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11 Worst Airports for Food

11 Worst Airports for Food

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If you’re one of the more than 240 million travelers who will fly this summer, there’s a good chance you or someone you know will face delays or layovers. While many airports like Hong Kong International Airport and Heathrow Airport in London leave many travelers wishing they had a few hours to shop and dine at top restaurants, there are still many — most in far flung locales, but several in surprisingly metropolitan airports — to be avoided.

When The Daily Meal set out to determine the 11 Worst Airports for Food, plenty of terrible terminals in airports near and far came to mind. While most would expect airports in smaller countries like Nepal and the Turks and Caicos would be rustic at best, we were surprised to discover that some of the world’s busiest airports had a depressing dearth of dining options, too.

From Asia to Europe to the U.S., it seems no continent is immune to lousy layover food. While many airports like Chicago Midway Airport and Taipei Taoyuan International Airport have added new food courts offering outposts of noteworthy local restaurants like Manny’s Deli in the Windy City and Tu Hsiao Yueh in Taipei (#43 on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in Asia 2013) in recent years, there are others that have yet to catch on to the culinary concourse craze of opening celeb chef restaurants or local favorites.

Only the world's busiest airports were considered; this eliminated smaller, developing countries like Nigeria and smaller regions that are popular with travelers like Tibet. We also considered airports in close proximity to the world’s hottest travel destinations.

Airports that appeared on The Daily Meal's 35 Best Airport Restaurants list were automatically eliminated because there’s the chance your flight could take off or arrive in the terminal that houses one of these top restaurants. Even if your flight is parked in a different terminal, some folks may have enough time to venture to these terrific terminals for a quick bite.

The Daily Meal then consulted travel editors, business travelers, well-traveled food experts, and our editors for input. We created a preliminary list of 100 airports. In the end, we kept what we consider to be the 11 most disappointing airports for dining. These include airports with no celebrity chef restaurants or locally-famous or popular restaurants.

While some of the 11 Worst Airports for Food do have edible, viable options like M&S Simply Food in Gatwick Airport near London, the airports that made our inaugural list are deemed a huge disappointment considering the number of flights, connections, passengers, location, and their region’s notable culinary heritage.

Our list isn’t meant to dissuade folks from traveling to these fantastic destinations (more than 38 million trips were avoided last year because of travel hassles like this), but it is a culinary cautionary tale. This is a gastronomy guide to help hungry travelers who may, if they’re lucky, only get their food fix in the friendlier skies. It’s times like these —when you’re stuck in a virtual food desert — that it’s comforting to know some airlines still serve complimentary snacks.

Lauren Mack is the New York City Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.

#11 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (Florida)

We hope the folks who avoid busier Miami International Airport in favor of the less congested Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport aren’t hungry. While there’s plenty of fast-food (Dunkin Donuts, Miami Subs, and Red Mango), we have to wonder why they haven’t upped their game to compete with nearby MIA. Local Chef Allen Susser (of Miami’s famed Chef Allen restaurant) opened up Burger Bar by Chef Allen in 2011 but we’re disappointed it didn’t inspire more local eateries to follow.

#10 Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (Spain)

In a city with nine Michelin-starred restaurants and three Bib Gourmand restaurants, we expected much more from Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in the Spanish capital. Yes, you can get Iberico ham here, but there's nothing else that stands out among the miscellaneous restaurants and fast-food options like McDonald’s. Instead, we drowned our sorrows with a couple of cervezas and jamón Iberico from MasQMenos in Terminal T4S.

Planning a trip? Read more about the worst airports for food.

Here's everything you need to know about flying in the COVID-19 era

As states continue to reopen despite an alarming number of coronavirus hot spots emerging across the country, Americans are slowly returning to air travel this summer. Data from the Transportation Security Administration shows a steady uptick in its checkpoint travel numbers, from a low of 87,534 on April 14 (compared with 2.2 million the year before) to 623,624 on June 25.

While numerous U.S. airports and airlines have rolled out safety measures that include temperature screenings, required face coverings and more rigorous cleaning of planes between flights, whether or not it's safe to fly again comes down to personal risk factors.

If you're ready to get back to air travel, here’s everything you need to know about flying in the age of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

11 Meal Mistakes to Avoid at the Airport

The airport is a confusing, stressful, harrowing place at the best of times, but never more so than when there is a meal involved. Running late or spending hours on a hard seat during a layover can lead to bad choices when deciding how to dine. Here are the 11 pitfalls to avoid the next time you find yourself stuck at the airport:

1. Leaving the Airport for a “Quick” Bite

“I’m just popping into town for an hour for a bite at a real restaurant—I have a long layover!” Famous last words. Even if it’s just a few miles to town, anything could happen: The subway could have delays, your car could break down, and what are you going to do with your luggage, anyway? For layovers under 12 hours, stay in the terminal.
Photo from Houston Press

2. Buying a Premade Sandwich

There are so many options in airports nowadays that there’s no reason to rely on these flabby, flavorless sandwiches wrapped in cellophane. Languishing under the fluorescent lights for 24 hours or more, plasticky cheese sweating into its wrapper…a sandwich like this is at best overpriced and at worst a recipe for food poisoning.
Photo from Club Sandwich Reviews

3. Passing Up Duty-Free Alcohol

It might seem counterintuitive to buy a heavy, expensive bottle of alcohol when you’re on the way to an island paradise, but you’ll never get such great prices on high-end liquor as you will in an airport. Now, you have stuff to drink on the plane and in the hotel room without paying higher prices for a lesser product.
Photo from Airport Business

4. Choosing a Worldwide Chain Over a Regional One

Don’t you dare pass up Jollibee or La Maison Paul for Starbucks. This is your chance to try spaghetti with fried chicken, baked potatoes topped with sweetcorn, and any number of other local oddities. Get the Frappuccino at home, and indulge in regional delights here.
Photo from Serious Eats

5. Ignoring the Lounges

Even if you aren’t allowed in the deluxe international first-class lounges with caviar and champagne, you can often pay to get into lounges like the American Express Centurion Lounge. Here, enjoy a shower, craft cocktails by mixologist Jim Meehan, and freshly made food designed by the likes of Scott Conant and other celebrity chefs, all complimentary once you pay the entrance fee.
Photo from PhotoBucket

6. Enjoying Baked Beans

Or any beans, for that matter. Changes in altitude, crossing time zones, beans’ natural predisposition to cause flatulence…just say no to beans when eating huevos rancheros or a full English breakfast. Your seatmates will thank you.
Photo from Celebrity Radio

7. Nonchalantly Drinking Ice Water

Don’t drink ice water just anywhere. When traveling to places where our North American bodies aren’t used to the bacteria in the water—like Mexico, India, Egypt, and even parts of Greece—the results can be less than optimal on a long flight with one small bathroom for 200 passengers. Stick with bottled water if you’re unsure.
Photo from Discovery News

8. Thinking That You Are Going to Get the Real Deal in the Airport

A real Chicago hot dog, an authentic pan Catalan, sushi like Jiro makes…no matter the outlet, if it’s in the airport, chances are that the authentic taste of the iconic food of the city isn’t going to be there. Aim for lower-end eateries, fast-food chains, or small regional bakeries in the terminal, and you are much more likely to be impressed.
Photo from The Paupered Chef

9. Cheaping Out

The high-end offerings at airports aren’t just there for show—these days, you can enjoy a fine dining experience in many airports. Caviar, champagne, steaks: They’re all there for the taking. And considering how long you’ll be sitting for the next eight hours, it’s not such a bad idea to indulge in a martini to soften the blow.
Photo from Foodspotting

10. Indulging in Bad Fast Food

A Cinnabon might sound like a great idea at the time, but a bottle of water later and it will expand in your stomach like one of those tiny fabric animals that unfurls to become a beach towel. Go for some fries, but don’t supersize them, and heaven help you if you decide to do some super spicy Mexican food.
Photo from Wikipedia

11. Forgetting to Buy Local Snack Food as Souvenirs

No one needs an extra shot glass or an expensive chapeau—what people want can be found at the magazine stand of the airport. Candy, potato chips, spicy snack mixes, and adorable gummy candies that we can’t get here. As a bonus, you can buy these items after security, so don’t worry about shoving them into your already packed suitcase.
Photo from Holleys Fine Foods article header image from Port of Seattle

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon barbecue spice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups raw broccoli florets

Green pepper strips, to garnish

Let cheeses stand at room temperature for 30 min-utes. Place in blender container with buttermilk, chives, lemon peel, barbecue spice, and Worcester-shire, process at medium speed until mixture is smooth. Transfer to freezer tray. Freeze at least 3 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serv-ing. Unmold on serving platter. Surround with broc-coli florets. Garnish with green pepper strips. Divide evenly. Makes 8 luncheon servings.

7 Foods Nutritionists Would Never Grab at the Airport

Vacation time is around the corner, which means you may come face to face with airport food. Although recently many airports have started offering healthier fare, there are still many unhealthy choices available making healthy choices can be difficult, especially when you’re really hungry or thirsty and have nowhere else to go. I was curious to know which foods nutritionists would never grab when faced with this dilemma, so I asked seven nutritionists who like to travel what foods are on their no-no list.

"I like to read, write or fall asleep when I board a flight, so drinking something with lots of caffeine, sugar and a slew of ingredients . has zero appeal to me. In addition, the dry cabin air during the flight is dehydrating enough, so adding a load of caffeine to further promote the process is something I avoid. My in-flight drink of choice is water, and I'll occasionally take a cup of tomato juice over ice."

— Christy Wilson, R.D., culinary dietitian, writer and founder of

"I will not touch cold sandwiches from airports. Trust me, I LOVE bread, but there is nothing good from the bread in sandwiches at airports. Aside from being plain nasty in taste, they are caloric dense, nutrient scarce and overly sized. [The] same can be said about the fillings of the sandwich, which often are full of highly processed meats with old lettuce."

— Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D., founder and author of Whole Body Reboot,

Thinkstock image of a burger.

"I don't eat it at home, so I certainly wouldn't eat it while traveling (especially if I'm stuck on a long flight). It falls in line with one of my rules: "Eat as if," which basically means choose and order food the same way you would if you were making it at home. I don't own a deep fryer, so fried food is a no-no."

— Danielle Omar, M.S., R.D., integrative dietitian at

"I avoid the large yogurt parfaits or fruit smoothies made up with sugar-filled frozen yogurts. This is because even though they are typically promoted as healthy, they all can actually be extremely high in either added sugar or hidden additives and preservatives that may aggravate the gut. I look for options that provide more protein, dietary fiber and/or healthy fats with 'cleaner line' labels, such as plain Greek yogurt, nuts (that have not been roasted in added vegetable oils), chopped vegetables and hummus mixes, or natural nut or protein bars without artificial sweeteners or added sugars."

— Australian dietitian Kara Landau of the Travelling Dietitian,

"I would never reach for super-sugary foods like elaborate coffee drinks and candy, since they provide minimal nutrition and leave you feeling even more jet-lagged. Instead, I opt for quick, easy, fresh options like hummus, fruit, nuts, bean burrito bowls with salsa, or veggie soup."

— Alexis Joseph, M.S., R.D., author of and co-founder of Alchemy Juice Bar + Cafe

"As a frequent flyer, I'm thrilled that there are so many more healthful choices in airports of the world, but there are still food and beverage choices I would fly right by. Because dehydration is one of the side effects of air travel, I avoid foods and beverages high in sodium (which only make matters worse). Skip the Bloody Mary mix and choose plain tomato juice, or better yet, go for grapefruit or orange juice, which is low in sodium and high in vitamin C, which can help ward off cold and flu germs floating around the airport and onboard.

I also avoid heavily salted nuts and snack chips and choose plain roasted nuts if available. If I need to crunch on something to soothe travel stress, most airport kiosks and even newsstands stock healthy snacks such as packaged cut-up fresh produce, such as apples, carrots and celery. Also, when people buy these foods, it signals an increase in passenger demand, so airport outlets will keep offering healthier choices on the fly."

"When I am passing through the airport, muffins have always been something that call out my name. Most airport or commercial muffins are huge, meaning a ton of calories and most likely a ton of fat. Even if the muffin is marketed as 'low-fat,' it tends to have a ton of sugar. I always crave comfort food when traveling, and this is one I always avoid."

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Why it’s good for you

Garlic&rsquos scent tips you off to its many health benefits. The pungent aroma comes from sulfur compounds, including allicin. Scientists believe that allicin may block enzymes involved in infections some studies suggest that swallowing garlic may ward off colds. (It can be easiest to eat garlic cooked with other foods, although some people can stomach eating a bit like a pill, followed by milk or water.) Research has also linked garlic intake to a lower risk of stomach, colon and esophagus cancers.

How to eat it

For a flavor and immunity boost, add garlic to marinades, roasted vegetables or grain bowls.

Sweet and Savory Trend: Monkey Bread

Last week we noticed how much Food Network fans loved our monkey bread post on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. So to keep this delicious shareable treat trending, we rounded up three more monkey bread recipes for you to snack on, starting with Alton's Overnight Monkey Bread. Alton makes his buttermilk yeast dough from scratch and slathers it with a buttery brown sugar mixture that's flecked with rosemary and raisins. Prep this sweet and savory stunner the night before a big holiday brunch and you'll have a stress-free and satisfying pastry ready in no time the next morning.

Sticky Monkey Bread: Food Network Magazine's recipe boasts a thick homemade caramel sauce that oozes between each ball of dough. Spiked with dark rum, the caramel sauce forms a crackly outer crust and mingles perfectly with a layer of toasted nuts.

The 5 Best and 5 Worst Airports in the United States

Think your regional airport is tops. or the pits? Find out which ones rank high and which fail to meet expectations in this Fundera ranking of the best and worst airports for business travelers.

Related To:

Best and Worst Airports for Business Travelers

As many travelers know, the airport experience can signal the beginning of a wonderful trip, or make you wonder why you left home in the first place. Using a mix of U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), as well as each airport&rsquos proximity to downtown, and airport amenities, the online small business marketplace Fundera recently ranked the top 5 and worst 5 U.S. airports. Read on to find out the top 5 airports in the nation. The best airports earned the most points in the survey for flight availability, on-time flights and customer access to airport lounges.

1: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Surprisingly the busiest airport in the country for two decades running is also the best for business travelers, according to Fundera. The reasons for the great ranking are myriad but one rationale for naming Hartsfield-Jackson number one is that only 1% of its flights are canceled. "Even though millions of passengers travel through Hartsfield, an impressive 82% of departures and 85% of arrivals were on time in 2018, which is critical for business executives who are traveling in time bound conditions," according to the Fundera report.

2: Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Constantly battling it out for the bragging rights of the world's busiest airports, Hartsfield-Jackson and O'Hare are the top best airports for business travelers according to Fundera. But while Atlanta edged out Chicago, Chicago did exceed Hartsfield-Jackson on one important front. "One area where O&rsquoHare beats Hartsfield is in terms of airport lounges. O&rsquoHare has 17 lounges with Wi-Fi, compared to Hartsfield&rsquos 14. And although hotel prices are high in the Chicago metro area, daily economy airport parking&mdashat $10 per day&mdashis less expensive than major airports in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City" according to Fundera.

3: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

The main airport serving Northeast Texas, Dallas Fort Worth "flies passengers to over 220 destinations, 56 of them international, making this an important airport for business travelers. The airport is currently in the middle of an expensive remodel aimed at making the airport higher-capacity and more tech-friendly," according to Fundera.

4: Denver International Airport

Known for its spectacular design from Fentress Architects whose fabric roof is made to mimic the look of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Denver International Airport is actually the second largest airport (after King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia) in the world in terms of physical footprint.

5: Los Angeles International Airport

One of the features that landed LAX a top spot on Fundera's top 5 best airports survey? Lounges. "LAX has a whopping 22 lounges with Wi-Fi&mdashwith more than a dozen airlines represented&mdashsecond only to New York&rsquos John F. Kennedy Airport," say the folks at Fundera. And one surprising factoid the Fundera study uncovered is that despite Los Angeles's high cost of living, airport economy parking at LAX is actually fairly affordable, at just $12 a day.

The 5 Worst

The Fundera study of the 5 worst airports for business travelers found that " Smaller, regional airports didn&rsquot make up in flight performance or convenience what they lacked in flight availability." As Fundera reported "many regional airports also struggled with flights delays and cancellations."

Worst Airport: Memphis International Airport

One reason why Fundera considered Memphis International Airport the worst in the country when it comes to business travel is that it only has one airport lounge. Memphis has also plummeted because of a strategic move on Hartsfield's part. "Until 2008, MEM was a busy layover stop for business and leisure travelers and a hub for Northwest Airlines," notes the Fundera study. "After Delta (headquartered at Atlanta&rsquos Hartsfield-Jackson) purchased Northwest that year, passenger traffic plummeted at Memphis. The runways are still busy because the airport is home to FedEx&rsquos shipping hub, but business travelers often can&rsquot get direct flights from MEM to important destinations."

2nd Worst: Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport

Though there may not be many other airport options for executives in the oil, mining, tourism and fishing industries who make up the bulk of the business travel to Alaska, Fundera dings Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport for having just one airport lounge and expensive lodging options close-by (averaging $275 per night). Anchorage was therefore ranked the number two worst airport for business travelers in the country, despite 90% of departing flights and 82% of arriving flights being on time.

3rd Worst: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has seen a significant decrease in the total number of flights serving the airport, from 18,800 in 2017 from a peek of 40,800 flights in 2013, which means fewer flights for business travelers to choose from and a possible reason why it ranked as the third worst airport for business travelers according to Fundera.

4th Worst: Albuquerque International Sunport

The largest airport serving the state of New Mexico, Albuquerque International Sunport is named for the 280 days of sunlight the city enjoys each year. But unfortunately for business travelers, the Albuquerque Sunport only offers non-stop domestic service to 24 U.S. cities and there are no airport lounges offering Wi-Fi.

5th Worst: Palm Beach International Airport

For Floridians with lots of airport options, Palm Beach International Airport is the smallest when it comes to the total number of flights and passenger traffic. The Fundera report also notes that "75% of departures and 76% of arrivals were delayed more than 15 minutes last year, which is the worst delay rate among the bottom five airports."

Here are some of the best recipes from the various regions of North India -

1. Chole Bhature

Mouth-watering meal straight from the Punjabi kitchen - garma garam bhature with chickpeas cooked in assorted spices. What's better than that?
Learn the art of making feather soft bhaturas served with chole or chickpeas cooked in a pool of rustic spices.

2. Rogan Josh

Originated in Kashmir, we bring you the signature dish of the valley. This one is an all-time favourite among meat lovers.Mouth-watering and simply irresistible!

3. Stuffed Bati

This Rajasthani bread snack is cooked in ghee and served with chutney and dal. Bati is usually stuffed with paneer and spices.

4. Malai ki Kheer

It is a perfect dessert after a filling meal. Rice kheer made with condensed milk, khoya, cream and nuts. A bowl of kheer is the ultimate winner when it comes to Indian desserts. Be it a a festival, a celebration or just our taste buds craving a bowl of dessert delicacy.
A rice pudding (kheer) is an easy and quick dessert, perfect for parties too.

5. Chicken Dum Biryani

Flavourful biryani with chicken cooked in assorted spices and garnished with sliced green chillies and ginger juliennes. A quick and easy home made biryani is something you cannot escape. A classic Mughalai dish, Biryani is an aromatic delight loved by all.

6. Aloo Samosa

The perfect companion for your evening tea. A fried snack stuffed with a mixture of potato and peas.Samosa is an all time favorite tea time snack!

7. Nihari Gosht

From the royal kitchens of the Mughals, Nihari Gosht is a traditional Muslim dish. Nihari traditionally means a slow cooked mutton stew, which is said o be originated in the Awadhi kitchen of Lucknow. Delicious meat cooked on low heat for several hours and drizzled with a few drops of rose water as a final touch.Here is the special royal recipe that you can cook at home with easy steps on festive occasions and dinner parties. Pair it with naan, paratha or rice.

8.Butter Chicken

Marinated overnight, the chicken is roasted and cooked in tomato puree, cream and masalas. A perfect dinner party recipe, this North-Indian style chicken recipe is made throughout the country with equal zest. Enjoy this creamy chicken dish, marinated overnight and then cooked to perfection.The classic butter chicken will never leave you unsatisfied.

9. Dahi Bhalla

The most loved street snack of India, particularly North India. Dahi Bhalla can also be served as a chilled snack or a starter during festive occasions like Diwali or Navratri. Try your hand at making delicious bhallas topped with sweet curd, sour and tangy chutneys and chaat masala.This quintessential street food from the by lanes of Old Delhi will get you hooked.

10. Almond Malai Kulfi

It is happiness served in a matki! Cooked with dry fruits, condensed milk and saffron, kulfi is a must try. Prepare this on special occasions as desserts and everyone would just love it.People of all age groups simply loves kulfi.

11. Rajasthani Laal Maas

Lamb cooked in a variety of masalas with a burst of red chillies. This bright red coloured delicious dish garnished with coriander leaves and a good amount of ghee looks extremely appetizing.

Laal maas is a fiery Rajasthani meat curry that can be paired with rice or naan.

The Best and Worst U.S. Airports of 2019

Scott McCartney

Maybe friendly really is as good as it gets when it comes to airports.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which bills itself as America’s friendliest airport, scored best among the 20 largest U.S. airports in this year’s Wall Street Journal airport rankings.

We also decided this year to rank the 20 largest airports after that—let’s call them medium-size. We split them into two categories because large hubs really have different challenges.

Tampa International Airport ranked slightly higher than Portland International Airport in Oregon. Both have strong followings among frequent travelers for their ease of use and amenities.

At the bottom of the rankings in both size categories: anything close to New York. New York Kennedy and Newark Liberty placed 19th and 20th, respectively, in the large airport category. New York LaGuardia scored lowest in the medium-size category.