A survey commissioned by the budget car rental company, Holiday Autos, has found that Orlando International Airport is the most confusing for British travelers to navigate, and it seems their U.S. counterparts are in complete agreement.
Online reviews of the Florida airport, said to be the 13th-busiest in the United States, are scathing, with complaints focusing on the poor design. Due to its sheer size, navigating from one point to another can be nightmarish, according to one frustrated flyer, with the enormous mall taking some time to traverse.
Another passenger said that because the layout of the airport is not user friendly, people need to really pay attention to the signs in an attempt to find out how to get to their correct terminal and gate. Further complicating matters, security areas are not clearly delineated. They have multiple entrances, which means that lines must merge at one point and obviously become longer.
In fact, there is a food court in the middle of the secured area, which means that anyone who wants to grab a bite to eat has to line up and go through the Transportation Security Administration gauntlet. On the other hand, if you’re in a secure zone already, there’s no use trying to get back to the food court — it’s one way only.
Maybe the airport planners were the same people who approved building a facility in Orlando, Florida without the benefit of air conditioning. You should be aware that neither the ticketing nor the security areas of the airport are air conditioned, so you can plan to add heat exhaustion to your list of woes.
Another airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta Georgia, is also condemned by passengers as confusing, but not due to a poor lay-out. The 4,700-acre airport is the largest in the world, and it’s also one of the busiest. Samantha Brown, host of the Travel Channel, is quoted in a Frommer’s article as saying, “Atlanta is well laid-out, but can be disorientating due to its overwhelming size. There are escalator rides so long I have forgotten where I was going. People complain about the crowds, but I once landed in ATL at 2am and found myself completely alone in one of the terminals and couldn’t find my way out. Now that was scary.”
Talk show host and Frommer’s editorial director, Pauline Frommer, says on the site that her choice of most confusing airport is Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It’s another behemoth, serving some 80 million passengers every year and Frommer says, “It’s huge, the signage is not good, and in the cases when I’ve asked directions from people who work there, they’ve sent me in the wrong direction. Last time I was there, I was flying in from New York and had to transfer to a plane to Nice. I sprinted, full out, for a good 40 minutes to get to my gate on time after a number of false turns.”
In the survey, where 2,000 people were questioned, nearly half said poor signage was the most common problem. Nearly as many were frustrated by the long distances they had to walk through terminals, especially when on a connecting flight, which trek is of course made more difficult if directions are not clear.
You’ve been warned!