The Bloody Mary awards are back


When you see this sight, you're in good hands. Image via Wikipedia

Fresh off another fun, holiday-season travel experience, the Mary’s are back. Those breathless with anticipation can now stretch their legs after that 4-hour EasyJet cattle drive, and prepare to disembark. Be assured, I spent at least two minutes considering whether that last sentence deserved to be unleashed upon the public.

It’s been another year of removing shoes, flight delays, long immigration lines and general nonsense associated with the airport experience. This post is my only revenge.

We are into the second annual Mary’s, and hope for many more productive years. I think we’ll switch things up and get the negatives out of the way first. We need a new name for the worst airports in the world, as last year’s name – the Lindsay Lohan’s – seems to have dropped off the radar this year.

This year, the worst airports worldwide will be collectively known as the Kardashian Family of airports. What, you could do better?

Let’s review the criteria that the panel (me) uses to give out a Kardashian:

  1. It must be poorly organized
  2. It must have unfriendly staff
  3. I must personally really dislike it

And away we go.

We have at least one new Kardashian this year, as I have expanded my horizons even further. Our third place winner (?) goes to Chhatrapati Shivaji airport in Mumbai. Security personnel were not only disgruntled, but also expected you to have deep knowledge of their archaic procedures. On top of that, I was left standing waiting for a pat down for enough time to ponder whether it was all really worth it. When you are left to consider deep philosophical questions in an airport, you can be assured that a Kardashian is not far behind.

Philadelphia International added in another strong(?) recent performance to reassert their status as a flag-bearing member of the Kardashian clan. Long security lines, a distinct lack of any indication of where one might need to go, and a general sense of apathy amongst the staff lead to a purely awful airport experience. If you need the parking shuttle, better grab a cheesesteak…

Paris Charles De Gaulle – lost bags, multiple shuttle-connected terminals, and architecture that adds to the impression that not even a particle of light could escape, make Charles De Gualle more than just a Kardashian in-law.

Now that we have the negatives out of the way, let’s look at this year’s All-Star airports. The criteria for the world’s best airports are pretty much the reverse of the Kardashians…but with bonus points for the ability to get your hands on a solid bloody mary.

Dubai International airport is heaven for airport shoppers. Couple that with an excellent business class lounge, good service on Air Emirates, and the occasional spotting of a Saudi prince, and you have yourself an excellent airport experience. Get a shoe shine from the Phillipino shoe shine guys, and treat yourself to conversation that quickly gets beyond the normal BS.

London Heathrow is one of the busiest, if not the busiest airport in the world. Yet it still manages to move people through quickly. Sign yourself up for the Iris reader and cruise through Immigration with only minor bouts of grumpiness (inevitably, you will find at least one muppet that can’t match their eyes to the circles ahead of you in line). I am thankful that my current ‘home airport’ finds its way into the world’s top three for the second year in a row.

Pittsburgh International – Yes, I am a complete homer. However, you just can’t match the feeling of arriving into a modern, near-empty airport. The feeling of being relaxed is an airport is a rarity, and somehow, Pittsburgh delivers. It doesn’t hurt that TGI Friday’s fires up a solid Mary, even if it is just a mix. Just up the road, Quaker Steak and Lube’s buffalo wings mean that a tasty delight (and higher cholesterol) is not far away.

Well, fire up a Mary and contemplate your own experiences. Leave your best and worst airports/experiences in the comments section. Especially if you disagree.



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