I have been to many, many different airports while traveling. Some are very efficient and easy to get around, and some not so much. Here are some of the airports that I have traveled through and my experiences.
JFK – Good
Generally I have had good experiences at JFK. It is a huge airport, so sometimes getting from point A to point B can take time, but I think it is pretty efficiently laid out. Of course if it is the first airport you land at when you enter the US, you have to go through customs, before re-checking your luggage and continuing on your journey. They don’t have the most efficient way of doing this at JFK, I had to leave the terminal completely before re-checking my bag, which seemed like a waste of time. Different airports work differently, sometimes there’s a conveyor belt you put your luggage on right after customs and sometimes you have to go to counters and re-check in. Of course, if New York is your final destination, then you don’t have to worry about that.
Paris CDG – Worst
I always have problems at CDG. I always felt like it was a huge, disorganized airport. Switching from one terminal to another usually means having to go through security three times and passport control five. This made me miss my connecting flight at least four times. On top that, they tend to lose my luggage. Three times in a row my suitcase didn’t make it on the same flight as me. Once they had no idea where it went and it probably traveled around half the world, without me (lucky bastard). On top of that, the workers at CDG always seem to be surprised and annoyed at the fact that I don’t speak French. Isn’t CDG an international airport? Shouldn’t they assume I don’t speak French??
Zurich – BEST
I love the Zurich airport! Sure, it’s small and there isn’t much to do, but it’s SMALL and you don’t have to worry about making your connecting flight, because it only takes like 10 minutes to get from one end to the other. And now they even have Starbucks, which is a great addition to the already amazing airport. I never had a problem there (knocks on wood)! Even with a short layover I manage to get to my flight and even get coffee before boarding the flight. Whenever possible, I fly through Zurich because I’m never worried about making it on time.
Munich – OK
The Munich airport has its positives and its negatives. On one hand it’s a little confusing and the signs aren’t all that clear, so I wasn’t too sure of where I was going. On the other hand, though, they have free coffee! And what could possibly be better than free coffee after 10 hours on a plane? It was pretty good coffee too! Other than getting a little lost, I didn’t have any problems. Passport control was a little disorganized and I had to wait for quite some time, but it wasn’t too bad.
Amsterdam – Good
Amsterdam is one of my favorite airports to transfer at. It’s pretty big, but it is manageable and easy to get around. On top of that they have two Starbucks’s (I think you can tell coffee is very important to me :P). Sometimes it can get a little confusing, though, when you are traveling outside of the Schengen. From what I could tell, most of the international flights were directed through passport control and then through an interview process at gate D1. There they would scan your passport and interview you about where you are traveling and why and all the usual questions. Then they would tell you your actual gate number. Then you would go talk to another person, who would also scan your passport, type some things into the computer and then finally let you go to your gate, without telling you what he/she was doing. So, keep that in mind when transferring in Amsterdam.
Frankfurt – OK
Frankfurt Airport is enormous and usually feels like a ghost town, because of how big it is. It is pretty clear where you have to go, so even though it takes you quite a long time to get from one terminal to another, you don’t get lost. Read more about my experiences at the Frankfurt airport here!
Hope this is helpful! If you have anything to add, please comment and let us know what you thought about the different airports!