On 28 July 2015, the British newspaper the Independent, posted a thirteen-line article listing the worst five airports in the world written by senior travel writer Simon Calder. Geneva’s Cointrin was listed number four.
No methodology or data were presented to support the author’s conclusions. For example, it is not clear which airports were included in the analysis, or how those included were compared.
The article said “Forget the stereotype of Swiss efficiency: the rapid growth of passenger numbers at the British traveller’s key Alpine airport has not been matched by much-needed investment.”
Nearly two months later, the Tribune de Genève relayed the Independent article to its readers with a headline proclaiming: “Cointrin is one of the five worst airports in the world”.
Independent readers suggested the author visit Bujumbura, Monrovia, Juba, Kinshasa, Dacca, Cairo, Kabul, Baghdad, Nairobi, Tashkent and Lahore airports and revise his conclusions. Another suggested the writer doesn’t travel much, while one insinuated his research didn’t include entire continents such as Africa, Western Asia and South America.
Defenders of Cointrin said it is quick, even when there’s a queue, offers regular free ten-minute train trips to the city centre, and being tiny you can’t miss a connection, unlike the horrible running distances at mazes like Heathrow.
One Tribune de Genève reader said that as usual Anglo-Saxon airports are deemed better despite the transit hassle at Heathrow. Others complained of Cointrin’s poor car access, crowded check in counters, overflowing security areas, the limitations of one runway and how Bern invested in Zurich’s airport but not in Geneva’s.
The most popular comment on the Tribune de Genève website simply said “Useless article that gives no reasons for Geneva airport’s ranking”
The CIA world fact book put the global number of airports at 41,821 in 2013. Is placing Geneva’s in the bottom five fair? What do you think?
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Article was clickbait says
I didn’t read the article, but I the conclusion is absurd. Geneva’s airport service is relatively fast, it is small enough not to miss connections, well organized, reliable and very secure. In comparison, I recently flew into Casablanca Airport in Morroco, where the security seemed extremely lax, the airport was dirty (there were cats at some of the gates) and one had to bum-rush the gate to get on the plane after having to stand in a disorganized queue for over an hour. I have also been to very disappointing airports in Belgium (Charleroi), Slovakia and others. The author must not travel often.
I agree with the author of the article. Geneva airport was my worst experience. And, its not about the lack of space or investment, it’s about their employees. I’ve had a situation with a rude and unprofessional lady in her thirties who behavior was not only that, but even threatening. However, after seeking assistance of her colleagues in an attempt to resolve the situation, I came to understand that her behavior was not only acceptable to them, but even supported by two people who claimed to be in charge. They wouldn’t accept my own plastic and transparent check-in bag and insisted on moving my tiny containers into their own plastic bag, which was completely pointless. It’s rudeness start to end, I don’t even think those people heard of words ‘please’, ‘if you may’ or anything in that line.. body language I don’t even want to comment. I was expecting to be physically attacked even, just for the reason of someone having a bad day. It’s a true shame and huge disappointment.
“You had ONE situation… please, My iPhone broke down without any reason and I had once a bad experience at Starbucks, that does not maje me justify any ranking which would put those at 1st rank of worst products/places in the world..
Just read Kahneman and revise your judgement.
Sorry, there will be no change of judgement.. 🙂
They need to look into who they are hiring and letting interact with passengers. For the case I had, a written apology from the airport representatives would be nice.
I just had the same experience with a rude young woman at the Geneva Airport. Even though all my small containers were the approved size, she insisted on throwing them away if they didn’t have a manufacturer’s label on them. I tried to tell her that is why they are called “travel bottles”. She could have emptied them at least and given me the empty bottles to use again. I’ve traveled in and out of Geneva at least once per year for the last 25 years. This is the first negative experience. I definitely do not agree with the author’s assertion that Cointrin is one of the 5 worst. Although it could use a decor update, I’ve seen many worse airports around the world!
I guess we were dealing with the same person.. lady in her thirties, middle east composure. Btw,she refused giving her name and hided her id card when I asked for introduction…very strange…
Oh, yes. I also had very pleasant experience with an Asian gentleman, with very long last name, at the transfer desk. He went above and beyond helping me on my inbound flight. Many thanks to him.
Pardon, nice gentlemen was in Zurich, not Geneva..
Terre Sainte says
I would like to raise a slightly different issue. I have lived in the Coppet area for almost ten years. Since this summer, I have begun to be bothered by the plane noise for the first time, especially planes taking off in an easterly direction and rising up over this area. Has something changed? Planes now take off constantly from 6am until midnight. Are the planes getting bigger and noisier? And are planes now always taking off in an easterly direction? Does anyone else have the same sense, and have any information to share?
Adeel Qayum says
I am from Pakistan. I’ve traveled to quite a bit of places, and i found Geneva Airport to be one of the best. Fast service and like one of the individuals said, you can arrive an hour earlier and catch the flight without issues. I don’t understand why fancy decorations and sheer size are the factors placing an airport in the “world’s best” list. I’d prefer convenience over these factors on any given day.
I prefer Geneva Airport to Stansted, Heatrow, Gatwick or worse Luton Airport. Stansted you’ve no space to seat somewhere, Heathrow is so huge, you really should arrive 2 hours before, even for a destination in France or Swiss, Gatwick connexion to London are a pity or so expensive, better to take a taxi and Luton is so fare from London. And what about Orly. Yes Geneva is tiny but efficient. And did he compare to Basel, it’s the same except a little bit further from Basel or Mulhouse. Or Carcassone, it’s so small …
I can think of at least five airports in the UK that are far worse than Geneva’s. Britain also has one of the very worst in the world- Heathrow- and they are planning to expand it so that even more passengers can suffer.
Jane L says
You can’t help liking an international airport with great bus and train links, efficient Kiss & Fly, where you can turn up 60 minutes or less before your scheduled departure and know you can get through all of the red-tape. So what if there is little duty free shopping or glitz and glamour -it’s main function is as a transport hub for goodness sake!
No matter how this report was constructed, Geneva is a very disappointing airport if you come from certain African countries, especially the 3 main airports in South Africa and the one in Nairobi.
It lacks class, style and a disappointing feeling that you have arrived in one of the best cities in the world.
Let the local artist and architects loose on this airport and for a relatively low cost for a rich city the results will be amazing.
Klaus Muller-Mohwald says
It only proves one thing, and that is the author has no idea what he is talking about.
Perhaps he should stay in “Great” Britain and concentrate on some of the airports there that I, for one, am not going to visit again!
Codswallop! Geneva Airport is one of the best! Ease of access, fast moving queues, parking facilities are being renovated. I do not see how Geneva can be at the bottom of the all the world’s airports! Bizarre!
Steph Lawrence says
Cointrin has serious advantages over some UK airports including free kiss and drop. Minimum charge of £2 just to drop passengers at Bournemouth. Easy access to rail services, free to Geneva. Reasonable waiting times at security. Sufficient services within the airport. I have been a regular user for five years and consider it comes up favourably compared to many worldwide.