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(Washington Post)   An ode to Reagan's Gate 35x... the worst airport experience this side of Siberia, the poorest parts of Africa, or LaGuardia   (washingtonpost.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, US Airways, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Train station, Gate 35A, new north terminal, Reagan National Airport, express gates, waiting room of an ER  
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2940 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Apr 2021 at 5:05 PM (4 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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4 days ago  
Similar arrangements popped up at many airports in the 80s and 90s. They were thought to be temporary. Those little prop jobs and eventually, small jets, they were just temporary inconveniences until the real jets came back, the big ones of the major airlines.

But no, airline management had no such intention. They had locked on to a new profit stream.

Airport managers however, they couldn't see building actual jetways for those small planes. Too expensive an idea for such a small percentage of passengers. That was true enough in the beginning but today, those regionals represent half the airline traffic in America. As the small jets got a little bigger, and the major airlines big jets became fewer, they let the little guys park at real gates again.

Everybody from airline employee unions to city governments tried to make the small airlines as unwelcome as possible. They helped ensure passengers would be so miserable that they would demand all the small airlines be banished and real airlines brought back. They even segregated them from the main airport, placing them at the farthest away gate or even constructing remote parking ramps guaranteeing a longer bus ride than the flight you just arrived on.

Maybe it's going to get better.
 
4 days ago  
Not even the rich and powerful can escape it's black hole-like gravitational pull:
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
4 days ago  
It's National, you arsehole. It will always be National.
 
4 days ago  
For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.
 
4 days ago  
Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.
 
4 days ago  
"It was two places you'd rather not be, melded into one place."

Can't get plainer than that.

Ever been to the DC area? Don't go. Dulles is trash. National is worse. Traffic is bananas. I'd keep going but I'd hate to seem boring.

I actually do like living here. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
 
4 days ago  

FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.


300 yards? I mean, have you seen the traveling public? There would have to be rest stations equipped with electrolytes and other emergency provisions every 20 feet.
 
4 days ago  

ImOscar: It's National, you arsehole. It will always be National.


They can name that gate after Reagan.
 
4 days ago  

FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.


Pretty sure they did that, you're in luck.
 
4 days ago  

VisualiseThis: FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.

Pretty sure they did that, you're in luck.


Yes, they did.  But it took them far too long and far too much money.
 
4 days ago  

casual disregard: "It was two places you'd rather not be, melded into one place."

Can't get plainer than that.

Ever been to the DC area? Don't go. Dulles is trash. National is worse. Traffic is bananas. I'd keep going but I'd hate to seem boring.

I actually do like living here. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.


When I worked in luggage repair, one of my jobs was pickup/delivery. Dulles and National airports were stops on my route (along with BWI). Based on personal experience, your assessment of those airports is too kind.
 
4 days ago  
Prague's Kafka International Named Most Alienating Airport
Youtube gEyFH-a-XoQ
 
4 days ago  

RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.


LAX would like a word. It i s the worst airport experience I've ever undertaken. Consistently.
 
4 days ago  
Threw a snowball at the statue of the Quipper outside his airport.  He got back at me by cancelling my flight, making me spend eight hours in a packed terminal and flying back to St. Louis in a Canadair with three rows of seats.  But the stewardess was nice.

Expected a giant mural of him firing the PATCO ATCs in the main hall of the airport.
 
4 days ago  
I feel like ORD is not getting its due.
I will spend a couple of hundred dollars to avoid changing planes at Chicago O'Hare.

/worst fight of my life; connections at Laguardia and O'Hare.
 
4 days ago  
Still better than what came before it. Anyone else remember the "interim" terminal that used to be there?
 
4 days ago  

ImOscar: It's National, you arsehole. It will always be National.


Indeed, I'll never call it Reagan.

Newt Gingrich used mafia like tactics and told the DC Airport Authority "Change the name to Reagan or you don't get any funds for the remodeling you want to do at your airports" so they had no choice. He made them an offer they couldn't refuse....aka a threat.
 
4 days ago  

Cajnik: [Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/gEyFH-a-​XoQ]


If only some author had described how bureaucracies in Central and Eastern Europe treated people.
 
4 days ago  

ImpendingCynic: Still better than what came before it. Anyone else remember the "interim" terminal that used to be there?


Why yes, yes I do. OTOH, those were the days when you could still get on a plane without attending security theater, and even sell your ticket to someone else if your plans changed, so it wasn't all bad.
 
4 days ago  
ImOscar
It's National, you arsehole. It will always be National.


Came here to say that...

I'm old enough to remember when they first installed automated doors at National. I was about four and so terrified of getting crushed by them closing on me that I refused to go inside to meet my dad at the gate. Mom finally convinced me to just run through real fast. I promptly ran into the doors because they didn't open fast enough. Fun times.

Boston is the worst of all the airports. I have never been there when it wasn't under construction.
 
4 days ago  
The only worse airport gate I've experienced was at Cairo International.
 
4 days ago  

Laobaojun: Cajnik: [Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/gEyFH-a-​XoQ]

If only some author had described how bureaucracies in Central and Eastern Europe treated people.


We've surpassed Kafka here.
 
4 days ago  
Okay everyone. Let's not be so negative.

Sea-Tac was a delight! I didn't know airports could be well-run until I had a conference in Seattle.
Minneapolis was also pretty good TBH.
 
4 days ago  

baronm: even sell your ticket to someone else if your plans changed, so it wasn't all bad.


How did that even work? Did they not have names on them?
 
4 days ago  
LaGuardia if you have to switch terminals. JFC.
 
4 days ago  

RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.


Don't get on the tram going the wrong way. I did that once and just rode it out. Holy sheeit that's one helluva journey.
 
4 days ago  

RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.


What's so bad about DFW? There are far worse airports. Denver comes to mind. Or Kansas City.

/ I'm the weirdo that prefers it over Love Field
 
4 days ago  

VisualiseThis: FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.

Pretty sure they did that, you're in luck.


I think they still use them for international arrivals, since those passengers have to go through customs first and international arrivals is in its own building.  Although it's been a few years since I flew into Dulles directly, so maybe that's changed since then.

I always tell people going to DC to arrive at BWI and take the Amtrak to Union Station if it's an option.  Yeah, there's a shuttle bus between the terminal and the train station, and yeah the airport is much further away than either IAD or DCA, but IMO BWI is better than either of those two in basically every other aspect and the train ride is actually quite pleasant in my experience.

/Although it must be said there's nothing quite like the views out the window when on approach to DCA
 
4 days ago  

bughunter: The only worse airport gate I've experienced was at Cairo International.


Come now. This is an airport/airplane porn thread. We need some details.

The actual worst I had was at the hands of USAF when my dad was in the service. We sat backwards and had to put in earplugs.

Needless to say there were no in-flight movies that day. It was a cargo plane. We were the cargo.

0 out of 5 would not fly again.
 
4 days ago  

casual disregard: "It was two places you'd rather not be, melded into one place."

Can't get plainer than that.

Ever been to the DC area? Don't go. Dulles is trash. National is worse. Traffic is bananas. I'd keep going but I'd hate to seem boring.

I actually do like living here. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.


I travel to DC often for work (well I did) and I don't mind National as long as I'm flying American.  Southwest out of the janky terminal is not fun. Then again, it adds to the whole "not fun" experience of flying Southwest in the first place.

The biggest problem with Dulles is that it's a pain to get to and from the city. Maybe someday the Silver Line will be done to make it easier.

I flew out of 35X one time a few years ago. I thought it was weird but it must not have been busy because it didn't bug me much at the time.  Denver has a similar set up for their puddle jumper flights. Flew out of there after Christmas one year and that sucked.
 
4 days ago  

Fabric_Man: Okay everyone. Let's not be so negative.

Sea-Tac was a delight! I didn't know airports could be well-run until I had a conference in Seattle.
Minneapolis was also pretty good TBH.


On a positive note;
Las Vegas McCarran.
Not especially well organized or run, but not bad. The slot machines everywhere and the Vegas kitsch were very entertaining.

Seoul Inchon airport was overwhelming.
Very clean and well run, and HUGE.  They might be compensating for something but it is a great airport to travel through.
 
4 days ago  
Say what you want, but, I spent a summer working in DC and used Reagan all the time. I was living in Foggy Bottom and could take the Metro to and from the airport, very convenient. Of course, I was also flying in and out of Chicago Midway, so some people would think I was nuts on both ends of these trips.
 
4 days ago  

Robo Beat: VisualiseThis: FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.

Pretty sure they did that, you're in luck.

I think they still use them for international arrivals, since those passengers have to go through customs first and international arrivals is in its own building.  Although it's been a few years since I flew into Dulles directly, so maybe that's changed since then.

I always tell people going to DC to arrive at BWI and take the Amtrak to Union Station if it's an option.  Yeah, there's a shuttle bus between the terminal and the train station, and yeah the airport is much further away than either IAD or DCA, but IMO BWI is better than either of those two in basically every other aspect and the train ride is actually quite pleasant in my experience.

/Although it must be said there's nothing quite like the views out the window when on approach to DCA


Oh God. I have a "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" CSB doing just that.  The short version is I lived in the middle of West Texas and was interviewing with a cheap-ass company in Arlington. The short version is they put me on Southwest out of Midland Texas. It  was then 4 stops and a plane change to BWI and then having to figure out getting to Union Station and then the subway to Arlington.  I was just 20 and traveling on my own for the first time.

12 hours of travel and i lost my instructions (this was pre-internet and cellphones).  I managed to find their building and walked into something like a horror movie of a hallway with a bunch of blank doors. Only one had a label and it wasn't who I was looking for.  I went in anyway because someone was there and it turned out the owner of the cheap-ass company was renting an extra office from a friend.

They interviewed me for 4 hours, put me in a hotel and then I did the whole thing in reverse the next day

/ in hindsight the whole situation was red-flags
// and they skipped out on paying me later
/// CSB
/
 
4 days ago  

cfreak: RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.

What's so bad about DFW? There are far worse airports. Denver comes to mind. Or Kansas City.

/ I'm the weirdo that prefers it over Love Field


Wait, why is Denver's airport so bad?

Because it's in Kansas?
 
4 days ago  

RyansPrivates: RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.

LAX would like a word. It i s the worst airport experience I've ever undertaken. Consistently.


Yeah I can't understand someone hating on DFW when places like ORD and LaGuardia exist.
 
4 days ago  

Robo Beat: VisualiseThis: FrancoFile: Flown out of there many a time.

A veritable PITA.

But the gates at Dulles where you had to take the slow-ass transporter vehicles from the midfield terminal to the main terminal were pretty bad too.  Just build a farking 300 yard tunnel and let me stretch my legs after my flight.

Pretty sure they did that, you're in luck.

I think they still use them for international arrivals, since those passengers have to go through customs first and international arrivals is in its own building.  Although it's been a few years since I flew into Dulles directly, so maybe that's changed since then.



The "Mobile Lounges". Still used by more than just international arrivals. It's embarrassing that international traveler's first impressions of America are those sardine cans. Dulles is such a mess and it's my home airport. They spent millions building a subway to where a terminal is "supposed to be" but isn't, and there's no plans/money to build it. So when you get off the subway and think you're at your gate....NOPE! You gotta walk like 10 minutes underground to the "temporary terminal" that's been "temporary" since 1983 with no plans to replace it either.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
4 days ago  

cfreak: RyansPrivates: RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.

LAX would like a word. It i s the worst airport experience I've ever undertaken. Consistently.

Yeah I can't understand someone hating on DFW when places like ORD and LaGuardia exist.


Before the pandemic hit, I was flying to into LAX 4-5 times a year for the past 5 years. You'd think that after that time, I would have it down to a science. Nope. LAX always managed to disappoint and screw with me both on arrival and departure.
 
4 days ago  

Mrtraveler01: cfreak: RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.

What's so bad about DFW? There are far worse airports. Denver comes to mind. Or Kansas City.

/ I'm the weirdo that prefers it over Love Field

Wait, why is Denver's airport so bad?

Because it's in Kansas?


That and the single security checkpoint, and the stupid trains to the terminals that seem like at least one is broken every-time I've been there.  (they have problems with trains apparently since the one to downtown is often broken too, though I've never ridden it, just second-hand from my sister)
 
4 days ago  
Reagan's Gate sounds like a cult that will commit mass suicide during the total eclipse in 2024.
 
4 days ago  
Somehow it's fitting that a nightmarish airport is named after Reagan.

I've always wondered why people think having an airport named after you is an honor. How many people over the age of 10 actually like going to the airport? In the U.S., anyway.

Having said that, I haven't had terrible airport or airline experiences. Maybe I just haven't traveled enough.
 
4 days ago  
Yeah. Personally I don't mind traveling through the multi-use gates. They allow me to fly in and out of places like HPN, and it's cool to be able to "watch the machinery".
Want to try a totally rotten airport? Try Madrid Barajas. Spectacular architecture - crap airport.
 
4 days ago  
ATL.  No further description necessary.
 
4 days ago  

nobody11155: ATL.  No further description necessary.


Been a while since I've been there. That's where you have get on the train from the terminal to the exit (and vice versa). God that sucks.
 
4 days ago  
And I thought the "A" gates were bad when I flew ValuJet / AirTran out of DCA. At least there was a restroom that didn't require going back out past the security screening.
 
4 days ago  

RyansPrivates: RoyFokker'sGhost: For my money, DFW will always be worse. By a large margin.

LAX would like a word. It i s the worst airport experience I've ever undertaken. Consistently.


MIA gets my vote
 
4 days ago  

edmo: Similar arrangements popped up at many airports in the 80s and 90s. They were thought to be temporary. Those little prop jobs and eventually, small jets, they were just temporary inconveniences until the real jets came back, the big ones of the major airlines.

But no, airline management had no such intention. They had locked on to a new profit stream.

Airport managers however, they couldn't see building actual jetways for those small planes. Too expensive an idea for such a small percentage of passengers. That was true enough in the beginning but today, those regionals represent half the airline traffic in America. As the small jets got a little bigger, and the major airlines big jets became fewer, they let the little guys park at real gates again.

Everybody from airline employee unions to city governments tried to make the small airlines as unwelcome as possible. They helped ensure passengers would be so miserable that they would demand all the small airlines be banished and real airlines brought back. They even segregated them from the main airport, placing them at the farthest away gate or even constructing remote parking ramps guaranteeing a longer bus ride than the flight you just arrived on.

Maybe it's going to get better.


I've been through that gate so the article is pretty spot on. It's the smallest and busiest gate I've ever seen at any airport.  IIRC the TSA used that gate as a model for how to treat domestic air travelers.
 
4 days ago  

dukeblue219: baronm: even sell your ticket to someone else if your plans changed, so it wasn't all bad.

How did that even work? Did they not have names on them?


Nope - you just showed up with a valid ticket for flight X, and off you went. And keep in mind this was after the 60s-70s hijacking spree. The current system is 100% pure uncut BS from a safety perspective, but it does make us easier to track and protects airlines from having to deal with a resale market, so we're stuck with it.
 
4 days ago  

nobody11155: ATL.  No further description necessary.


They have this computer at ATL. Probably fills a room.  No matter what flight you come in on, it can schedule your outgoing flight from the terminal furthest from your arrival.

Last time I arrived at ATL and departed from Charlotte.  And the plane, I sincerely believe, taxied back to ATL for takeoff.
 
4 days ago  
As far as airports go SoCal has so many good ones. John Wayne is my favorite smaller hub.  Ontario near Riverside is always super windy so it's white knuckling it on both takeoff and approach and for some reason I have flown in and out of there.  Good deals on intrastate travel.  LAX sucks but so does LAeverything.
 
4 days ago  
Flew out of Melbourne.  First airport I went through that closed for lunch.
 
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