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Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 came in second on a list of the world's worst airport terminals, according to online travel guide Frommer's. This new notoriety for the Philippines' gateway follows on the heels of its selection last year as the world's worst airport by "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports." But Frommer's is in a different league as one of the globe's best-selling travel book series. Thus, its judgment carries more weight with the globe-trotting public. At least, Manila's airport was in illustrious company, as airport terminals in New York, Paris, Chicago, and Moscow also made it to the top ten worst list. The list is currently on Frommer's home page.
An unpleasant experience at Newark Airport prompted Frommer's travel editor Jason Clampet to select the best and worst airport terminals. In an article published in USA Today on Jan. 17, Gary Stoller says that Frommer's based its choices on five simple things: cleanliness, services, on-time departures, navigation and the ease of getting to and from a city's center.
Frommer's list of the best airports includes:
- Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
- Leifur Eriksson Air Terminal in Keflavik, Iceland;
- Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea;
- "Rock" Terminal in Wellington, New Zealand;
- JFK Airport Terminal 5 in New York;
- Changi International Airport Terminal 3 in Singapore;
- Menara Airport Terminal 1 in Marrakech, Morocco;
- Barajas Terminal 4 in Madrid, Spain;
- Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay; and
- Bilbao Airport Main Terminal in Spain.
"The most stunning feature is that the terminal consists of 210 white fiberglass tents that create a chimney effect cooling the hot desert air," Stoller quotes Frommer's regarding Hajj Terminal.
Frommer's list of worst airports, on the other hand, includes:
- JFK Airport Terminal 3 in New York;
- NAIA-1 in Manila;
- Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C in Moscow;
- Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 3 in Paris;
- Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan;
- LaGuardia Airport Terminal 5 in New York;
- Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport;
- Beauvais Airport in Paris; and
- Midway Airport in Chicago.
"Terminal 3 is known for endless immigration lines in a dank basement, an utter lack of food and shopping options, three crowded and confusing entry points, and hallways that could have been designed by M.C Escher for vomiting international travelers out onto an underground sidewalk with no cabs available," Stoller quotes Frommer's on New York's JFK Airport Terminal 3.
"For many travelers, an airport terminal provides the first impression — and the final word — about a destination. It's also a place where travelers spend much time, particularly waiting for departing or connecting flights," wrote Stoller, whose article did not describe NAIA-1 in particular.
The infamous NAIA Terminal 1 is no stranger to negative reviews. Last year, it was voted the world's worst airport for 2011 by readers of "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports." Reviews on the online guide noted that apart from having poor facilities, a "mind-blowing" amount of corruption and bribery goes on in NAIA.
After the same site ranked NAIA-1 as the 5th worst airport in the world, and the worst in Asia, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado acknowledged the airport's state, saying the terminal's maintenance has been neglected in the last 28 years.
NAIA-1 was also tagged by CNN's travel website as one of the world's most hated airports, for its "filthy restrooms, seat shortages at gates... and an Amazing Race-style check-in routine spiked with bureaucracy."
This year, the MIAA has set aside P1.16 billion for the NAIA-1's makeover, including provisions for new comfort rooms, relocated shops and offices, structural retrofitting and additional immigration counters. The MIAA will also buy new security equipment.
The makeover began on Monday, Jan. 16 and is expected to take at least 18 months to complete. –Carmela G. Lapeña/KG/HS, GMA News