The Worst Airports in the United States Are Found in These 15 Cities
Unless you’ve mastered the art of air travel, chances are you don’t look forward to a trip to the airport. The lines seemingly never end. Delays are practically inevitable. And the potential to make expensive mistakes lurks behind every bottle of water or Starbucks scone. Airports aren’t fun in general, but terrible delays, poor amenities, and lousy accessibility make these the worst airports in the United States, according to The Points Guy. The only saving grace is none of America’s worst airports make the list of the world’s worst.
15. Logan International Airport
Number of passengers: 36.4 million
We start our countdown at Boston’s Logan Airport. It’s a stone’s throw away from downtown, so it’s easy to get to, and the amenities are among the best in the land. However, Logan is one of the worst for on-time flights, which makes it one of the worst airports in the United States.
Next: One factor really hurts this airport.
14. Denver International Airport
Number of passengers: 58.3 million
Despite the mile-high altitude and the increased risk of snow, Denver gets its planes out on time. And it has some of the best airport food prices. The one factor that makes Denver one of the worst airports around is its distance from the city. It’s nearly 24 miles away from downtown Denver, so getting to and from the airport can be a challenge.
Next: It’s close to the city, but the flights don’t always leave on time.
13. Thurgood Marshall Airport
Number of passengers: 25.1 million
Also known as Baltimore-Washington International, this airport serves both cities, but it’s much closer to Baltimore. It ranks in the top 10 for accessibility, according to The Points Guy, but the so-so amenities and late departures make it one of the worst airports around.
Next: One positive aspect when it comes to this airport.
12. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Number of passengers: 104.2 million
It’s common knowledge that Atlanta has one of the busiest airports in the world, but it also has one of the worst airports in the United States. It’s less than 10 miles from downtown, so it’s easy to get to, which is a plus. But it severely lacks amenities, and you’re one of the lucky few if you catch an on-time flight there.
Next: Your standard middle of the road airport.
11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Number of passengers: 34.4 million
Detroit’s airport isn’t at the bottom of the barrel in any of The Points Guy’s three major categories, but it’s not outstanding in any of them either.
- The 44 restaurants are hardly enough to handle the 94,246 passengers per day, which drive down the amenities rating.
- It’s merely in the middle of the road when it comes to on-time flights.
- You’ll have to plan your trip to the airport before you plan your trip from the airport. It’s nearly 20 miles from downtown Detroit. Meanwhile, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is only about 25 miles away from the airport.
Next: Look at the silver lining.
10. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Number of passengers: 45.7 million
Sea-Tac is one of the worst places for delayed flights, which are never good for an airport. Since you’re in Seattle, there is a Starbucks in nearly every concourse. However, you won’t find much fine dining or even the top airport chain restaurants at Sea-Tac, which hurt its overall amenities rating. The silver lining is that the airport isn’t too far away from downtown Seattle, and it has ample bus and rail services to help you get there.
Next: Two reasons this is one of the worst airports in the United States.
9. San Francisco International Airport
City: San Francisco
Number of passengers: 53 million
It’s easy to see why San Francisco is one of the worst airports in the United States. It comes down to two issues.
- First, it’s 13 miles south from downtown, but it feels like it’s farther than that since San Francisco is miserable for people who drive.
- Second, you won’t find an airport with fewer on-time flights. SFO has delays worse than Atlanta, which handles nearly twice as many passengers every year.
Next: This airport is hard to get to.
8. Dallas-Fort Worth International
City: Airport, Texas
Number of passengers: 65.7 million
As the name suggests, DFW serves both of north Texas’ big cities, but it’s hard to get to it from either one. It’s nearly 20 miles from downtown Dallas, it’s further than that from Fort Worth, and there are limited public transit options to get there. Also, delays tend to be a problem. The upshot, however, is the many amenities at Dallas-Fort Worth, including 72 restaurants and two free yoga studios.
Next: That’s not how you do it.
7. Orlando International Airport
City: Orlando, Florida
Number of passengers: 41.9 million
Orlando’s airport is the airport for central Florida, and every Disney and Universal Studios tourist is probably very familiar with its spread-out terminal structure. The amenities and timeliness aren’t great, but the real issue is accessibility. It’s basically a car, bus, shuttle service, or bust to get there. They built a brand new airport train station that won’t have any trains for several years, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Next: Getting there is the biggest problem.
6. O’Hare International Airport
Number of passengers: 78 million
Despite some miserable winter weather, O’Hare doesn’t have terrible delays. It actually has more on-time departures than Orlando. However, the big problem is getting to the airport in the first place. If you’re heading from downtown Chicago, you either have to drive through some gnarly traffic, or plan for long train or bus rides to cover the 17 miles from the heart of the city.
Next: Is it hated? You bet.
5. Hollywood International Airport
City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Number of passengers: 29.2 million
Not only does Fort Lauderdale have one of the worst airports in the United States, but it also has one of the most hated ones, too. Delays are rampant, the security lines are long, and cancellations are a lot higher than they should be. Plus, the check-in process and baggage claim are less than impressive.
Next: If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
4. Los Angeles International Airport
City: Los Angeles
Number of passengers: 80.9 million
Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic, so getting to the airport is a Herculean feat. Once you’re there, you’re dealing with an airport that CNN says is “eight terminals connected by a traffic jam.” If the traffic in and around the airport doesn’t get you, then the delays will. Only fog-riddled San Francisco has a worse record for on-time flights.
Next: This airport checks all the wrong boxes.
3. Newark Liberty International Airport
City: Newark, New Jersey
Number of passengers: 40.6 million
Newark’s airport is tough to get to in New York City’s hellish traffic, and it doesn’t have a great track record for on-time flights. It’s the second-busiest airport in the area, so you’re going to be surrounded by thousands of travel-weary passengers. And while you’re waiting for your flight to take off, you’re going to be sitting around one of the ugliest airports in America that lacks many upscale amenities.
Next: This is one of the America airports that irks Donald Trump.
2. LaGuardia Airport
City: New York
Number of passengers: 29.7 million
Getting to LaGuardia and having your flight leave on time is about as rare as a unicorn sighting. The terminal itself isn’t winning any beauty pageants, either. Those might be two reasons Donald Trump called out LaGuardia when he remarked about why he hates airports in America so much. However, to be fair to LaGuardia, most major airports in the United States need major infrastructure work to keep up with their international counterparts.
Next: No. 1 on the list, which is not a good thing.
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport
City: New York
Number of passengers: 59 million
It’s ugly. Getting there is hard. The flights hardly leave on time. Put them all together, and it’s easy to see why JFK tops the list of the worst airports in the United States. Going through this airport on a regular day is bad enough, but things get worse around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The worsening weather plus the higher volume of passengers add up to more delays, which is why it’s an airport you should avoid around the holidays.
Data about the number of passengers courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration.
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