Road Warrior

Rating America's Best and Worst Airports


Travel + Leisure magazine this weekreleased the results of its first ever reader survey of America's 22 major airports.

Encounter Restaurant at LAX

Those who participated ranked each airport in seven categories: flight delays; design; amenities; food and drink; check-in and security; service; and transportation and location.

As a road warrior, I love to review the results of surveys by fellow travelers to see how they compare to my experiences. I absolutely agree with some of the reported rankings — such as New York's LaGuardia coming in dead last — but others came as a bit of a shock to me.

As far as LaGuardia, I agree with the readers, who ranked it worst among the 22 airports for design, check-in and security and amenities. It's often dirty, crowded due to its design and passing through security seems to take longer than the average airport I traverse.

Fortunately, Delta Air Linesbroke ground on a terminal renovation and expansion at LaGuardia, so improvements should be coming.

Taking the top spot on the survey was Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, where readers voted it first in ease of check-in and security, and second in design and cleanliness.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport came in 17th on the survey, which surprised me as it's one of my favorite airports. Terminal conditions can vary widely based on the airline flown, however.

United's Terminal 1 at O'Hare, for example, is modern, offers extensive food and beverage establishments and has a funky underground walkway with neon lights making the passage from one concourse to the next an interesting and fun experience.

In contrast, travelers flying with US Airways out of Terminal 2 at O'Hare are met with a concourse that hasn't been updated since I was a child (think 1970s). It feels claustrophobic, is poorly lit and I always smell a distinct and unidentifiable odor that is anything but pleasing.

My personal favorite airport, San Francisco International (SFO), came in fifth. I think SFO has the best dining options of any domestic airport, particularly in the international wing. The new Terminal 2 even features a yoga room.

You can check out the entire rankings by clicking here. What's your favorite and least favorite airport?