Flying can be a hassle, but it could always be worse . . . unless you frequent the worst airport in the country.
A new survey of the 30 busiest airports in the nation conducted by The Points Guy analyzes the travel hubs and ranks them based on amenities, accessibility and timeliness. Environmental friendliness and “quality of life” services, such as nursing stations and areas for pets, were also considered, but weighted as less crucial.
They then ranked the best and worst 15. The results?
The best airports are Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX), Salt Lake City (SLC), Portland (PDX) and San Diego (SAN), all of which were very accessible by public transport, had low parking costs, minimal wait times for security, and few flight delays.
Both of Washington, D.C.’s major airports also rank high on the list, with Washington Dulles (IAD) at number 8, while Ronald Regan (DCA) sits at number 10.
The top four are spread across the western half of the country, whereas the three worst are contained in one metropolitan hub: New York City and its suburbs.
JFK in Queens was the worst, followed closely by LaGuardia and Newark. JFK passengers often experience significant delays, cancellations, a long drive to and from the airport, especially if they’re coming from Manhattan, and extensive waits for connections. The airport also reportedly does a poor job of accommodating ride-sharing. The only category in which LGA had JFK beat was affordability of parking.
LAX in Los Angeles, FLL in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and O’Hare in Chicago also rounded out the bottom of the list, ranking lowest in quality right above New York City’s three airports.
However, Midway (MDW), Chicago’s other airport, made the cut as one of the best airports in America, sealing its place as number 15.
The most improved airport since the last ranking in 2016 was Washington Dulles, which jumped form 24th to 8th place. The two factors that provided the boost were its ratio of lounges to passengers (comfort!) and “quality of life” services. It’s not super accessible by public transport, but that was given less weight in this year’s survey.
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The main takeaway of the study, according to The Points Guy? The U.S. still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to airports across the globe. Take a jaunt to Singapore’s Changi airport and you’ll see.