Are things actually getting better?
"The bigger airports are doing well for a couple of reasons," said Michael Taylor, the director of airport practice at J.D. Power. "First, airports like Portland have made it so people enjoy being there -- it's more like a mall than an airplane hangar. Second, a lot of them have brought in local food, drinks, and shops, so people can get a unique experience and sense of where they are."
Smaller and regional airports rated much higher in satisfaction. That jibes with every cocktail party conversation about the greatness of the obscure off-airport 60 miles out of town.
"Smaller airports rate higher because they're easier to navigate," Taylor said. "You can park closer, there are fewer crowds. There has to be some efficiency to it."
Who came out on top?
Among large airports, the aforementioned Portland International was the repeat champ. Right behind it was Tampa International, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Miami. For medium-sized airports, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati were tops.
"Indianapolis is a great example of using a lot of natural light," Taylor said. "It's white with clear glass that lets you see out onto the airfield and the sky. You never feel confined there."
Here are the overall best in America:
1. Portland International (786)
2. Tampa International (775)
3. Las Vegas McCarran (759)
4. Orlando International (751)
5. Miami International (750)
6. San Diego International (748)
7. Salt Lake City International (747)
8. Washington Reagan (742)
9. Chicago Midway (741)
10. (TIE) Charlotte Douglas/Denver International (738)