Travel

The Best Airports in the US, According to Passengers

Published On 01/22/2016 Published On 01/22/2016
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Watch out, Portland. You’re becoming that kid in the front of the class who everyone hates.

First, some of the world’s leading experts on beer named you the best beer city in America. Then SE Division landed as one of the top food neighborhood in the country, and you topped a bunch of other Internet “Best” lists for stuff like "quality of life" and “fitness” and "perfectly waxed mustaches."
 
But now? Now you’ve gotta go and be good at something most other cities suck at: airports. Yep. In a JD Power and Associates study, 21,009 travelers ranked Portland International (PDX to the cool kids) number one in user satisfaction among the country's largest airports, while Dallas’ Love Field and Southwest Florida International in Ft. Myers topped the list of medium-sized airports.
 
The study aggregated six factors: terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and terminal shopping. Each airport received a score on a 1,000 point scale, and the average was 725. FYI: in 2010, the average was 690, so good on America's airports for getting better at reading comprehension.

Actually, America's airports have gotten better at a lot of things. Not only are there so many more cool bars and great restaurants opening than ever before, but check-in and security wait times have improved as well. In fact, wait times were a leading factor in airport satisfaction: when it took travelers less than five minutes to check in, the airport’s satisfaction score was on average 24 points higher than when it took them between six and 10 minutes. Same for security: airports with security wait times under 10 minutes averaged 89 points higher than airports with wait times between 11 and 20 minutes.
 
Here is the breakdown for both large and medium-sized airports:

FLICKR/PFLY

Large airports:

10. Phoenix Sky Harbour – 736 points
9. Detroit-Wayne County – 738
8. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson – 742
7. San Diego International – 743
6. Denver International – 746
5. Salt Lake City International – 748
4. Orlando International – 756
3. Las Vegas McCarran International – 759
2. Tampa International – 776
1. Portland International – 791

Flickr/jhdrought

Medium-sized airports

10. Pittsburgh International – 769
9. Vancouver International – 770
8. Austin-Bergstrom International – 773
7. Orange County John Wayne Airport – 777
6. Nashville International – 782
5. Jacksonville International – 787
4. Raleigh-Durham International – 789
3. Indianapolis International – 789
2. Southwest Florida (Ft. Myers) International – 792
1. Dallas Love Field – 792

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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer with Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.

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