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These Are the Best (and Worst) Airports in America This Year

JFK International Airport | Shutterstock
JFK International Airport | Shutterstock

Whether you're a seasoned flight attendant with professional packing secrets or just a casual traveler, you've likely seen your fair share of American airports and made a mental note of the "good" ones. Maybe you love the food court, or the short security lines, or that it's steeped in truly bizarre conspiracy theories. Whatever the case, there's no denying certain travel hubs are great at what they do while others seem to exist just to make your blood boil. Now, we have a better sense which spots are on either end of that spectrum, thanks to a new ranking of the best and worst airports in America.

This fresh ranking comes from the air travel pros at The Points Guy, who tapped into hard stats and their own personal experiences to put together a list of the best and worst airports in the country. To figure it out, they looked at the 50 busiest airports in the country and considered a broad range of elements ranging from their sustainability efforts to the connection to their local communities. Then they factored in data from traffic analytics experts to determine how long it takes to get their from the city itself, and surveyed the US Department of Transportation database to see the on-time flight departure and arrival stats.

For 2019, San Diego International Airport was named the best in the country, thanks in part to a good on-time record, amenities, and the fact that it's just seven minutes from downtown. On the flip side, Chicago's Midway International Airport earned the title of worst airport this year due to a variety of factors ranging from meager amenities, a lackluster on-time record, and its location, which is a schlep from the center of the city. Here's a look at the the full ranking of the 25 best and worst airports.

The 25 best airports in America in 2019

25. Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport
24. Tampa International Airport
23. Mccarran International Airport (Las Vegas)
22. JFK International Airport (NYC)
21. Nashville International Airport
20. Salt Lake City International Airport
19. Washington Dulles International Airport
18. Philadelphia International Airport
17. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)
16. Los Angeles International Airport
15. St. Louis Lambert International Airport
14. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
13. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
12. Miami International Airport
11. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
10. John Wayne Airport (Orange County)
9. Indianapolis International Airport
8. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
7. San Francisco International Airport
6. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
5. Sacramento International Airport
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
3. Portland International Airport
2. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
1. San Diego International Airport

The 25 worst airports in America in 2019

25. Honolulu International Airport
24. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
23. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
22. Ronald Regan Washington National Airport
21. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago)
20. Denver International Airport
19. Boston Logan International Airport
18. San Antonio International Airport
17. Newark Liberty International Airport
16. Pittsburgh International Airport
15. John Glenn Columbus International Airport
14. Dallas Love Field Airport
13. Oakland International Airport
12. Raleigh-Durham International Airport
11. Kansas City International Airport
10. Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (Puerto Rico)
9. William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
8. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
7. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
6. Laguardia Airport (NYC)
5. Southwest Florida International Airport (Fort Myers)
4. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
2. Orlando International Airport
1. Chicago Midway International Airport

Beyond the overall ranking, the TPG team also looked at which airports excel in certain areas, and put together three top-5 lists for the ones with the best amenities, easiest commute, and on-time performance. Even though it ranked 22 overall, JFK topped the list as the place with the best amenities (lounges, restaurants, general "quality of life"). On the commute front, San Diego International came in first place there, too, while Portland International ranked number one in terms of on-time flight performance. 

Of course, plenty of folks don't have the luxury of flying in or out of whatever airport they please, so in many ways there's no avoiding the bad ones if they happen to be the closest to where you live (or the cheapest). But at least now you're armed with some helpful intel next time you're booking a trip with a layover. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.