NEW YORK — The results are in just in time for the holiday travel season. TravelPulse editors spend a good part of the year traveling the globe and have experienced the glaring disparities between international and domestic airports.
More than 300 respondents, both consumers and aviation experts, were asked via Google Survey to rank airports in seven categories – ease of access, amenities, airline volume, terminal modernity, terminal comfort, family friendly and business friendly.
Attention to detail is largely missing in U.S. airports, as countries around the world have trumped statewide airports on the innovation and design creativity fronts.
Top 10 Best Airports (and the worst):
6. San Francisco
The Worst: New York LaGuardia
For all of its size, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was voted best airport in the country for its ability to handle high volume of airlines, passengers, and get them in and out. But in large part, Atlanta finished so high because it also finished first for the number of amenities it offered and for being business friendly.
Speaking of volume, size matters! Many respondents said the ability to choose from among numerous airlines, at differing times, offering better fares, was important to them and that can only be found at big airlines. The top six in airlines volume satisfaction among those surveyed were LAX, JFK, O’Hare, SFO, Orlando and Vegas. In the business friendly category, all of the top five were also the biggest airports in the country.
Small airports did very well – Fort Myers, Manchester, Columbus, Savannah, and Greenville were all in the top 50.
Easy Access for the Win: For such a big airport (14th in the nation in passenger volume) respondents found Orlando the easiest to access both getting to (and with parking being $17/day to self park compared to $33 at JFK) and once inside (its famous tram system).
Honorable Up-and-Comers: A lot of earned kudos from readers were for newer airports; Phoenix, Portland, Ore., and Nashville.
Two airports that had undergone massive renovations and makeovers in the last 20 years – Detroit and Denver – also came out on top.
Of all the categories, readers were most passionate about terminal comfort. Detroit “won,” but most said it’s almost impossible to be comfortable in an airport terminal.
Airports qualified by servicing 700,000 or more passengers according to 2015 FAA data. Respondents were given five choices for each categories – Antiquated/awful, Behind the times/below average, average, above average, and exceptional. Each category answer was weighted -4, -2, 0, 2 and 4) and points were assigned accordingly. Respondents were also asked to comment on each ranking and we were most impressed here with the amount of time and thought that went into the answers (and the overall volume of respondents, more than 250 consumers and experts polled between Oct. 14-28, 2016). TravelPulse equally weighted consumer responses, expert responses and our independent research (weighing in relevant past surveys and studies done by other air travel organizations and government agencies).
A full list of the top 100 U.S. airports can be found at http://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines/the-travelpulse-100-best-us-airports-in-2016
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Could Trump finally be the one to put the money behind the rhetoric and begin to carve out solutions? According to The Hill, Trump said he would spend more than $500 billion on infrastructure, which he said would be “at least double” the amount Clinton would invest. He has declined to say how he would pay for his massive new government program.
A March 2015 report published by the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) noted that an annual investment of $15.1 billion was needed for five consecutive years to deal with the growth and renovation of airport infrastructure, and that current funding from such entities as the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) and any revenue generated by an airport itself is not nearly sufficient.
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