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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 March 13, 2019

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                      1. Work on the small tasks.

                      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                      2. Take a break from your work desk.

                      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                      3. Upgrade yourself

                      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                      4. Talk to a friend.

                      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                      7. Read a book (or blog).

                      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                      8. Have a quick nap.

                      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                      9. Remember why you are doing this.

                      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                      10. Find some competition.

                      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                      11. Go exercise.

                      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                      12. Take a good break.

                      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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