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The Best and Worst Airports in the United States

The Best and Worst Airports in the United States

I’m not proud of this fact, but I have earned elite status on three different airlines. And virtually all of that travel is domestic. Trust me, I know U.S. airports much better than I’d like to.

I rate the airports on overall experience: Location, flight choices, shopping and dining, sprawl, seating, facilities and general comfort. Here are the best and the worst.

THE BEST

Seattle-Tacoma

Convenient location to the entire Puget Sound area. Spacious and aesthetically pleasing. Great food and shopping. Plenty of room at the gates. And despite the constant rain, the flights generally run on time.

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    Minneapolis-St. Paul

    Like the nearby Mall of America, the Minneapolis Airport contains shopping, dining and services like nowhere else in the country. Of course, severe weather can make traveling through Minnesota difficult, but the airport experience itself is pleasant.

      Denver

      People give Denver a bad rap for its location (some say the airport is technically in Kansas), but the airport itself is quite beautiful. There are plenty of choices both before and after the security lines. Easy to get around via consistent trains. Great amenities. Plenty of seating and food choices.

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        Indianapolis

        This entry might surprise people, but Indy definitely steps up as the nicest airport in the Midwest. Clean, friendly, easy to get around, and a relaxed atmosphere. There is plenty of elbow room in the spacious gate areas.

          Washington – Reagan

          Unlike the sprawling and unwieldy Dulles airport, Washington-Reagan allows for a great in-and-out experience. The location near downtown is tremendous, the food choices are decent, and the airport has kept up with an ever-increasing demand.

            THE WORST

            Washington – Dulles

            Impossible to get to during rush hour, and impossible to get around once you’re inside. A massive rebuilding project is underway. So,for the time being, I avoid Dulles whenever possible. The C-D terminal is one very long and ugly building. It’s a marathon for connecting flights. But at least the concession choices are awful.

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              LAX (Los Angeles)

              It starts with the idea that if you have to get from one airline to another you must leave one terminal and pass through security at another – just for a connecting flight. That maneuver means you have to rely on shuttle buses. Oh, wait – that should be shuttle bus; it appears they have just one. Inside you’ll find tight spaces and dated interiors. But at least the employees are unpleasant.

                LaGuardia (New York)

                My advice: tear it down and start over. LaGuardia is a hodge-podge airport that started with a poor design and went downhill from there. Choppy, depressing, dated, tiny bathrooms. But at least it’s not Dulles.

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                  O’Hare (Chicago)

                  I give them an “A” for effort, but at some point the sprawl becomes unbearable. Try getting from an F gate to a C gate in time for your United connection – I dare you. Horrible on-time record that causes major headaches. Fortunately, the terminals are PACKED with bodies to make it even more pleasant.

                    Phoenix

                    I know they’re trying to class the place up with a revamped Terminal Four, but all the snazzy concessions are outside of security. If you want a good meal near your gate you can forget it; it’s all fast food once you clear security. The terminals were dated in design when they were built; the desert flair did not age well. Great location in the city; otherwise, no thanks.

                      This is just one traveler’s opinion. Do you agree with my choices?

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                      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                      1. Breathe

                      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                      2. Loosen up

                      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                      3. Chew slowly

                      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                      4. Let go

                      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                      It’s not. Promise.

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                      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                      5. Enjoy the journey

                      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                      6. Look at the big picture

                      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                      Will this matter to me…

                      • Next week?
                      • Next month?
                      • Next year?
                      • In 10 years?

                      Hint: No, it won’t.

                      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                      8. Practice patience every day

                      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                      Final thoughts

                      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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