10 Most Relaxing Airports in the United States
Missed connections and late-night cancellations can send stress levels through the roof. Recently, InsureMyTrip ranked the 10 U.S. airports that leave travelers the most relaxed, leading the way in fewest flight delays and cancellations.
Photo By: Ontario International Airport
Photo By: Spokane International Airport
Photo By: John Wayne Airport
Photo By: iStock; 4kodiak
Photo By: iStock; jmoor17
Photo By: Port of Portland
Photo By: iStock; eddygaleotti
Photo By: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Photo By: Boise Airport
Photo By: Salt Lake City Department of Airports
10: Ontario, California (ONT)
Southern California’s Ontario International Airport may be the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler magazine, but the airport has no plans to slow down on service. Last month, the airport opened the first of two premium Escape Lounges available to all travelers. For a $45 daily fee, travelers have access to stress-relieving amenities, like high speed Wi-Fi, beverages and plush seating, as well as foods made with locally-sourced ingredients. Even parking has become a stress-free experience thanks to new online parking reservations. For new mothers, nursing rooms can be found in both airport terminals.
9: Spokane, Washington (GEG)
Just five miles west of downtown, Spokane International Airport serves four million passengers each year. To make flying a stress-free experience, the airport offers complimentary baggage carts for arriving and departing passengers. No coins or small bills? No problem. For hydration, the airport offers well-placed water bottle filling stations. Service animals are cared for too thanks to two animal relief areas past the security checkpoint. For passengers with early-morning flights or late-night missed connections, GEG has two on-site hotels within close walking distance of the airport. There’s even a free car wash for those who park at the airport.
8: Santa Ana, California (SNA)
Orange County’s John Wayne Airport goes the extra mile to enhance the flying experience for its passengers, earning the Best Airport in the U.S. award from Money magazine. In May, the airport launched JWAlive, a live music program, enabling passengers to relax to piano performances and acoustic guitar while waiting to board their flights. The airport also features rotating art exhibits, like the new "Hobie Alter - Cultural Innovator" exhibition on the inventor of the Hobie Cat catamaran and the role of surfing and sailing in Southern California (on display through spring 2019).
7: Reno, Nevada (RNO)
Situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Reno-Tahoe International Airport served more than four passengers last year. Since 2013, the airport’s depARTures gallery has displayed curated exhibits celebrating arts and culture in the Northern Nevada region. Exhibits rotate two to three times each year, much to the delight of passengers. Four-legged friends are well taken care of too at RNO thanks to three Bark Parks at the airport. Even better, all airlines allow cats and dogs to travel in-cabin. No cargo hold pets here. That’s a welcome relief for pet owners.
6: Sacramento, California (SMF)
Serving more than 10 million travelers each year, Sacramento International Airport makes it easy to kick back whether you’re on the way in or on the way out. Free Wi-Fi, tasty pre- and post-flight eats and an extensive gram-worthy public art collection make for a relaxing travel experience. In Terminal A, don’t miss "Samson" by Brian Goggin, twin 23’ pillars made of luggage pieces dating from the Golden Age of air travel to present day. Another favorite is Lawrence Argent’s "Leap," a massive red rabbit that appears to be leaping into the airport. Both pieces are instantly recognizable and inspire conversation, particularly with potentially nervous little ones.
5: Portland, Oregon (PDX)
These days, Oregon’s Portland International Airport may be best known for its carpet and subsequent social media hubbub when it was announced in 2013 that it would be replaced. However, PDX stands out for the strides it has taken to make air travel relaxing and enjoyable. Nine rotating local art exhibits grace the airport terminal. Volunteer musicians entertain with an eclectic range of live music, from jazz to classical. A Hollywood Theatre on Concourse C engages travelers with short films and documentaries about the Pacific Northwest. For cyclists, PDX wows with a bike tool shed for assembly and disassembly before and after flights.
4: Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)
It’s probably tough not to be chill when in Hawaii, but Kahului Airport on the island of Maui does its best to help you relax, even if returning home. With the shortest average security line wait time in the country (tied with St. Louis and Palm Beach), it takes just nine minutes to get into the secure area of the terminal. From there, explore the cultural gardens on the first floor or grab an ahi tuna burger at Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill. Ride-share fans will be happy to know that as of Feb. 1, Uber and Lyft can now pick up passengers from this airport.
3: Seattle, Washington (SEA)
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) knows how to serve its nearly 50 million passengers each year. For kids, a brightly-colored play area lets them run, jump and play, while live music entertains seven days a week (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Moms will find seven nursing mother’s suites across the airport to reduce the stress of traveling with an infant. Meanwhile, flight delays are manageable with a massage, even a polish change, at Terminal Getaway Spa. Sea-Tac goes the extra mile to make the airport more relaxing for local wildlife too by preserving animal habitats, reducing airport noise and improving water quality.
2: Boise, Idaho (BOI)
Nearly four million passengers travel through Boise Airport each year. Once they breeze through security, many stop to relax and savor award-winning local fare at on-site pubs and restaurants, like Bardenay. Sip on a creative cocktail or dig in to Northwestern fare, like flash-fried Pacific cod and chips. On Concourse B, stop in the Art Source Gallery, which features the work of Idaho artists. The airport is home to the largest collection of art in a public facility anywhere in Idaho. The newest piece, a kinetic artwork called "Sky Bridge," welcomes travelers on the pedestrian bridge between the terminal and parking garage.
1: Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC)
Salt Lake City International Airport was recently named the second best airport in America by The Points Guy (just behind Phoenix). This was based largely on the airport’s "accessibility" (how close it is to center city) and "timeliness" (record of on-time departures and arrivals), both of which can make or break a travel experience. Unwind with a massage or facial at XpresSpa (open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) then refill your reusable water bottle at more than a dozen filling stations across the airport. New moms, the airport has several lactation stations, too.