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Mon 17 Oct 2016 11:47 AM

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Jeddah ranked 'worst airport in the world'

Staff are arrogant and “cleanliness is a mythical concept”, says Guide to Sleeping in Airports study

Jeddah ranked 'worst airport in the world'

King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah has topped a list of the world’s worst airports for 2016 – lambasted for poor hygiene, rude staff and lack of amenities.

The Guide to Sleeping in Airports website, which evaluates overall airport experience each year based on passenger feedback, ranked Jeddah airport the worst, ahead of Juba International Airport in South Sudan, Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria, and Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan.

Passengers rated airport quality based on six criteria: comfort (rest zones and gate seating); services, facilities and things to do; food options; immigration and security efficiency; customer service and cleanliness.

The website said Jeddah was top of the list because “virtually all aspects of the terminals need serious improvement”.

The airport is currently being upgraded, with a new terminal and gates originally scheduled to open in mid-2016 to resolve capacity issues. The airport’s southern terminal was designed to receive 6 million passengers when first constructed, but now receives 17 million. But the work has yet to be completed.

Basing its report on the passenger feedback, the website said “cleanliness is but a mythical concept” inside Jeddah Airport.

“The place is said to be staffed by a team of immigration officers described as ‘careless’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘rude’, and amenity-wise, the terminal is devoid of restaurants, shopping and entertainment,” the damming report added.

“During peak hours – to say nothing of when the Hajj pilgrimage rolls around – the queues are unfathomable, and there are never enough chairs to accommodate.

“The thought of sleeping here during a long layover or flight delay is essentially unattainable.”

It concluded: “While travellers hope that 2017 will indeed be the year of the new airport, their only saving grace for now is the free Wi-Fi.”

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said Jeddah airport’s southern terminal was originally designed to receive 6 million passengers, while now it receives 17 million passengers. Therefore, it is necessary to build a new airport in Jeddah.

Local newspaper Arab News quoted a press spokesperson at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) as saying that The Guide to Sleeping in Airports website had started life as a personal blog recounting sleeping experiments in airports, and was later transformed into a website of evaluating airports in the world.

The website’s classification is not based on specific standards to evaluate airports, the spokesperson said.

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Saifur Rahman 3 years ago

Airports in United States are far worse than Jeddah Airport.

jack sparrow 3 years ago

First of all AB News, Mr Robert made a racist comment so be alert to such things next time....

Secondly, that comment aside, I have to agree that Jeddah airport has to be one of the worst in the world....

Mohammad Haris 3 years ago

Jeddah airport has the worst, rudest staff, with no facilities whatsoever, including wheelchairs. I was returning with my mother on wheelchair from Umrah and asked airport to arrange for wheelchair, and the staff goes "what wheelchair", as though they didn't understand the concept of wheelchair, eventually realizing that I am actually asking for an amenity. They said this airport has none. The entire ordeal throughout the airport, particularly because of the staff, was horrendous.

Don't even think to compare Jeddah airport with any airport in North America. I lived in US for a decade, I know airports there are worse than most parts of the world, but Jeddah is a class apart when it comes to displeasing travelers.

Aamir Sayed 3 years ago

Personal experience...Jeddah is indeed one of the worst airports I've travelled through and each year it becomes worse!

Looking forward to the new terminal opening so we can have a safe and better passage to and fro Jeddah!

H.T 3 years ago

I agree Saifur Rahman. The blogger needs to spend a night in Miami or, worst still, La Guardia!
Its amazing how many like to trash the world yet neglect to acknowledge what is downright trash in their own backyard.

Mushy 3 years ago

there are plenty bad airports around the world.. i think the issue is of appalling behaviour of staff...

Telcoguy 3 years ago

@HT the blogger needs to do nothing. This ranking is not based on his views, this is based on the aggregated feedback sent by users (or so they claim at least) of the airports.

For the record I have not been to Jeddah, but RUH is clearly not better then the airports I visit in the US (ORD, BOS, PHX), it is in fact quite awful, I would be hard pressed to choose between it and KWI actually. Of the bottom list I only know TAS and i do not have bad memories from it (it was some time ago though)

Oh and the people I know who have used both clearly rank Jeddah as much worst than RUH.

Jack in Jeddah 3 years ago

I have gone through Jeddah around 15 times. The staff are incredibly rude. They work like little kings in thier little fiefdoms, kissing and drinking tea and taking breaks under the guide of "prayer time." The lines are long because the powers that be in SA do not care for, nor would it ever be their intention, to provide anything other than from which personal satisfaction could gain. As the gateway to Mecca, it is outrageous that they should treat their Hajj guests with such inconsideration. But the airport is only a microcosm of the experience one gets when one leaves the airport.

Mazher Fakher 3 years ago

Leaving Jeddah, the airport is actually not bad, it's not DXB Terminal 3 but nothing too horrible. Lines are long but not longer than in any average airport. Arriving, however, is a complete disaster.

John 3 years ago

I agree Telcoguy, in all fairness I have never entered SA, but my worst airport I visited was by far Kuwait International Airport. Same complaints against Jeddah is the same with KWI.