As an Angeleno who calls both LAX and BUR home, I may be a little biased, but I was shocked to see my two airports as ranked best in the nation and worst in the world…
In a bid to stay relevant, Fodor’s has entered the travel awards business and just came out with its best and worst lists for 2019. Interestingly (and coincidentally, Fodor’s assures me), the two airports I use most wound up at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Burbank-Hollywood Airport, just a short drive from my house, took the top honor for its “shenanigan-free experience”. I do love Burbank Airport and agree that you can park your car, walk across the street to the terminal, pass through security, and board your flight in under five minutes except perhaps during the early morning rush. That’s why I love it. I can literally leave my house less than an hour before departure and comfortably make my flight. And although there are no lounges and few amenities at the airport, especially in Terminal B, a renovation project is making the airport more comfortable.
Hear us out: it’s not flashy or even state-of-the-art. In fact, we love Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) for everything it’s not. Burbank is an airport free of most of the hassles that take the fun out of travel plans. It’s an agreeable airport in a perfect location, which is why it’s at the top of our list of airports to love.
So I’m not surprised that Burbank received a high ranking, though I would also call it one of the ugliest in the country. But I was taken aback by the poor score that LAX received.
LAX: The Worst?
Here’s why Fodor’s hates LAX:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the fourth busiest airport in the world—87.5 million people flew through it in 2018—but for the poor souls who aren’t merely killing time in a layover, those who woefully call this their point of dis- or embarkation, they are forced to endure the purgatorial nightmare of traffic that leads to and from each of LAX’s nine terminals (as many terminals as Dante’s hell has circles). Thanks to the improbably stupid design of its catastrophic horseshoe motor-loop, it regularly requires 30 minutes to travel the short mile from the outskirts of the airport to most of its terminals. And because Los Angeles was built as a city beholden to the automobile, there is no other way to arrive or depart from this maddening complex of suffering but through the interminable traffic.
That is quite an exaggeration. I won’t dispute that at the height of late-evening rush hour on busy travel days it does take 30 minutes to get from the I-105 airport exit to Terminal 4. But most of the time I can make it from my house to the terminal in under 40 minutes…and I live 20 miles from the airport. Whether for my own trips or for friends or family, I’m at LAX all the time…it is not that bad.
And terminal renovations that are creating clean and modern terminals will further alleviate congestion as construction progresses. Los Angeles will also introduce a “People Mover” / Metro connection t0 LAX. Trust me, it’s not that bad.
> Read More: Will “People Mover” Fundamentally Change LAX?
Here’s the full list of “winners” in 2019:
- Best US Airport:
- Winner – Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)
- Runner-up – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
- Best International Airport:
- Winner – Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
- Runner-up – Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)
- Best Airport Shopping:
- Winner – London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
- Runner-up – Tokyo Haneda
- Best Airport for Foodies:
- Winner – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Runner-up – Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
- Best Tiny Airport:
- Winner – Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
- Runner-up – Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)
- Worst Airport in the World:
- Winner – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
I’ll be happy to stipulate that Burbank is one of the top airports in the nation considering its in the heart of Los Angeles County. But I’m not conceding that LAX is the worst airport. Putting my bias aside, LAX has made great progress over the last few years and continues to get better.
Do you find LAX the worst airport in the world?