Airports You May Want To Avoid In 2024

As the world of travel continues to evolve, certain airports around the world have gained notoriety for various reasons. In 2024, travelers might want to consider avoiding a few specific airports due to persistent issues like neverending construction, stressful overcrowding, or less-than-ideal services. Here's a rundown of 10 airports you may want to steer clear of this year and, perhaps, consider touching down somewhere else instead. 

Let's begin with the most stressful airport in the world, Machester Airport (MAN) in the United Kingdom. A title that, surely, not one airport wants to carry. According to a study conducted by Hawaiian Islands, reviews of MAN showed that 82.5% of customers experienced stress. A key hub in the U.K., the airport has been facing increasing challenges with delays and understaffing. Passengers frequently experience long waiting times at check-in and security, baggage belt dysfunctions, and disruptions in terminal services. In 2024, these issues might be further compounded by ongoing construction work aimed at expanding and modernizing its facilities.

Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Philippines

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines, has struggled to keep pace with the rapid growth in air travel and has often faced challenges related to congestion, aging infrastructure, and overcrowding. These issues have led to waiting, waiting, and more waiting at nearly every step of the airport experience. It handles a large volume of travelers, many of whom complain about rude airport staff, intense security checks, and poor sanitation standards. Unfortunately, a general air of stress, as well as taxi scams and the occasional luggage theft at NAIA, make for a bad first impression as the primary gateway to the Philippines.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Canada

The most stressful airport in North America, Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), is also Canada's busiest airport. With around 50 million passengers flying in and out of this major hub every year, it's no surprise that it's heavily overwhelmed. It's been known for its lengthy immigration lines, time-consuming security checks, and flight delays that have completely derailed entire trips. These factors can lead to a frustrating travel experience, especially during holidays and peak travel times. Although YYZ is making efforts to improve its operations, its reputation has yet to follow.

Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), France

You'd think that Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport would be the perfect welcome to one of the wine capitals of the world — alas, it is not. Though much smaller than France's major international airports, it handles an intense volume of passengers. In 2024, it is expected to continue grappling with issues related to seasonal traffic peaks, particularly during the wine tourism season. The airport struggles with limited terminal space (stay away from Billi Terminal) and amenities, which can lead to overcrowding and a lack of seating areas. Plus, the occasional worker strike and perpetual understaffing don't help either. With a 2.7-star review on Google, BOD is best avoided. 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), USA

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the busiest airports in the world, is known for its sprawling size and heavy traffic, both in the air and on the ground. Serving as a major gateway to international destinations, especially across the Pacific, LAX plays a crucial role in global air travel. However, if you want to avoid crowded terminals, subpar customer service, and frequent congestion in and around the airport, don't fly through LAX, especially during the holidays. Despite these issues, LAX continues to undergo significant renovations, including developing new terminals and improved transportation links — but the construction feels neverending, and impatience is in the air.

São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), Brazil

GRU is not a favorite among travelers for its inefficient, faraway terminals, nor pilots, for its short runway and scary landing. The airport, serving as the primary international gateway to Brazil, is notorious for Portuguese-only customer service, bad signage, no elevators, and long lines at immigration. Additionally, its location, subject to heavy traffic congestion in São Paulo, can lead to difficulties for passengers trying to reach or leave the airport. In 2024, these issues, coupled with the expected increase in passenger volume for upcoming events such as the Brazil Carnival, might make it a less desirable transit point.

Jeddah King Abdulaziz Airport (JED), Saudi Arabia

The Jeddah King Abdulaziz Airport in Saudi Arabia, serving as a gateway for pilgrims to Mecca, faces numerous harsh criticisms from passengers. It is notorious for rude staff and aggressive security, operational inefficiencies, lack of facilities, and sanitation issues. Despite being the busiest in Saudi Arabia and handling a significant number of international flights, it doesn't offer Wi-Fi unless you have a Saudi Arabia phone number. Also, if you're planning to do some duty-free shopping, this isn't the best place to do it — shops are few and far between, and alcohol is off the menu.

Heraklion Airport (HER), Greece

Island airports rarely get a good rep, and unfortunately, Heraklion Airport joins those ranks. Serving as the primary gateway to Crete, HER airport grapples with seasonal overcrowding, especially during the summer tourist rush. In 2024, this situation may get worse due to an anticipated rise in global tourism. Travelers should expect long queues, not-so-sanitary washrooms, aged infrastructure, as well as potential delays in baggage handling. The airport's layout and the high volume of flights could also contribute to operational challenges and a hectic atmosphere. With a sad 2.6-star rating on Google and no A.C., the Cretian airport is a no-go.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), USA

Despite being a major international hub, JFK is commonly known as one of those U.S. airports that are a total nightmare to fly in and out of. Expect overcrowding, delays, cancellations, a high volume of both domestic and international flights, rude TSA staff, and queues on queues. Ongoing construction projects aimed at fixing the aging infrastructure are expected to exacerbate some of these problems, leading to a more stressful travel experience. Passengers might find navigation through the airport's numerous terminals confusing, and the airport has been known for its unbelievably busy runways and inefficient security checkpoints.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Nigeria

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, serving as the major airport in Lagos, Nigeria, has been known for its challenges in managing high passenger traffic and infrastructure constraints. The airport's security screening process is reported by many to be strangely excessive, with multiple random checkpoints. Delays are commonplace, high traffic congestion is the norm, staff strikes can throw a wrench in, and operational problems are all around. Staff frequently ask for and take illegal bribes — so fly into MMIA with some thick skin. Furthermore, the airport has faced criticisms for the maintenance of its facilities, or lack thereof.