The Best and Worst Airports in Europe

Airports are the gates through which visitors who fly in or out of every state must pass. More often than not, travellers get to spend some quality time in the airport waiting for their scheduled flight time. This is exactly why the airport environment should be conducive, comfortable and consoling as some occasions have people wait for almost a full day before getting aboard their flight or getting picked up after disembarking.

Hence, the facilities in an airport become as important as the flights it offers as people need to feel at ease just before and after their trip. They play a major role in determining if an airport is befitting or not. Meanwhile, all airports are not of the same standard. We have the excellent, the good, the bad and the terrible; and in this article, we take a closer look at the 10 worst and best airports in Europe.

The ranking of the worst is based on an overall airport experience as determined by voters in the latest Airport Survey while that of the best is according to the Skytrax annual rankings. It was based on the impressions of over 13 million fliers from 112 countries. More than 550 airports were included in the survey, which covers 39 service and performance parameters including facility comfort, location of bathrooms, and the language skills of the airport staff.

Worst Airports in Europe

10. London Luton International Airport

  • Code: LTN
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Luton, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Owner: London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) and Luton Borough Council
  • Operator: London Luton Airport Operations Ltd
  • Elevation: 160 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 16,581,850
  • Website: www.london-luton.co.uk

Worst Airports
dailyrecord.co.uk

At London Luton, flights may be cheaper but every other thing is expensive. The terminal pass for all drivers is £2.50 and you get to pay for access to their Wi-Fi. Due to the frequent use of this airport by budget travellers, there’s not enough walking space neither are there comfortable sleeping lodges around.

9. Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport

  • Code: BGY
  • Location: Orio al Serio, Italy
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Operator: SACBO
  • Elevation: 238 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 13,857,257
  • Website: milanbergamoairport.it

Worst Airports

This has been on the worst airport list for several years now. However, slight improvements has been made over the years, like the recent installation of sleep pods and the opening of a landside lounge and a few more cafés. Sadly, the distance from the port (which is located at the outskirt) to Milan is a 50km journey and that is a lot of money if you are hiring a car.

8. Brussels Charleroi International Airport

  • Code: CRL
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Gosselies, Charleroi, Hainaut, Belgium
  • Owner: Government of Wallonia
  • Operator: Société Wallonne des Aéroports
  • Elevation: 187 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 8,029,680
  • Website: brussels-charleroi-airport.com

sleepinginairports.net

Although Brussels Charleroi receives flights from RyanAir, Wizz Air, Pegasus Airlines and Jetairfly, it is described by one voter as “unsuitable for passengers”. The terminal lacks basic facilities like sufficient seating, heat, outlets and free Wi-Fi. There are no 24-hour food options and there is no transport to the city centre late in the evening. However, it allows travellers to sleepover, and they have the floor to that effect if they do not bring along a cushion and a blanket.

7. Rome Ciampino International Airport

  • Code: CIA
  • Airport Type: Public/Military
  • Location: Ciampino, Italy
  • Owner: Government of Rome
  • Operator: Aeroporti di Roma
  • Elevation: 130 m
  • Passenger statistics: 5,879,496
  • Website: www.adr.it/ciampino

Worst Airports
sleepinginairports.net

Ciampino is a secondary airport for Rome that caters largely to budget airlines and travellers. Passengers get frustrated with the insufficient seats, long queues and drab architecture. Although the unlimited free Wi-Fi seems to overshadow the overall lack of facilities, the cold overnight temperature brings everyone back to reality. The only good thing about Ciampino is its efficient connection with Rome’s primary train station.

6. Corfu International Airport 

  • Code: CFU
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Garitsa, Corfu, Greece
  • Owner: Greek Government
  • Operator: Fraport Greece
  • Elevation: 2 m
  • Passenger statistics: 3,275,897
  • Website: cfu-airport.gr

sleepinginairports.net

To show the magnitude of how bad Corfu International Airport is, a traveller once said: “our prison population have deluxe standards of food, entertainment and comfort in comparison to this unhygienic cesspit of an airport”. Passengers are not to be blamed for complaining. Corfu International is small, drab and sparsely furnished with uncomfortable chairs. Queues are consistently long as staff do not seem interested in helping travellers out. There are no shopping malls and the in-house café serves but only but a handful out of teeming travellers.

5. Berlin Schönefeld International Airport 

  • Code: SXF
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Schönefeld, Brandenburg, Germany
  • Owner: Berlin Government
  • Operator: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH
  • Elevation: 48 m
  • Passenger statistics: 12,725,937
  • Website: berlin-airport.de

Worst Airports
paulkilduff.com

Berlin Schönefeld predominantly serves low-cost airlines travelling in Europe, like Condor, RyanAir and easyJet. Voters described the terminal’s facilities as borderline archaic, smaller than the passengers and with very few chairs, restaurants and shops. However, passengers enjoy free one hour WiFi and a night sleep inside the waiting hall.

4. Crete Heraklion International Airport

  • Code: HER
  • Airport Type: Public/Military
  • Location:  Heraklion, Crete Island, Greece
  • Owner: Crete State Government
  • Elevation: 35 m
  • Passenger statistics: 7,933,558
  • Website: www.airport-heraklion.com

“This is the worst airport I have ever been to. Unhelpful staff, a ridiculous system where there is mostly only 1 X-Ray machine working,” a traveller lamented. Every airport has queues but that of Crete Heraklion is epic. If you desire a less stressful trip, survey respondents recommend avoiding Crete Heraklion International at all costs during summer.

3. Rhodes International Airport 

  • Code: RHO
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Paradeisi, Island of Rhodes, Greece
  • Owner: Greek State
  • Operator: Fraport Greece
  • Elevation: 6 m
  • Passenger statistics: 5,542,567
  • Website: rho-airport.gr

Worst Airports
panoramio.com

The lobby of this airport might look clean and classy, but its all deceit. A traveller once commented that the toilets have no toilet seats on any of them. There is no toilet paper, no soap to wash hands and no towels to dry. From check-in to security to duty-free shopping, passengers report finding queues and under-staffing problems quite literally everywhere. Just in case you plan to go through that route, go with everything you might need for your waiting and of course, a big bag of patience.

2. Santorini Thira National Airport 

  • Code: JTR
  • Airport Type: Public 
  • Location: Kamari, Island of Santorini, Greece
  • Owner: Greek State
  • Operator: Fraport AG and Copelouzos
  • Passenger statistics: 2,300,408
  • Elevation: 39 m
  • Website: jtr-airport.gr
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sleepinginairports.net

At Santorini Thira, voters complain of limited sitting space, minimal restaurants, and numerous flaws with the security processes. It is also not a clean place to stay for long as it is usually crowded and has no air-conditioner. Survey respondents recommend that this terminal be torn down and rebuilt from scratch as its present state is dilapidated.

1. Beauvais-Tille International Airport

  • Code: BVA
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location:Tillé, France
  • Operator: Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI) de l’Oise
  • Elevation: 109 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 3,980,000
  • Website: aeroportparisbeauvais.com

blogcdn.com

Situated 88 km away from Paris, a voter calls Beauvais-Tille International “the 7th Circle of Hell”. Passengers often feel dumped upon arrival in the middle of nowhere, and usually find it time-consuming getting to Paris, with no affordable options for public transport. Wi-Fi is available at a cost, but it could take forever to get the password from the airport authorities.

These are The Best Airports in Europe Right Now

10. London City Airport

  • Code: LCY
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Newham, London, England
  • Owner: Consortium of AIMCo, OMERS, OTPP and the Kuwait Investment Authority
  • Operator: London City Airport Ltd
  • Elevation: 6 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 5,100,025
  • Website: londoncityairport.com

Best Airports
thedrum.com

London City offers a special business-class-only flight to New York’s JFK International Airport. It also offers travelers direct access to London’s booming central business district. It has an estimated yearly passenger of about 5 million and was previously ranked Number 9 best airport in Europe. This airport is awesome because it is beautiful, clean and located in the heart of the English capital.

9. Madrid-Barajas International Airport

  • Code: MAD
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location:
  • Owner: ENAIRE
  • Operator: Aena
  • Elevation: 610 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 61,734,037
  • Website: aena.es

globalcarrentals.co.uk

With an estimated yearly passenger size of 61 million, Madrid-Barajas is one of the busiest airports in Europe and serves as a hub for Iberia Airlines as well as Air Europa. Although they lack dinning options, it is compensated by the stylish architecture of the facility.

8. Cologne Bonn Airport 

  • Code: CGN
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Cologne, Germany
  • Owner: City of Cologne, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the City of Bonn and two counties.
  • Operator: Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH
  • Elevation: 92 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 12,957,828
  • Website: cologne-bonn-airport.com

amazonaws.com

In a year, over 12 million passengers travel through Cologne Bonn. It is located just 15 kilometres (9 miles) southeast of Cologne, Germany, and is a major hub for the budget carrier German wings. CGN retains its previous ranking of Number 8 and is praised by Skytrax for its modern architecture and clean/efficient terminal buildings.

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7. Helsinki Airport

  • Code: HEL
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Vantaa, Helsinki, Finland
  • Owner: State-owned
  • Operator: Finavia
  • Elevation: 55 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 21,861,082
  • Website: www.helsinkiairport.fi

Best Airports
ukintpress.com

HEL is located 20 kilometres north of the Finish capital. It is home to Finnair and a major hub for Norwegian Air Shuttle. It is really an amazing place to pass time as passengers can engage in a book swap, see the airport’s art gallery, or view its scenic terrace.

6. Copenhagen Airport 

  • Code: CPH
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Kastrup, Tårnby, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Owner: Københavns Lufthavne
  • Operator: Københavns Lufthavne
  • Elevation: 5 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 30,256,703
  • Website: cph.dk

Flickr/brewbooks

Copenhagen is one of the busiest in Northern Europe and the 6th best in Europe from the previous ranking. It is a major base of operations for Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle and boasts a whooping annual passengers estimate of over 30 million.

5. Frankfurt Airport 

  • Code: FRA
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Owner: Fraport
  • Operator: Fraport
  • Elevation: 111 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 70,560,987
  • Website: frankfurt-airport.com

Flickr/Cristian Bortes

FRA is the third-busiest airport in Europe, allowing over 70 million people fly in and out through it every year. Also, it has one of the best roofing interiors ever and movement between the terminals are easy. At Frankfurt Airport, one can find so many places to shop and eat. There’s also the captivating view of Lufthansa’s fleet of more than 270 jets as they take off and land at different intervals.

4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

  • Code: AMS
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Haarlemmermeer, North-Holland, Netherlands
  • Owner: Royal Schiphol Group
  • Operator: Royal Schiphol Group
  • Elevation: -3 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 71,706,999
  • Website: schiphol.nl

Best Airports
tncp.net

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest in Europe that serves KLM, Transavia, and Delta. At Schiphol, travellers can spend their time in its library reading up good books while waiting for their flights.

3. London Heathrow Airport 

  • Code: LHR
  • Airport Type: 
  • Location: Hillingdon, Greater London, England, UK
  • Owner: Heathrow Airport Holdings
  • Operator: Heathrow Airport Ltd
  • Elevation: 25 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 80,844,310
  • Website: www.heathrow.com

Flickr/eGuide Travel

With over 80 million passengers passing through every year, LHR left its previous rank of Europe’s number 4 best airport to Number 3. Heathrow is the world’s third-busiest airport and the largest of the five primary airports serving London. Although the airport is currently going through renovation, its seven-year-old Terminal 5 building was named the best airport terminal in the world by Skytrax.

2. Zurich Airport 

  • Code: ZRH
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Kloten, Rümlang, Oberglatt, Winkel and Opfikon all in the Zurich canton
  • Owner: Flughafen Zürich AG
  • Operator: Flughafen Zürich AG
  • Elevation: 432 m
  • Passenger Statistics:
  • Website: zurich-airport.com

Flickr/patrick_nouhailler

Zurich Airport is only 8 miles from the heart of Zurich and offers passengers with an extended layover, bicycle and inline-skate rentals, and excursions to the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne. Serving as home to Swiss International Air Lines and a hub linking Switzerland’s largest city with the rest of the country, ZRH stepped up its game from being number 3 in the previous ranking to number 2 best airport in Europe.

1. Munich Airport 

  • Code: MUC
  • Airport Type: Public
  • Location: Munich, Germany
  • Owner: Flughafen München GmbH
  • Operator: Flughafen München GmbH
  • Elevation: 453 m
  • Passenger Statistics: 47,959,885
  • Website: munich-airport.de

Best Airports
Wikimedia Commons

Munich Airport maintained its topmost spot from the previous ranking and is not about to step down any moment soon. With an estimated yearly passenger of over 47 million, MUC has been rated the best airport in Europe by Skytrax. Located northeast of downtown Munich, MUC is one of the busiest airports in Europe and the second-busiest in Germany, after Frankfurt. It serves as a major hub for Air Berlin, Lufthansa, and Condor, and its pros include airy, glass-heavy architecture and a nearby visitors park featuring a mini-golf and a display of historic aircraft.

Amira Daniel
Amira Daniel
Amira is a personal finance and entertainment writer by trade with several years of experience covering businesses, CEOs, and celebrity profiles, her favourite subjects include business and personal finance, entertainment, celebrities, and travel. When she's not writing, you can find her reading or catching up on any of her favourite series

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