Just to stimulate a debate, I’ll give you my top 5 (or worst 5 – the worst at the top) and the reasons:
1. Brussels – see my post above
2. Frankfurt – incontrovertable proof that Germans do indeed have a well-developed sense of humour. Illegible design, long distances, repetitive security checks, narrow stairs between levels (the lifts are too slow), poor signage.
3. CDG – for the reasons posted above, Yes indeed, drab and boring.
4. Dublin – manages to display all the joys of CDG, but then this is tempered somewhat by Irish charm, which is why it’s not as bad as CDG
5. Vienna – utterly confusing design, confusing signage to compound this, and extremely surly staff.
And to double the controversy and to stimulate debate, my top 5 in Europe (in descending order):
1. Helsinki – clean, efficient, legible, great design and now even better with the new non-Schengen extension
2. Munich – the opposite of Frankfurt in so many ways
3. Oslo – efficient, calm, well-connected to the city, looks good
4. Copenhagen – would have been my number 2, but it’s in danger of becoming a shopping mall with planes now that MacQuarrie Group run it.
5. Dusseldorf – efficient and easy to use like MUC, but architecturally a lot less striking.
I could mention some great smaller European airports (Tallinn, Vilnius, Hamburg, for example) and some really bad ones (East Midlands, Baku, Naples, Bucharest). It’s just occurred to me how the better airports in my (albeit limited) analysis tend to be in Northern Europe and the poorer ones in the south, although that may just reflect my personal travel pattern.
I would also, for once, support VK on this one re LHR, it is getting better all the time (admittedly from a fairly low base!). It’s sad that we don’t harness natural light in the airports here and go for high ceilings – as VK says re LHR, many of the UK airports have depressingly drab and confining corridors often with an horrendous carpet rather than wooden floors etc.