Looking to have a good airport experience? Cross your fingers for a layover in Atlanta. A new study also shows that other airports are nipping at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s top ranking.
We all spend a little longer than we’d like in airports.
Major airports have transformed considerably in the last decade to accommodate the shift in the amount of time travelers spend there.
You get there two to three hours early, go through security in less than 30 minutes—well, if there’s no line and other travelers are fast—and then wait for your flight. You sit, maybe at a food court, your gate, or a bar. If you’re lucky, you have access to a seat and WiFi, or maybe you decide to pick up some last-minute souvenirs for your friends and family. And if you have a connecting flight, you get a chance to do it all over again.
Let’s face it: With increased airport security, airports are basically big waiting rooms. What can they do to accommodate a surge in travelers?
A new Travel Leaders Group study ranks airports by the services they offer, such as dining, business travel services, and family travel accommodations. It found that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the best U.S. airport for making a connection. Atlanta was also recognized for having the best amenities, dining options, and travelers services. Chicago O’Hare came in second for business travel services and ranked high for dining—though the Windy City airport was knocked as the worst place to wait for a connecting flight. Orlando was tops for keeping kids occupied and entertained before their flight.
Overall, the study found a trend: As travelers are spending more time at airports, these facilities have recognized a profit opportunity.
“Major airports have transformed considerably in the last decade to accommodate the shift in the amount of time travelers spend there. More amenities have been added to appeal to travelers—and in many cases, to occupy their time—while they wait for their flights,” Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben said in a statement. “In our survey, we wanted to see which airports seem to resonate most positively with [travelers] in a number of categories.”
What’s the best experience you’ve had while waiting in an airport? Or the worst? Tell us your war stories in the comments.