Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor February 10, 2010 09:53 AM
Washington and New York have gotten whacked, and we're not going to escape it.
Yes, more big snow. For travelers along the East Coast, this means late and canceled flights, and for those burdened with really bad luck or irredeemably blackened karma it could mean a night in the airport.
To the rescue rides the Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports. This travel website offers rankings of the best and worst airports for catching a little shut-eye.
In North America, the top-ranked airport for 2009 was Vancouver International Airport in Canada, Why? Here's the answer:
After years of construction in anticipation for the 2010 Olympics, the Vancouver airport has already won the honour of best airport in North America. Features and facilities: the terminal is extremely quiet at night, use the showers/sauna/gym/baggage storage at the Fairmont Hotel in the airport (drop-in fee), padded benches, free WiFi.
After Vancouver, comes, in descending order, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Minneapolis, Dallas, Seattle, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Pittsburgh.
Now the worst? Why LAX, of course:
Terminal 4 is cold, there are hard benches, the cleaning staff are noisy and chat to one another loudly, there is construction noise, customs/security staff are rude, constant announcements, stores/restaurants close down at night, and you'll find panhandlers and hustlers.
And the rest of the losers: New York City JFK, Newark, Atlanta, Mexico City, New York City La Guardia (Ohh, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, the trifecta). Washington Dulles, Miami, Boston Logan (two responses: "I found one of those all-American benches with rigid armrests apparently inspired by Guantanamo Bay restraint chairs... the lights glared all night, and they kept up with the security announcements despite the fact that nobody but me and the cleaners was in the airport."), and Chicago O'Hare.
The website was started 13 years ago by Donna McSherry, a young Canadian woman who initially was just trying to share ways to cut costs while traveling. Initially, the site contained just McSherry's tips and impressions, and it now contains thousands of airport, train, and bus station reviews sent in by travelers.
If you are traveling or are already stuck, take a look. Might be worth trying to get to a better airport before nightfall.