The Best and Worst Airports in the US 2021

The US is a world leader in many spheres. The great military potential and economic might in particular have become a source of pride for every American. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about US airports.

According to a rating of the best airports in the world by AirHelp, the first American airport on the list is ranked 33rd only. However, during the last year customers expressed more satisfaction with US airports. The average degree of satisfaction has increased and reached the highest point in 13 years.

You may ask which airports get the best feedback and which have the worst reputation?

With our article, you can learn about the best and worst US airports in 2018.

Evaluation Criteria

When we started ranking the airports in the US, we took into account several factors.

The first criterion was customer satisfaction. This complex category includes an evaluation of the quality of check-in, easiness of transport access, and duration of security check, as well as the quantity of shopping and dining outlets. We also took into account the number of delays and canceled flights and other amenities like the number of lounges available to passengers, and access to the internet.

That is how we came up with our list of best airports in the US.

Top 10 Best US Airports

We have listed the best airports in the USA ranking by customer satisfaction (max score 100%). You will find some mega airports (with more than 32.5 million people using their services every year) on this list. At the same time, large (10 – 32.4 million people) and medium (3 – 9.9 million people) sized airports also proved their quality of service was worthy of appearing in this ranking.

1. John Wayne Airport, Orange County (81.5)

Pros: small and convenient airport, great for domestic flights.

Cons: does not offer a lot of food options.

John Wayne Airport

2. Buffalo Niagara International (81.4)

Pros: has a variety of shopping and dining facilities.

Cons: higher flight delays in the winter (due to weather).

Buffalo Niagara International

3. Indianapolis International (81.1)

Pros: excellent food options and security check.

Cons: has fewer lounge options and worse transport accessibility.

Indianapolis International

4. Southwest Florida International (81.0)

Pros: provides travelers with a variety of food and shopping options; also has animal relief areas.

Cons: the delays can be higher during the winter months.

Southwest Florida International

5. Dallas Love Field (81.0)

Pros: has many shopping and dining outlets (however, few 24-hour services).

Cons: lack of private lounges.

Dallas Love Field

6. Portland International (80.4)

Pros: easy to check-in; free Wi-Fi; has various dining places including some local restaurants.

Cons: lower accessibility and a little bit outdated interior.

Portland International

7. Nashville International (80.2)

Pros: provides plenty of amenities for travelers including a children’s play area and meditation room; great for domestic flights.

Cons: lack of parking places.

Nashville International

8. Las Vegas McCarran International (78.1)

Pros: provides a variety of food and shopping options available 24/7.

Cons: has limited transport options.

Las Vegas McCarran International

9. Orlando International (78.1)

Pros: a lot of food options as well as shopping outlets; has an impressive art collection.

Cons: crowded security lines.

Orlando International

10. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (77.5)

Pros: has various rest facilities for customers such as a hotel, spa services, and retail.

Cons: the check-in system is a little bit complicated.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County

So now you know which airports in the three categories are among the best in the US. We have only described ten of them; however, it does not mean all the rest of the airports are not up to par.

Top 10 Worst US Airports

At the same time, some airports receive the lowest feedback from customers. This list also includes airports from different size categories.

1. Eppley Airfield (78.6)

Pros: a small airport with a quick check-in.

Cons: a high percentage of flight delays and a low number of dining facilities.

Eppley Airfield

2. San Antonio International (78.5)

Pros: provides decent food options (however, only vending machines are available at night).

Cons: has problems with public transport.

San Antonio International

3. Bradley International (78.2)

Pros: has a lower percentage of flight delays and cancellations.

Cons: lousy airport public transport possibilities and low access to lounges.

Bradley International

4. Cleveland Hopkins International (76.9)

Pros: has short security lines and all amenities.

Cons: people report on bad proficiency of working staff.

Cleveland Hopkins International

5. San Jose International (76.7)

Pros: flights are rarely canceled because of bad weather.

Cons: quality and distribution of facilities vary in different terminals; long waiting time.

San Jose International

6. Kahului Airport (75.7)

Pros: situated in a beautiful area.

Cons: lack of rest areas and comfortable sitting places; Wi-Fi is not available.

Kahului Airport

7. Chicago O’Hare International (73.5)

Pros: a variety of amenities and information signs, so you can easily find your way around.

Cons: a high percentage of delayed flights and long security checks.

Chicago O’Hare International

8. Los Angeles International (73.5)

Pros: has some cheap transport options.

Cons: crowded terminals as well as transport traffic.

Los Angeles International

9. Newark Liberty International (70.1)

Pros: offers plenty of options to eat.

Cons: massive traffic, long security lines; amenities are distributed irregularly.

Newark Liberty International

10. New York LaGuardia (67.8)

Pros: quicker transportation to the city center (if you rent a car).

Cons: high rate of flight cancellations; crowded gates; lack of public transport options.

With our list of worst airports in the US, you will be prepared for any challenges you may face before and after flights.

New York LaGuardia

Busiest Airports in the USA

There are some airports with high passenger traffic. However, many of them remain among the best airports in the USA.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International

2. Seattle-Tacoma International

3. McCarran International

4. O’Hare International

5. San Francisco International

6. John F. Kennedy International

7. Dallas/Fort Worth International

8. Denver International

9. Orlando International

10. Los Angeles International

11. Phoenix Sky Harbor International

12. Miami International

13. George Bush Intercontinental

14. Newark Liberty International

15. Charlotte Douglas International

Comparison Table by Criteria

As we have already mentioned, various criteria influenced our rating. We have compared the best and worst airports in the USA using different metrics. Refer to the following table to see how your favorites ranked.

Airport Flights leaving on time, % Canceled flights, % Public lounges Shopping/dining outlets Customer satisfaction, %
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International 84.93 1.22 2 221 / 100 76.9
Seattle-Tacoma International 82.19 0.61 2 37 / 42 75.6
McCarran International 81.47 0.74 2 52 / 104 78.1
O’Hare International 79.91 1.92 2 79 / 133 73.5
San Francisco International 73.61 1.41 12 70 / 66 76.3
John F. Kennedy International 75.76 2.84 3 37 / 148 75.2
Dallas/Fort Worth International 82.41 1.54 3 64 / 72 77.0
Denver International 83.88 0.66 0 52 / 73 77.1
Orlando International 78.19 2.07 2 74 / 67 78.1
Los Angeles International 80.51 0.91 0 16 / 105 73.5
Phoenix Sky Harbor International 81.17 0.82 1 49 / 62 76.5
Miami International 80.06 2.54 1 70 / 65 75.0
George Bush Intercontinental 83.22 2.96 4 112 / 25 76.9
Newark Liberty International 68.41 3.11 1 17 / 22 70.1
Charlotte Douglas International 83.01 1.84 2 36 / 49 76.1

Source: Orbitz, J.D. Power 2020 North America Airport Satisfaction Study

You can see that the choice of the best and worst airports depends largely on your priorities. What is more important to you: more comfortable waiting time or fewer flight delays? Choose accordingly.

How Did We Rate It?

To provide you with the most realistic data, we based our ranking on the results of several surveys.

We rated the worst and nicest airports in the USA using customer satisfaction as a major factor. The numbers in brackets represent the percentage of people satisfied with the airport’s services. Note: these numbers were compared to the average in every category of airports (mega, large, and medium).

We have also studied customers’ feedback and ratings. While such information is largely subjective, it still reveals the strong and weak points of the airports.

Estimation Methodology

In our article, we wanted to base the airport rankings in the US on a wide range of useful criteria.

To do a more thorough analysis, we took into account some numeric data. The major emphasis was put on the flights’ punctuality and the number of amenities, while customer satisfaction played a secondary role. The airports with the best average scores occupy the top places.


J.D. Power 2020 Study was used as the primary source of customer satisfaction data. Another great source was the rating of the world’s airports by AirHelp.

We also studied the rankings by Orbitz, which provided us with information on the percentage of delays and cancellations and the number of amenities available at US airports.

The infographics by Upgraded Points with their amazing estimations were useful during the evaluation of the best and worst airports. We also used customers’ reviews and feedback collected by Nomad by Trade, as well as some from the airports’ websites, for our airport rankings US 2018.


Even though US airports are not known as the best worldwide, some of them provide excellent services and are deservedly the best in North America.

We hope that our article on airport rankings in the US was useful to you. Use it to choose the best place for your air travel – and to know what issues you might need to prepare for.

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