Are Us Airports Really That Bad?

I haven't travelled in the States for many years and my pre-9/11 experiences were no problem at all.
It depends!

If the TSA employees have something more entertaining to do other than being sadistic to you, ( such as keeping a new mother from taking brest milk on or off the planes, which she followed all their regulations but they still try to intimidate, humiliate her and stop her from bringing the milk threw their checkpoints), then you will have no problem.

But if they have nothing to do, are bored, you are nice and polite to them; you will have a lot of issues and probably get strip searched.

The transportation and airports are top knotch, but the senseless non-effective security policies are rediculous.
Not that bad for landings and takeoffs though.Have you ever landed at Congonhas city airport in Sao Paulo? It's a real travel experience.You can slso check it out on YouTube
This article was probably written by the same people that wrote the articles about being able to live and eat in Buenos Aires super cheap.. Most US airports aren't bad. Sure there are exceptions, like on Thanksgiving or Xmas because everyone and their uncle are trying to get somewhere but for the most part, they aren't going to make you crazy.
My last trip to the States (about three months ago) I flew to Miami then to St Louis. On the way back I went from St Louis via Dallas.

In Miami, I arrived in the morning, around 8:00 am. There was at least one other arrival going through immigration and customs. I think I was in line for less than 5 minutes. Most people nowadays seem to go through the automated immigration kiosks with no problems. I can't because of a funny couple of characters in my last name. But with everyone going through the automated kiosks I didn't have to wait hardly at all. I waited for my bags about 15 minutes. Re-checked them in for continuation to St Louis by dropping them off at the airline's baggage are right outside the exit for customs. Then I went and had a wonderful breakfast TGI Friday right there in the terminal (I had scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, toast and pancakes!! Imagine how TGIF is here. Hehe). Arrival and leaving of the terminal in St Louis couldn't have been more than 15-20 minutes until I was greeted by my folks, who I was visiting.

On my way out, in St Louis my folks and I got to the terminal a little early and sat and enjoyed a decent lunch together before it was time for me to think about going through security. The line was fairly short (maybe 20-25 people), though my mileage status allowed me to skip the line. Once into security, I had two carry-on items that were full of spices (dry). I had 3 cans of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (fairly big cylinders) and about 4 cans of Lawry's Season Salt (smaller cylinders) and some tall tins of Old Bay seafood seasoning. At the x-ray machine, the officer asked me to review my bags and he asked me what was in the cylinders. I told him (without being a smart-ass) and he said, "OK, but I need to test for explosive residue". It took him all of about 3 minutes to pull out a cloth, wipe a couple of cylinders and put the cloth in the testing machine, while I put my shoes back on and loaded my three laptops back into my bags. No problem, he passed me on, chuckling when I told him why I had so many spices with me. Maybe 5 minutes going through security.

In Dallas, on the way out, I was able to sit down and have a nice meal at a Mexican restaurant, bought some Dallas Cowboys hats and a "number 1" Styrofoam hand for our girls, and a nice watch for my wife.

In both Miami and Dallas, I had to take a train from one terminal to the next. Signs pointed out exactly where I had to go, maybe ten minutes in both airports waiting for the next train and then riding on the train. No problems.

I had a worse time getting to the airport in St Louis than I did at any point in my travels getting through lines and such, coming or going, at either of the two major, and one minor, airports in my trip.

I despise taking off my shoes and getting out my computer equipment to see if it really works (which half the time they don't bother with actually turning them on). I don't really care about stepping into that scanning chamber and lifting my arms. If it would make things faster and those were more reliable, I'd think that would be a great time-saver. I despise what the US government has done to make things "safer" for passengers (statistically, things were quite safe before 9/11).

But it ain't all that bad, particularly when you treat the TSA folk like people doing their job and not like people whose sworn duty in life is to make life harder for you.

But would I travel by air the day before or after Thanksgiving? Hell no - of course it's going to suck! It always has, ever since I can remember. Notice when it is the BBC wrote that article.

Of course, many people have bad times int he airports all the time, for various reasons. Are US airports worse than others? Maybe. I've had bad experiences in New York, in London's Heathrow, and here in Buenos Aires. In something like 25 years of traveling all over the world, I've never noticed any more or less in the States than other places, with the exception of having to take my damned shoes off.
"Our security protocols are needlessly tedious, and the connection process for passengers arriving from overseas is horrendously time-consuming. All passengers arriving from other countries are required to clear immigration, re-check their bags, and undergo the Transport Security Administration rigmarole, even if they're merely in transit to a third country."

For a second I thought she was talking about Heathrow.


Active Member
Out of all the US airports, SFO is my favorite. It has good restaurants and efficient. Way better than any of the Lantin America airports. Better than many European airports too,
Agreed about SFO. It seems to be the only airport where they don't just serve greasy junk. My only gripe is that the immigration line can be hellacious at times...although nothing compared to Dallas or Miami. The last time I arrived from EZE to DFW, I swear they had four officers to check documents for multiple planes arriving at the same time.
Love the Bill Bryson comment that staff at US airports are always so mean and grumpy because having to attend to passengers gets in the way of their stuffing their faces eating time...