The Worst Airports in the United States Are Found in These 15 Cities
Chances are you don’t look forward to a trip to the airport. The lines never end. Delays feel inevitable. It’s not fun a place, but poor amenities, lousy accessibility, and delays make these airports the worst in the U.S. Although none of America’s runways make the list of the world’s worst, the No. 1 most horrible U.S. airport comes pretty close — and you’ve probably visited it (see page 15).
15. Logan International Airport
Number of passengers: 36.4 million
Logan Airport is a stone’s throw from downtown, so it’s easy to access, and the amenities are among the best. But Logan ranks so poorly concerning on-time flights that it still lands on the “worst U.S. airports” list.
Next: A “mile high” airport with a mile of problems
14. Denver International Airport
Number of passengers: 58.3 million
Despite the altitude and increased risk of snow, Denver’s planes are on time — and it has some of the best airport food prices. The factor that hurts Denver: It’s nearly 24 miles away from downtown Denver, and traffic congests the highways to and from the airport.
Next: Close to the city, but not punctual
13. Thurgood Marshall Airport
Number of passengers: 25.1 million
Also known as Baltimore-Washington International, this airport serves both cities but is 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.
Next: One of the busiest airports in the world
12. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Number of passengers: 104.2 million
Atlanta has one of the busiest airports in the world, but it also has one of the worst in the U.S. Less than 10 miles from downtown, it’s easy to access. But it severely lacks amenities, which you’ll need if you’re one of the many travelers facing flight delays.
Next: Your standard middle-of-the-road airport
11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Number of passengers: 34.4 million
Detroit’s airport is neither at the bottom of the barrel nor outstanding in any of The Points Guy’s major categories. Forty-four restaurants are hardly enough to handle its 94,246 passengers per day. Flights tend to be on-time but aren’t notably reliable. And it’s nearly 20 miles from downtown Detroit. Meanwhile, Ann Arbor, Michigan is only about 25 miles away.
Next: If you like to be on time, this isn’t your airport.
10. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Number of passengers: 45.7 million
Sea-Tac is one of the worst places for delayed flights. Since you’re in Seattle, you’ll find a Starbucks in every concourse. However, you won’t find much fine dining or even the top airport chain restaurants at Sea-Tac. The silver lining: The airport isn’t too far from downtown Seattle, and it has bus and rail services to help you get there.
Next: A coastal city with major delays
9. San Francisco International Airport
City: San Francisco
Number of passengers: 53 million
San Francisco has two big issues. First, it’s 13 miles south of downtown, but it feels much farther since SF is miserable for drivers. Second, you won’t find an airport with fewer on-time flights. SFO has delays worse than Atlanta, which has nearly twice as many passengers every year.
Next: At least this airport has yoga studios for travelers
8. Dallas-Fort Worth International
City: Airport, Texas
Number of passengers: 65.7 million
DFW serves both big cities of North Texas, but it’s hard to access from either one. Nearly 20 miles from Dallas, it’s even farther from Fort Worth, and there are few transit options. Also, delays are a problem. Fortunately, while you wait, you can enjoy 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
As the airport of central Florida, every theme-park tourist is probably familiar with its spread-out structure. The amenities and timeliness aren’t great, but the real issue is accessibility. If you can’t get a car or shuttle, you’re in trouble. They built a new airport train station, but it won’t have any trains for several years, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Next: Rising above windy weather
6. O’Hare International Airport
Number of passengers: 78 million
Despite miserable winter weather, the Windy City airport actually has more on-time departures than Orlando. However, the issue is getting there in the first place. If you’re coming from downtown Chicago, you must drive through gnarly traffic or take a long train or bus ride to cover 17 miles from the city center.
Next: The top five worst airports in the U.S.
5. Hollywood International Airport
City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Number of passengers: 29.2 million
Fort Lauderdale is one of the worst U.S. airports and also one of the most hated, too. Delays are rampant, 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
Getting to LAX is a Herculean feat due to traffic. Once there, you’re dealing with an airport that CNN says is “eight terminals connected by a traffic jam.” If traffic doesn’t get you, then 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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