Compared to JFK, IAD and some other US airports, LHR is by far cleaner, more modern and more comfortable. I have been traveling in and out of there since I was 12 years old, unaccompanied, so it can't be that confusing.
Security guards are not meant to be smiley, shake-your-hand, have-a-nice-day people. They are meant to be there to enforce security. After years of dealing with Irish terrorists, American tourists, British soccer players and German beer-drinkers it's no wonder they're a little somber. Don't forget as well, that in Britain you don't say hi to everyone you meet. You let people do their thing and you do yours. I have found TSA agents a lot more unfriendly, uneducated and generally more malcontent than any foreign security agent....except maybe French customs.
JFK, by far, at least on the Delta side, is the worst immigration experience on earth. Man, and then you've got to completely rescan everything before connecting and it's a small cramped space and only a few workers.
And it's always like "take out yo laptop, take off yo shoes, yo belt, yo watch, wo wallet, t'row it all in the bin and step thru the machine".
And if you're too slow 'redressing', they'll unlead molten hell on you!
I also learned that saying 'bonjour' on the streets to a stranger in France is a sign of dementia!
I would not say LHR was bad - The worst parts are the smoke and how busy it is. Once the AA check in line went around their bit and extended half way down Terminal 3. It really put Disneyland to shame. I was fortunate as with all my travelling I was a Gold Member - I think there were 3 people infront of me in my line. Heathrow does have the best shopping though!!!
hmmm... last time i went thru JFK on Delta (2 weeks ago), the agent there treated us like kings/queens (especially after an 8 hr CDG to JFK flight and looking crappy for non-revs)...
I wouldn't say that "all" treat you like crap - maybe just the ones you had to deal with??... but i do agree that their terminal isn't quite up to standard and how you have to walk all the way around to get to your terminal is kinda screwed up!!
I liked the CDG airport except for the fact that if you don't have your boarding pass when flying internationally, you can't get into duty free... and as a non-rev, we only had like 10-15 minutes to look thru and do our duty free purchases.. not quite enough time which was sad - i was looking forward to buying some good xmas gifts...
Frankfurt didn't have the greatest airport but their staff are some of the most friendly i've met!! help all the way around when you want it, unlike New Yawk where they do the "gots ta take yo shoes, belt off and laptop out of dat der bag"... their security people could definately use a "friendliness" class!!
By far JFK is the worst of them all, with LGA not far behind. I had the misfortune of having to catch a connecting flight there between FLL and DCA. I was shocked at how dilapidated most of the buildings were. The crowning glory of this turd of an airport was the total inexistence of any reliable transportation between terminals. This is the first airport I have been to where you are actually forced to ctach a bus to get to each terminal, walking is either impossible or dangerous (no sidewalks, very busy streets). After risking our lives to get to the BA terminal to see the Concorde, and a friend and I realized that we had an hour left before our flight left, and thought we should start making our way back to the Delta terminal. Now I could leave my house an hour before my flight here in Ft. Lauderdale and still make a flight, so considering I was already at the airport in New York (just at a different terminal), you'd think a full HOUR to get from one terminal from another is plenty of time? Well, after waiting 30 minutes for the wretched bus, we were starting to get nervous. Eventually after a 40 minute wait, the bus came. It took 15 minutes to meander it's way about a half mile to our terminal and we just barely made our flight!
So just some advice: don't even think about leaving your terminal at JFK if you have to make a connecting flight unless you have at least 6 hours before a flight.