Plymouth-based Travel Leaders Group asked more than 1,000 travel agents nationwide what they and their clients think of airports across the country. The results are in and look good for Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International and others. But flyers, watch out for Chicago O'Hare, which ranks as the top airport to avoid when making a connection. (I needed no survey to tell me that; I've heard several horror stories about missed connections at that sprawling airport.)
Some of the busiest airports around the United States have expanded services to include mini spas and salons, retooled retail toward higher-end goods and electronics and upped the dining options, according to the Travel Leaders press release.
Atlanta ranked at the top hub for connections. Ironically, it ranked only 3rd in the list of airport clients avoid for connecting flights, behind Chicago O'Hare and New York's JFK. Apparently, airport likes and dislikes are highly subjective. Atlanta also ranked first in airports that offer the best services for business travelers, the best airport amenities and the best dining. In those last two categories, MSP ranked second.
Here's the complete survey results:
Best U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and agents were asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they prefer?” Respondents were allowed to choose up to three airports. The following list displays the Top 10 domestic airports.
1 Atlanta 40.5%
2 Charlotte 25.2%
3 Dallas/Ft. Worth 24.3%
4 Houston Intercontinental 18.2%
5 Detroit 17.5%
6 Minneapolis/St. Paul 16.7%
7 Chicago O’Hare 14.1%
8 Phoenix 10.1%
9 Denver 8.0%
10 (tie) New York (JFK) 7.9%
10 (tie) Salt Lake City 7.9%
Worst U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
When asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they try to avoid?” the top responses were as follows. (Again, those polled were able to choose up to three different airports.)
1 Chicago O’Hare 56.3%
2 New York (JFK) 39.4%
3 Atlanta 33.0%
4 New York (LGA) 13.7%
5 Newark 12.2%
6 Miami 11.5%
7 Denver 10.3%
8 Philadelphia 10.0%
9 Dallas/Ft. Worth 9.4%
10 Los Angeles 9.1%
Top U.S. Airports for Business Travel Services:
When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say offers the best services for business travelers?” nearly 700 agents responded with the following list of Top 10 airports:
1 Atlanta 42.2%
2 Chicago O’Hare 29.8%
3 Dallas/Ft. Worth 20.5%
4 Minneapolis/St. Paul 18.3%
5 New York (JFK) 15.2%
6 Detroit 12.7%
7 Houston Intercontinental 10.3%
8 Los Angeles 9.0%
9 New York (LGA) 7.5%
10 (tie) Newark 6.3%
10 (tie) San Francisco 6.3%
10 (tie) Washington D.C. (Dulles) 6.3%
Top U.S. Airports for Amenities
Today, airport amenities can range from spas and yoga rooms to art exhibits and putting greens. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airport for amenities?” Travel Leaders Group agents named (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth, and (5) Las Vegas as their Top 5 U.S. airports for amenities. This particular question is based on responses from 489 agents.
Top U.S. Airports for Dining
Some of the most significant upgrades at airport have been to the dining options available to air travelers. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airports for dining?” Travel Leaders Group agents identified (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth, and (5) San Francisco as their Top 5. This particular question is based on responses from 526 agents.
Top U.S. Airports for Families with Kids
Traveling with kids poses additional challenges, particularly when trying to keep kids entertained while spending time in airports. When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say are the best for helping to keep kids entertained and occupied?” Travel Leaders Group agents listed their Top 5 U.S. airports as: (1) Orlando, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Atlanta, (4) Chicago O’Hare and (5) Dallas/Ft. Worth. This particular question is based on responses from 314 agents.