man in airport

Man in an airport (Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

Air travel is a necessity for many Americans. Whether for business, holiday travel, or vacations, voyages abroad begin and end at the airport. As travelers zip across the nation, it can be helpful to note which airports have garnered the most positive feedback from passengers. We have turned to our sources to find out about the best airports in the U.S. to make choosing flights a little easier for travel plans.

According to a recent study, researchers say that any stress or hesitance travelers feel towards boarding an airplane, especially those in more developed nations, are largely unwarranted. “Flying has gotten safer and safer,” Barnett explains. “It’s a factor of 10 safer than it was 40 years ago, although I bet anxiety levels have not gone down that much. I think it’s good to have the facts.” The research also includes some historical information showing that even in today’s most dangerous countries to fly in, the aggregate fatality rate is still much better than it was in the safest nations just a few decades ago.

Almost everyone can relate to the frustration that happens when flights are cancelled or delayed. Utilizing thousands of customer reviews to identify where airlines are falling short, a study used a computer program to discover 11 ways to create more satisfied airline customers across the board. All in all, the results reveal that most negative feedback revolves around lost luggage, uncomfortable seating, and flight cancellations. On a more positive note, customers tend to really appreciate in-flight entertainment, ground and cabin staff service, and service in first and business-class seating.

Hopefully major airliners will take customer feedback and utilize it to improve the flying experience for passengers. When planning a trip, especially with a layover, our list of the top five best airports in the U.S. might come in handy. Let us know your favorite take-off spots in the comments below!

wearing a backpack in an airport
Someone walking in an airport (Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash)


The List: Best Airports in America, According to Experts

1. Tampa International Airport, Florida (TPA)

Tampa International Airport formerly had a retro-future aesthetic, but now is described differently. “Tampa‘s airport has long felt like a vision of the future from 50 years ago—because it was. But thanks to $1 billion worth of upgrades, TPA is poised to jet into this century and beyond… Also new: automated e-gates that allow fliers to scan their own boarding passes at the shuttles leading to airside concourses and new public artworks, including an Instagram-friendly, 21-foot-tall flamingo sculpture poking its head below the surface of the water (aka the ceiling),” writes Condé Nast Traveler.

With high ratings amongst our sources TPA is described as follows, “TPA is among the top three airports in the U.S. Ten restaurants serve all airport visitors, and an additional 35 served ticketed passengers. There are also 41 shops available to ticketed passengers,” remarks VacationIdea.

One reviewer adds that, “Taylor attributes the success of TPA in Tampa, Florida—which is the second highest rated airport in the country with an 843 score—to ‘great management.’ He adds: ‘They really understand airports.’ The airport recently finished internal construction and also does a great job in food, beverage, and retail, and runs an efficient security check. Another great thing about it? It’s the easiest airport to get to in the country, per travelers,” according to BestLife.

 2. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Kentucky (CVG)

In second place is Kentucky’s CVG, “Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport ranks #2 in North America and #30 in the top airport list of the world’s highest. This airport is on the outskirts of the state borders in Hebron, Kentucky. This airport is a high-tech airport that has an extremely user-friendly website that can update you not only about the estimated wait times but also about the number of parking spots available,” details TripBeam.

Dining is praised at this location as well, “There are more than forty dining option(sic) and airport shops from McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse to Duty Free Americas and Creative Kidstuff. They offer more non-stop destinations than all other surrounding airports with eleven airlines represented both nationally and internationally. CVG is divided in to three terminal levels for easy navigation,” according to VacationIdea.

Another source also states that additional upgrades are in progress, “Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport might be more well known for being a hub for cargo airlines like Amazon Air and DHL. However, the Kentucky airport is rated as one of America’s best passenger airports and is looking to improve even further,” explains Jalopnik.

 3. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington (SEA)

Located in the northwest U.S., Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is well-regarded with our sources, “The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport caters to the northwest part of the country and the world. It is famous for the beautiful Native American artwork installed around the airport. You can visit one of the 40 cafes or restaurants and enjoy a meal, and the famous coffee concoctions served here. If you buy a day pass, you can enjoy the view of the Olympic Mountain range through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Considered one of the nicest airports in the US, tourists often stop here to listen to live musicians that play on select days,” writes Club Mahindra.

Praising the airport’s innovative approach to disembarking another source writes, “The airport is the first in the United States to offer a bags-first customs experience, where passengers claim their bags before going through U.S. customs. The process shortens the minimum international flight transfer time at Sea-Tac by 15 minutes, from a 90-minute connection to 75 minutes. However, getting through security for a departure can be a headache, like when it took over two hours last September,” details Jalopnik.

A potentially great layover experience can be had here as well, “Sea-Tac, as the locals call it, has plenty of things to do if you have a bit of time between flights. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Pacific Northwest, SEA is perched on a plateau above Puget Sound. Growing almost every year in size, SEA has domestic and international destinations that feed the northwest part of the country and the world,” says Travel Awaits.

 4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Illinois (ORD)

Located just outside of the nation’s second city, Chicago’s ORD is one of the busiest airports in the U.S. “The airport has the largest number of average daily craft operations on this list, with an impressive 2,520. It also boasts 165 restaurants, most of which are not as overpriced as those in JFK (though they’re still overpriced). Add to that 105 shops and a 30-minute driving distance from the city center, and it’s easy to see why ORD deserves to be crowned king of the airports,” raves Far & Wide.

As compared to other major U.S. airports, “One area where O’Hare beats Hartsfield is in terms of airport lounges. O’Hare has 17 lounges with Wi-Fi, compared to Hartsfield’s 14. And although hotel prices are high in the Chicago metro area, daily economy airport parking—at $10 per day—is less expensive than major airports in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City,” explains TRVL Channel.

Of the many amenities and services available at ORD one source claims, “parents will love the Kids on the Fly exhibit where children can play in an interactive educational play area. Other airport amenities include an on-site hotel, Mother’s Room, Yoga Room, Aeroponic Garden (a must-see), access to Hilton Health Club, and a world-renowned public art space. With over 130 eateries and marketplaces, there’s no shortage of places to dine,” as stated by VacationIdea.

 5. Portland International Airport, Oregon (PDX)

For some of our sources, PDX is the best, “Oregon‘s busiest airport retook the top spot this year, with readers praising its overall design, its amenities, its accessibility, and its cleanliness. ‘This remains one of the best airports in the United States,’ said one fan, who described Portland International Airport as ‘not too large, clean and well-designed, and equipped with an excellent mix of restaurants and shopping — even a small movie theater,'” according to Travel + Leisure.

“PDX gets a lot of love from readers for being easy to access—and not just by roads. Bike paths and a MAX light rail line make it one of the best-connected airports in the U.S. Its food and shopping choices offer fliers a chance to sample Portland specialties, like java from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, local whiskeys at the House Spirits Tasting Room, and handmade goods from Tender Loving Empire,” as detailed by Condé Nast Traveler.

Portland culture is also showcased: “The Port of Portland curates nine art exhibits throughout the airport terminal that feature regional artists. Live music performances are offered throughout the airport by local volunteer musicians. Guests can expect contemporary, jazz, and classical sounds. In this city obsessed with biking, the airport provides travelers with an array of bicycle services including secured parking,” states Vacation Idea.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


About Alan Corona

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