The 5 Best and 5 Worst Airports in the United States
Think your regional airport is tops...or the pits? Find out which ones rank high and which fail to meet expectations in this Fundera ranking of the best and worst airports for business travelers.
Photo By: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Photo By: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Photo By: Jon Shireman / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Photo By: Shutterstock/WKanadpon
Photo By: Shutterstock/Arina P. Habich
Photo By: Los Angeles World Airports
Photo By: Marvin Garcia / Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Shutterstock/Darryl Brooks
Photo By: Shutterstock/RobDun
Photo By: Shutterstock/EQRoy
Photo By: Shutterstock/Thomas Barrat
Best and Worst Airports for Business Travelers
As many travelers know, the airport experience can signal the beginning of a wonderful trip, or make you wonder why you left home in the first place. Using a mix of U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), as well as each airport’s proximity to downtown, and airport amenities, the online small business marketplace Fundera recently ranked the top 5 and worst 5 U.S. airports. Read on to find out the top 5 airports in the nation. The best airports earned the most points in the survey for flight availability, on-time flights and customer access to airport lounges.
1: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Surprisingly the busiest airport in the country for two decades running is also the best for business travelers, according to Fundera. The reasons for the great ranking are myriad but one rationale for naming Hartsfield-Jackson number one is that only 1% of its flights are canceled. "Even though millions of passengers travel through Hartsfield, an impressive 82% of departures and 85% of arrivals were on time in 2018, which is critical for business executives who are traveling in time bound conditions," according to the Fundera report.
2: Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Constantly battling it out for the bragging rights of the world's busiest airports, Hartsfield-Jackson and O'Hare are the top best airports for business travelers according to Fundera. But while Atlanta edged out Chicago, Chicago did exceed Hartsfield-Jackson on one important front. "One area where O’Hare beats Hartsfield is in terms of airport lounges. O’Hare has 17 lounges with Wi-Fi, compared to Hartsfield’s 14. And although hotel prices are high in the Chicago metro area, daily economy airport parking—at $10 per day—is less expensive than major airports in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City" according to Fundera.
3: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
The main airport serving Northeast Texas, Dallas Fort Worth "flies passengers to over 220 destinations, 56 of them international, making this an important airport for business travelers. The airport is currently in the middle of an expensive remodel aimed at making the airport higher-capacity and more tech-friendly," according to Fundera.
4: Denver International Airport
Known for its spectacular design from Fentress Architects whose fabric roof is made to mimic the look of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Denver International Airport is actually the second largest airport (after King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia) in the world in terms of physical footprint.
5: Los Angeles International Airport
One of the features that landed LAX a top spot on Fundera's top 5 best airports survey? Lounges. "LAX has a whopping 22 lounges with Wi-Fi—with more than a dozen airlines represented—second only to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport," say the folks at Fundera. And one surprising factoid the Fundera study uncovered is that despite Los Angeles's high cost of living, airport economy parking at LAX is actually fairly affordable, at just $12 a day.
The 5 Worst
The Fundera study of the 5 worst airports for business travelers found that "Smaller, regional airports didn’t make up in flight performance or convenience what they lacked in flight availability." As Fundera reported "many regional airports also struggled with flights delays and cancellations."
Worst Airport: Memphis International Airport
One reason why Fundera considered Memphis International Airport the worst in the country when it comes to business travel is that it only has one airport lounge. Memphis has also plummeted because of a strategic move on Hartsfield's part. "Until 2008, MEM was a busy layover stop for business and leisure travelers and a hub for Northwest Airlines," notes the Fundera study. "After Delta (headquartered at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson) purchased Northwest that year, passenger traffic plummeted at Memphis. The runways are still busy because the airport is home to FedEx’s shipping hub, but business travelers often can’t get direct flights from MEM to important destinations."
2nd Worst: Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport
Though there may not be many other airport options for executives in the oil, mining, tourism and fishing industries who make up the bulk of the business travel to Alaska, Fundera dings Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport for having just one airport lounge and expensive lodging options close-by (averaging $275 per night). Anchorage was therefore ranked the number two worst airport for business travelers in the country, despite 90% of departing flights and 82% of arriving flights being on time.
3rd Worst: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has seen a significant decrease in the total number of flights serving the airport, from 18,800 in 2017 from a peek of 40,800 flights in 2013, which means fewer flights for business travelers to choose from and a possible reason why it ranked as the third worst airport for business travelers according to Fundera.
4th Worst: Albuquerque International Sunport
The largest airport serving the state of New Mexico, Albuquerque International Sunport is named for the 280 days of sunlight the city enjoys each year. But unfortunately for business travelers, the Albuquerque Sunport only offers non-stop domestic service to 24 U.S. cities and there are no airport lounges offering Wi-Fi.
5th Worst: Palm Beach International Airport
For Floridians with lots of airport options, Palm Beach International Airport is the smallest when it comes to the total number of flights and passenger traffic. The Fundera report also notes that "75% of departures and 76% of arrivals were delayed more than 15 minutes last year, which is the worst delay rate among the bottom five airports."