San Diego International Airport is the best U.S. airport, according to a new study conducted by The Points Guy, a U.S.-based travel website and blog that produces news and stories on travel, aviation, points and miles, politics and credit cards. It claims 10 million unique visitors a month. Its just-released study examined the 50 busiest U.S. airports by number of passengers, focusing on amenities, commute time and on-time flight records. Overall, calculations were based on 34 different factors, including flight delays, cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounges, security wait times and more.
San Diego International Airport was awarded the top spot because of its high grades for ample amenities (#11), a great record of timeliness (#16) and the best score for commute time (#1), likely for its convenient proximity to the downtown area. Phoenix Sky Harbor, a known travelers’ favorite, came in second place this year. Phoenix had the second-best commute time but fell short in terms of getting flights in and out on time (#39).
Best U.S. Airports
1. San Diego International Airport
2. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
3. Portland (Oregon) International Airport
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
5. Sacramento International Airport
With only one lounge and few restaurants, said The Points Guy, it’s no surprise that Chicago’s Midway International Airport ranked in the Bottom 5 for amenities (#46). That, paired with long wait times (#46) and a less-than-desirable commute (#33), earned the Chicago airport the last spot on the list. Orlando earned its second-to-last position for poor amenities (#42) and long commute times (#46).
Worst U.S. Airports
46. Southwest Florida International Airport (Lee County, Florida)
47. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
48. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
49. Orlando International Airport
50. Chicago Midway International Airport
“Frequent travelers aren’t likely to move to be near the best airports,” said Scott Mayerowitz, executive news director of The Points Guy. “However, knowing the pros and cons of each airport is a helpful guide when planning your trip. If you know the airport you’re traveling through lacks amenities, pack a meal. Leave early if commute times are unpredictable, and try to schedule connecting flights through more-reliable airports.”
Individual category winners include John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City (amenities), San Diego International Airport (commute) and Portland International Airport in Oregon (on-time flights).
Conversely, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport took last place in the amenity’s category, while Newark Liberty International Airport ranked #50 for both commute and on-time record.
A Note on Methodology: The study examined the 50 busiest U.S. airports by number of passengers and used data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, ExpertFlyer.com, the CLEAR website, Uber and Lyft’s fare estimators, Google Maps, LEED, the airports’ official websites and more. The data for driving times was generated through a partnership with INRIX. The scores were derived from relative performance of airports in passenger comfort, commuter accessibility and reliability. Calculations were based on 34 different factors, including flight delays, cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounge access and security wait times.