t make up for the overall negative experience many passengers encounter.

3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – Chicago, Illinois

Chicago O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the US, which unfortunately contributes to its reputation as a traveler’s nightmare. Delays are common, and navigating the sprawling terminals can be confusing. Passengers often experience delays, missed connections, and crowded waiting areas. While the airport has made efforts to improve, it still has a long way to go to match the satisfaction of travelers.

4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – Los Angeles, California

LAX is another major hub plagued by overcrowding and traffic congestion. Travelers face long lines at security, limited seating, and outdated facilities in some terminals. To add to your woes, the airport’s layout can be confusing, with terminals scattered across a large area, making connecting flights a challenging experience. Despite being a gateway to the glamorous city of Los Angeles, LAX can leave travelers frustrated and exhausted.

5. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – New York, New York

John F. Kennedy International Airport is another New York City airport that often ranks among the worst in the US. Travelers cite long customs lines, poor communication, and a lack of amenities as some of their major grievances. The airport’s aging infrastructure and overcrowding can make for a stressful start or end to any trip.

6. Miami International Airport (MIA) – Miami, Florida

Miami International Airport, while offering a gateway to the vibrant city of Miami and its beautiful beaches, has its share of problems. Passengers often complain about rude staff, chaotic immigration and customs procedures, and a lack of cleanliness in some areas. Like other airports on this list, it can be a hit-or-miss experience.

While the United States boasts many well-run and traveler-friendly airports, it’s important to be aware of the ones that have earned a bad reputation over time. When planning your next trip, consider these factors and choose your airport wisely to help you and your loved ones enjoy a smoother journey. Remember that improvements may be ongoing at some of these airports, so it’s worth checking for updates to see if your travel experience will be better than expected. Safe travels!

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