The 2019 North American Airport Satisfaction Study was released last week and along with it a ranking of airports in the United States. Nobody ever wants to get stuck in an airport while travelling from overseas, but if you can be stuck in a nice one, isn’t that so much better?
The study looked at all aspects of the travel experience in the U.S., starting from when you check in at the airport and go through security to what your shopping and eating options are and how complicated it is to get to your gate.
Airports were broken down by Mega, Large and Medium.
Practically speaking, this information is probably not going to do you a tremendous amount of good. We all are likely limited by where we live and where we’re headed when it comes to airport selection. That said, this list can come in handy when you’re thinking about where you want to have a connection if travelling internationally.
I know when I travel I often have the choice between a few different airports when it comes to where I schedule a layover. More often than not, I personally select flying through Atlanta for international trips, simply because it splits an international flight in half from the west coast, isn’t as hard to navigate as New York City’s airports, and I know exactly where the Bojangles is (priorities!).
I’ll also intentionally stop in Vegas, because there’s tons of food, and slot machines if you really get bored. Plus, Vegas has the largest number of hotel rooms in the world (seriously), so if I do get stranded, at least I can drown my sorrows in a yard of frozen strawberry daiquiri while betting on the ponies.
There’s also a lot to be said for connecting in an airport you’re familiar with, especially when you’re dealing with a tight connection. Same goes for an airport having a decent food selection. During a recent layover, and consequently severely delayed flight, I only had the option to eat at a Pizza Hut. Specifically, a Pizza Hut that closed one hour into that four-hour delay. Not ideal.
You want an airport with food options that stay open late. Sure, you might not eat while you’re there, but it’s nice to have the option if you do (or if you get unexpectedly stranded).
Here’s a rundown of the top U.S. airports from the study that offer the best overall experience. Next time you’re booking a trip with a layover, if one of these is an option, it’s likely a safe bet.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
Orlando International Airport
Portland International Airport
Dallas Love Field
Tampa International Airport
Indianapolis International Airport
Jacksonville International Airport
Buffalo Niagara International Airport