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French airports trail in world rankings yet again - but are they really so bad?

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French airports trail in world rankings yet again - but are they really so bad?
Travellers at French airports are fed up. Photo: AFP
11:21 CEST+02:00
French airports have once again scored badly on world rankings, with the country's 'best' airport - Toulouse- only managing 89th place on the list.

Other major French airports trailed behind, with Paris faring worst of all as its airports scored low in all categories with Charles de Gaulle at 121st and Orly at 126th.

The rankings come from Air Help's annual list of the world's best airports, and terminals are scored on punctuality of flights, the quality of service and the shops and restaurants on offer.

READ ALSO: Why is the food in French airports still so bad?


Delays and cancellations have been a particular problem at French airports. Photo: AFP

All of France's airports were badly hit by delays last year after a series of strikes by pilots at Air France, as well as industrial action by French air traffic controllers which saw hundreds of flights delayed and cancelled.

According to the Air Help ranking, the best airport in France was Toulouse at 89th place, followed by Bordeaux in 100th place. Lyon came next at 121st, followed by Charles de Gaulle at 121 and Orly at 126.

British airports fared slightly better with Heathrow at 73 and Stanstead at 109, while in the US Denver and Orlando airports scored highly at 52 and 57 respectively.

The world's best airport was listed as Hamad International Airport in Qatar, followed by Tokyo International and Athens International airports.

But just what is it the makes travellers so very unhappy with French airports?

Charles de Gaulle, France's biggest airport, consistently struggles with customer satisfaction and in 2011 was judged 'the most hated airport in the world' by CNN's travel report.

A particularly sprawling site, the long distances between gates and terminals is a particular bugbear for travellers. The airport currently has a three out of 10 satisfaction rating among people who left reviews on Skytrax.

G Allen from Singapore described the airport as "overcrowded, not enough staff, not enough food places or bathrooms, bad signage".

He posted: "At the departures I was looking for hall 4, I entered in front of hall 2, so I thought that following the circular shape I will eventually reach 4.

"I was wrong. I went around and after a longer walk through crowds and queues that went out of control, I reached hall 3, and then hall 2 again! I went to the outer circle, and I saw hall 4 sign, with an arrow pointing down. I also saw hall 5 and 6 pointing down.

"So I took an elevator to go downstairs, but downstairs there was only 5 and 6. So I went back up, and went around again, and found hall 4.

"There were only two employees at the desks, it took forever because with any non-standard situation (like somebody having bigger bag) it took them so many calls, consultation with colleagues etc. that I was waiting there for about 40 min."

But there were people who had a more positive experience - C Vincent from Dublin described the airport as "huge, clean, staff very friendly. Clean toilets. Very good connection with Paris via RER B train."

French vocab

Departures - départs

Boarding card - carte d'embarquement

Hand luggage - baggage a main

 
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