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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 6:36 AM
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The Best and Worst Airports of 2022

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The Best and Worst Airports of 2022
San Francisco and Sacramento top The Wall Street Journal’s rankings for large and midsize airports; Newark and LaGuardia rank last


By Dawn Gilbertson
Updated Nov. 17, 2022 5:31 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco International Airport sure tries hard to make travelers forget they’re in an airport.

The place is oddly quiet, even during rush hour, due to strict limitations on overhead announcements about lost items, gate changes and boarding groups. Signs urge travelers to use headphones as they traverse the terminal and wait for flights.

Passengers can retreat to yoga rooms, a museum, art exhibits and outposts of local restaurants like Bun Mee and Boudin Bakery, or catch occasional live music. New touchless water-filling stations have hot, cold and room temperature settings and might soon dispense free seltzer.

It’s all scant comfort when flights are delayed—a chronic problem given the city’s signature fog—but a topper to a great airport experience when things go well. And things have been going unusually well at SFO since travel began rebounding in 2021. The airport has been running on-time rates of more than 80%, a solid 10 points higher than prepandemic levels despite major travel troubles in other cities.

The one-two punch of more reliable flights and top-notch amenities vaulted the airport to first place in The Wall Street Journal’s first ranking of the country’s busiest airports since 2019. Atlanta and Minneapolis filled out the top three.

The Best Large U.S. Airports

RANK AIRPORT WSJ SCORE RELIABILITY VALUE CONVENIENCE
▶ 1 San Francisco (SFO) 61 72 28 69
▶ 2 Atlanta (ATL) 59 65 44 48
▶ 3 Minneapolis (MSP) 57 67 26 55
▶ 4 Detroit (DTW) 54 62 32 55
▶ 5 Phoenix (PHX) 53 55 52 51
▶ 6 Los Angeles (LAX) 52 60 46 40
▶ 7 Houston Bush (IAH) 51 54 49 35
▶ 8 Las Vegas (LAS) 49 42 58 49
▶ 9 Charlotte (CLT) 46 48 34 56
▶ 10 Seattle (SEA) 46 57 28 35
▶ 11 Denver (DEN) 41 34 58 49
▶ 12 Boston (BOS) 41 42 45 56
▶ 13 Philadelphia (PHL) 39 41 40 35
▶ 14 Chicago O'Hare (ORD) 38 39 37 40
▶ 15 Orlando (MCO) 38 17 81 61
▶ 16 Miami (MIA) 37 28 51 48
▶ 17 Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) 36 28 38 66
▶ 18 Fort Lauderdale (FLL) 36 19 73 47
▶ 19 New York JFK (JFK) 24 10 46 43
▶ 20 Newark (EWR) 19 7 42 46

Sacramento International Airport, just 100 miles northeast of SFO and a competitor for some Northern California fliers, nabbed the top spot among midsize airports and the highest score overall. Airport director Cindy Nichol, who used to work at San Francisco International, attributes Sacramento’s high score to good weather, plenty of runway space and customer service. The airport’s landscapers even pitch in to direct travelers, she says, earning passenger compliments.

The San Diego and San Jose airports were Nos. 2 and 3 among midsize airports, creating a California trifecta.

The worst performers in the large and midsize classes, respectively, were Newark and LaGuardia Airport. Both are plagued by flight delays and other issues but have big plans for fixes. LaGuardia’s physical makeover is already well under way and you won’t recognize the place if it’s been a while. And Newark’s new Terminal A makes its debut in early December.

...

The Best Midsize U.S. Airports

RANK AIRPORT WSJ SCORE RELIABILITY VALUE CONVENIENCE
▶ 1 Sacramento (SMF) 70 80 50 56
▶ 2 San Diego (SAN) 67 74 61 52
▶ 3 San Jose (SJC) 66 79 52 31
▶ 4 San Antonio (SAT) 65 70 58 63
▶ 5 Portland (PDX) 65 74 48 63
▶ 6 Honolulu (HNL) 63 76 49 38
▶ 7 Tampa (TPA) 63 49 89 80
▶ 8 Salt Lake City (SLC) 62 67 49 55
▶ 9 Santa Ana (SNA) 61 64 57 40
▶ 10 Oakland (OAK) 60 70 48 40
▶ 11 Raleigh/Durham (RDU) 59 58 66 55
▶ 12 Pittsburgh (PIT) 58 54 70 60
▶ 13 Kahului (OGG) 58 66 53 42
▶ 14 Houston Hobby (HOU) 54 49 52 74
▶ 15 St. Louis (STL) 53 61 49 20
▶ 16 Kansas City (MCI) 53 63 42 36
▶ 17 Washington Dulles (IAD) 53 57 37 63
▶ 18 Indianapolis (IND) 52 48 61 45
▶ 19 Fort Myers (RSW) 51 41 69 54
▶ 20 Chicago Midway (MDW) 50 54 42 35
▶ 21 Cincinnati (CVG) 49 42 67 56
▶ 22 Nashville (BNA) 48 54 32 44
▶ 23 New Orleans (MSY) 48 42 60 49
▶ 24 Baltimore (BWI) 47 43 56 51
▶ 25 Dallas Love (DAL) 47 35 52 65
▶ 26 Austin (AUS) 44 39 47 57
▶ 27 Cleveland (CLE) 44 41 57 50
▶ 28 Washington Reagan (DCA) 43 39 47 68
▶ 29 New York LaGuardia (LGA) 38 36 62 22

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bes...22-11668645546
From Oakland to Sactown
The Bay Area and back down
Cali is where they put they mack down!
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 7:22 AM
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So Houston has the most convenient and least convenient airports? I’m actually not surprised. I’ll inconvenience myself to fly out of Hobby rather than IAH.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 1:09 PM
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So it's pretty much just using flight delays? Then the NYC and DC airports will always be on the bottom, bc they're the only airports with federal flight restrictions, which forces delays.

The article makes it sound like they're considering dumb stuff like "yoga rooms". Which wouldn't make sense, as LGA is probably the most amenitized airport in the U.S., given its a few months old, and stuffed with Manhattan-centric traveler amenities.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 3:31 PM
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Airport ratings are dumb. The experiences are vastly different depending on terminal, time of year, airline, etc.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:10 PM
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IMO, LAX and IAH have no business being near the top of any convenience list. Any airport that lacks a direct transit connection to the CBD while also being far away from it (let's arbitrarily say >7 miles) is not convenient. Every airport below IAH, with the exception of MCO, is more convenient than LAX and IAH. Additionally, LAX in particular is lacking in terms of dining options, especially in the TBIT.

Also, in what world is Dulles (IAD) considered a midsized airport?
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:16 PM
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I've been to MSP and it's got nothing on DTW.

Atlanta airport at number 2 is a surprise. Never been because I've avoided it, but I've never heard any good things about ATL.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:21 PM
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Toronto (Pearson) is just fucking horrible, despite the outrageous fees charged.

Pre pandemic, all the best airports were in Asia (e.g., Incheon, in Seoul).
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:26 PM
Don't Be That Guy Don't Be That Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
I've been to MSP and it's got nothing on DTW.

Atlanta airport at number 2 is a surprise. Never been because I've avoided it, but I've never heard any good things about ATL.
Detroit is a great airport, super easy to connect through.

ATL can have atrocious security lines, but it is a breeze for making connecting flights. The terminal design is super efficient, although super crowded too. I'd take a layover and connection in ATL over CLT or IAD any day.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan View Post
IMO, LAX and IAH have no business being near the top of any convenience list. Any airport that lacks a direct transit connection to the CBD while also being far away from it (let's arbitrarily say >7 miles) is not convenient. Every airport below IAH, with the exception of MCO, is more convenient than LAX and IAH. Additionally, LAX in particular is lacking in terms of dining options, especially in the TBIT.

Also, in what world is Dulles (IAD) considered a midsized airport?
DTW would also be knocked down from the top on this criteria. However, it is one of the most pleasant airports to wait for a flight IMO. I agree about LAX being an odd choice, though. It has to be one of the most uncomfortable airports to wait for a flight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
The article makes it sound like they're considering dumb stuff like "yoga rooms". Which wouldn't make sense, as LGA is probably the most amenitized airport in the U.S., given its a few months old, and stuffed with Manhattan-centric traveler amenities.
I don't know about most amenitized... I think JFK still has it beat. BUT they worked an absolute miracle in transforming that airport. I flew from LGA last week for the first time in a couple of years. The changes were shocking.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan View Post
Additionally, LAX in particular is lacking in terms of dining options, especially in the TBIT.
?

Where to Eat at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Summer 2022
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
DTW would also be knocked down from the top on this criteria. However, it is one of the most pleasant airports to wait for a flight IMO. I agree about LAX being an odd choice, though. It has to be one of the most uncomfortable airports to wait for a flight.
That's a great counterpoint! DTW is one of my favorite American airports. I haven't flown into it since 2007 (this will change next October), when I was 12 and the airline flying us there was Northwest; however, I still remember how nice that airport was. I loved the Northwest monorail, which is likely Delta's now!


I flew into LAX in November 2021 and July 2022 (LAX-PHL and SMF-LAX-PHL, respectively). I flew into and out of the TBIT my first time there and Terminal 4 during my connection. On both occasions, the large Han Dynasty restaurant was closed, and the only option available was the food court. Umami Burger and the pizza place within the food court were also closed on both occasions. Although my fiancée and I found food in Terminal 4 (a sit-down pizza place), it was underwhelming compared to the options available at PHL.

Maybe I'd have a better food experience at LAX if I fly in via a different airline next time?
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:49 PM
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I knew SFO would be #1 among the big airports. It's fairly easy to navigate and has really top shelf amenities like 2 Hermes boutiques. LOL.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:56 PM
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Fort Lauderdale is a circle of hell, I absolutely hate that airport.

Laguardia is disgusting.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 4:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bossabreezes View Post
Fort Lauderdale is a circle of hell, I absolutely hate that airport.

Laguardia is disgusting.
Laguardia is not disgusting
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:01 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Atlanta airport at number 2 is a surprise. Never been because I've avoided it, but I've never heard any good things about ATL.
ATL was clearly designed to be an airport primarily where the vast majority of people using it are just changing planes. It is fine in that regard. But it's a pretty terrible experience for people whose trips start/end in Atlanta. The security lines are always atrocious because everyone is funneled into one checkpoint.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:05 PM
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Laguardia is not disgusting
Yes it is, and so is JFK.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:12 PM
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Yes it is, and so is JFK.
No it isn't
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bossabreezes View Post
Yes it is, and so is JFK.
JFK's T4 is one of the best terminals in the country. The other terminals at JFK suck. LGA is not disgusting anymore, but it was before they rebuilt the terminals.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:21 PM
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I always liked La Guardia because being there meant I was in New York! I suppose if I lived there I might feel differently. Also LGA is close in. JFK is too far away and EWR is just weird to me.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2022, 5:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bossabreezes View Post
Yes it is, and so is JFK.
LGA, at least the physical plant, is probably the nicest airport in the U.S.

I mean, it's a few months old. Any brand new airport is gonna be pretty nice.
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