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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 April 8, 2020

                      Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                      Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                      Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

                      Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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                      Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

                      However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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                      The leap happens when we realize two things:

                      1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
                      2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

                      Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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                      Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

                      My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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                      In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

                      “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

                      Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

                      More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

                      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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