The biggest surprise about Travel+Leisure’s best airports list? That so few of us actually use these terminals. In other words, forget the big boys like O’Hare, JFK, LAX and Hartsfield-Jackson – on this latest list, there’s not a super-hub in sight, though US Airways’ Charlotte did grace the number 10 spot (see video of a landing at the No. 1 airport below).
Where is T.F. Green Airport?
We’re willing to bet there are a number of travelers who have never heard of some of these top-rated but diminutive airports: Quick, where is T. F. Green? [See No. 4 below] But size is part of the appeal of smaller-city airports. While it’s true that some winners have less airline competition which often means higher average ticket prices, many of them also have less congestion which can mean a more pleasant travel experience.
There are some larger airports on the list, too – those that manage to combine a knack for good organization with giving the people what they want. Notice that, for this list anyway, people want shops and restaurants. And on-time flights.
Top 10 Airports in America
Want to see these for yourself? Click the airport name to find a cheap flight there.
1. Oregon’s Portland International (PDX): Great on-time record, plus fine shopping and food options; passengers are urged to “try Stanford’s for fish tacos, burgers, or BLTs.” Its location is considered a bit far away but the light rail to and from the airport was a plus.
2. Tampa International (TPA): Great location and a “layout designed for a minimum of walking” which may not appeal to the hikers among us.
3. Texas’ Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS): Tops in food thanks to eateries featuring everything including barbeque, Tex-Mex and Saxon’s Pub (and sometimes with live music).
4. Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport (PVD): Just six miles south of Providence, this airport is cited for its “smooth check-in process” possibly because it’s a lot less hectic than nearby Logan.
5. Indianapolis Airport (IND): Winner of best design (lots of glass) plus rental cars are a just short walk away. [Editor's note: very friendly TSA agents, too]
6. Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP): When it’s cold outside, what do people like to do? Shop and this airport scored number one in that category.
7. Boise Airport (BOI): Idaho’s largest airport (far and away) ranked best for fewest flight delays, plus its size made getting around a breeze.
8. Nashville International (BNA): Highly touted for its “efficiency” which passengers believe means fewer delays. Lots of play areas for kids, too.
9. Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International (MKE): While its Renaissance Books shop is said to be one of the finest airport bookstores in the world (is that really a hotly contested category?), it is also considered to be in an excellent location. Few delays, too.
10. Charlotte Douglas International (CLT): If you’ve ever walked through the atrium of this North Carolina airport, you may have admired all those inviting-looking white wooden rocking chairs but you probably had no time to use them thanks to that long sprint from one terminal to another.
VIDEO: Coming in for a landing at PDX over Oregon’s Columbia River.