The 10 Worst Airports in the World

The 10 Worst Airports in the World

By Joshua Arnfield・Last updated on 19 March 2024

Airports serve as critical junctions where millions of passengers navigate their way to and from destinations each year. Some provide outstanding services that enable visitors to whizz through to their gate, while others fall short of providing the seamless journey we desire. Drawing insights from the latest AirHelp Score, which assesses airport quality according to on-time performance, customer opinion, and food and shops, here’s who made the list of the 10 worst airports in the world.

10. Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP)

Score 6.63/10

The smaller of two airports serving Greater Jakarta and a metropolitan population of around 30 million people also doubles as the main airbase for the Indonesian air force. HLP is one of three Indonesian entries in the 10 worst airports in the world.

Despite its close proximity to the city and a low number of departing flights, visitors frequently criticize the journey to the airport, long wait times, and overcrowded departure lounges. Though it did receive good scores for customer opinion and food and shops, HLP’s downfall is its on-time performance. 

9. Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)

Score 6.60/10

For an airport that is the gateway to the Côte d-Azur — a region known for its glamorous beach resorts, sunshine, and tasty Mediterranean cuisine — one might expect MRS to boast some fine culinary offerings. Alas, visitors may be disappointed to learn that France’s rich culinary culture is not reflected in the meager selection of food outlets. Reviewers also complain about a lack of cleanliness and space, cementing its place among the worst airports in Europe.

8. Sofia Airport (SOF)

Score 6.57/10

Bulgaria’s main international airport is the outlier among the worst 10, being the best performer in terms of on-time performance, but the worst when it comes to customer opinion and food and shops — in other words, punctual, but not comfy! With a very limited number of retail outlets and restaurants, it might not be the worst thing that your flight’s more likely to depart on time.

7. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Score 6.56/10

Toronto’s primary airport scored as 2022’s worst airport in the world. But things are slowly on the up — last year it climbed to number 7. With tens of restaurants and cafes serving delicacies from all corners of the world, we’re confident that all tastebuds will be duly tickled. That being said, the airport’s on-time performance is below par. Reviewing customers cite long wait times, chaos claiming baggage, and an overall poor standard of customer service. It’s clear that in order to make its way out of the bottom 10 in 2024, YYZ needs to improve significantly.

6. Denpasar International Airport (DPS)

Score 6.55/10

A newcomer to the latest AirHelp Score and serving the popular tourist island of Bali, DPS is ranked highly (joint 17th) for its food and shops where an array of local and international eateries decorate the departure lounges in both domestic and international terminals. However, despite the promise of a good meal, Denpasar International Airport’s on-time performance leaves much to be desired. Many customer reviews reference long wait times at security and immigration checkpoints, meaning that the customer experience at the airport ultimately falls short. 

5. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG)

Score 6.51/10

Serbia’s largest and busiest international airport also scores as its worst. With reasonably average ratings for food and shops and customer opinion, the most significant shortcoming is its lowly rating for on-time performance. However, Belgrade is one of Europe’s hidden gems when it comes to tourism, so don’t let the airport ranking put you off.

4. Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS)

Score 6.48/10

Ranking among the worst airports worldwide for a second year running is Portugal’s largest airport located in the suburbs of Lisbon. Named after the famous Portuguese general, diplomat, and politician, LIS ferries passengers to domestic destinations, as well as to the wider European continent and even as far as North and South America. 

You’ll probably have time for a delicious pastel de nata or two while you wait for your flight to depart – by and large because the airport scores poorly in on-time performance – but at least it has a decent selection of restaurants, cafes, and shops.

3. London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

Score 6.43/10

Still down on pre-Covid numbers, LGW hosted a total of 32.9 million passengers in 2022 – over 50% of which flew with the budget airline easyJet. Though the airport received an excellent rating for a truly extensive range of food and shops (including Harrods,) — a clear improvement on the previous year — its ratings fell significantly for customer opinion and on-time performance, resulting in its final position: 192nd out of 194.

2. Malta International Airport (MLA)

Score 6.39/10

Malta is a small archipelago in the heart of the Mediterranean, a place of incredible natural beauty and architectural wonders, but Malta International Airport has been voted the worst airport in Europe. 

Though Japanese, Vietnamese and Maltese cuisines are available, the majority of cafes and restaurants are tailored to the tastes of Italians and Brits, the airport’s largest visitor groups by country. With a reasonable score for customer opinion, poor on-time performance is what ultimately consigns MLA to a spot among the world’s worst-scoring airports.

1. Banjarmasin Syamsudin Noor International Airport (BDJ)

Score 6.39/10

Having undergone extensive renovation and expansion work as recently as 2019, one might expect BDJ to figure a little higher on our list. However, the airport’s shiny new interior is undermined by a particularly poor on-time performance which means it takes the uncoveted prize for worst airport in the world. 

Despite taking the gong for #1 worst airport, BDJ does score highly for food and shop offerings. So whether passengers are looking for a simple snack or a sit down meal, we think they’ll be pleased.

Prepare for flight disruptions with AirHelp

Airports that might be disappointing one year, can be functional and luxurious hubs the next, and we certainly hope that will be the case for all 10 of this year’s world’s worst airports. 

But let’s face it, things do go wrong when we’re flying – and that’s why it pays to be prepared. Protect your future trips with AirHelp Plus – our annual membership that provides solutions including lounge access and easy payouts for flight disruptions. Get AirHelp Plus today and enjoy peace of mind when you fly.

Featured photo provided by London Gatwick Airport Media Centre

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