For a person who always travels by private jet or military plane (and is exempt from TSA screenings), Donald Trump has a lot to say about airports. Nobody particularly likes standing in line or going through security at airports across the United States. But Trump has likened America’s airports to those in a third-world country.
Read on to find out exactly what Trump hates so much about flying in America.
8. Donald Trump said America’s airports are like those in a third-world country
As The Economist reports, Trump said during a debate that “our airports are like from a third-world country.” The publication reported, “More Trump hyperbole? Actually, no. This might be a rare Trump understatement.” A ranking of the world’s best airports placed the top-scoring American airport, Denver, at 28th place.
And as The Economist notes, five airports in developing countries — a term favored over Trump’s dated choice of “third-world country — score ahead of Denver. The top 50 includes 15 airports in developing countries and just four in the U.S. That doesn’t bode well.
Next: Trump particularly hates these airports.
7. Trump mentioned New York’s 3 airports as some of the worst
During debate remarks on infrastructure, Trump specifically mentioned New York’s three airports as an example of the horrors of flying in the United States. He’s not alone.
As The New York Times explains, a study by The Points Guy cited LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark as the worst airports in the nation. LaGuardia has a high rate of flight delays and cancellations. JFK has a long drive time to the center of the city, plus long waits at security. And Newark got “lackluster ratings across the board.”
Next: This airport doesn’t escape Trump’s wrath, either.
6. Trump also dislikes Los Angeles International Airport
Trump also mentioned LAX by name. While he didn’t get too specific, anyone who has flown through Los Angeles will tell you there are plenty of reasons to dislike LAX. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, “America’s second-busiest airport ranks 91st in the world as it fails on all fronts, from sad food to worst-in-class gate waits.”
The publication cites “horrendous traffic,” a lack of terminal seating, terrible cleanliness, and poor experiences with staff friendliness and immigration lines as some of the problems that need solving.
Next: Trump proposed selling these airports.
5. He doesn’t seem too fond of Reagan or Dulles airports, either
Trump doesn’t seem too fond of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport or Washington Dulles International Airport, either. As Politico reports, the Trump administration released an infrastructure plan that proposed the government consider selling the two D.C.-area airports.
Trump’s rationale? If federal agencies could divest of assets (such as Reagan and Dulles), they could sell to state or local agencies or even private groups. Ideally, those groups would do a better job of managing assets the federal government owns.
Next: The airlines may be at fault, too.
4. The airlines may be partly to blame
Trump hasn’t said anything about it. But The Economist reports airlines are partly to blame for terrible airports. The publication points to the poor performance of domestic airlines, as compared to international carriers, as part of the problem.
“While places such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi compete for [travelers] flying between Europe, Asia, and America,” The Economist notes. “American cities do not really benefit from such international layover traffic — or feel the need to compete for it.” American airports and airlines focus on the domestic market, where they don’t have a lot of competition or much pressure to improve.
Next: This might also explain America’s terrible airports.
3. Other governments invest in flagship airports and airlines
Similarly, The Economist notes that in other countries — countries that compete for layover traffic from international travelers — governments “invest heavily and directly in their flagship airports (and airlines).” Yet budgets in America are often controlled by what The Economist characterizes as “hamstrung airport authorities.”
Even with airport revenue at what Forbes characterizes as an all-time high, airport authorities say they need to raise more money for facility improvements. Specifically, they want to increase the passenger facility charge, one of the fees you pay when you fly.
That leads us to our next point: the real reason Donald Trump hates airports in America.
Next: Trump doesn’t like this agency.
2. Donald Trump hasn’t had anything nice to say about the TSA
Trump hasn’t had anything nice to say about the TSA (though he probably has that in common with many Americans). And Trump once said that he would look into a supporter’s suggestion to replace existing TSA employees — including Muslim women who wear hijabs — with veterans.
Trump also considered gutting the TSA (and the Coast Guard) to pay for his proposed border wall. But his budget ignored the air marshals program, which “provides little security at great cost,” according to Wired.
Next: But the TSA isn’t even the worst thing about U.S. airports in Trump’s estimation.
1. Trump points to chronic underinvestment in infrastructure as the biggest problem
According to The Economist, a number of factors make America’s airports so bad. But the publication notes that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed on one thing: The United States needs to spend more money on infrastructure, including at the nation’s airports.
The Hill notes that by some estimates, U.S. airports will need almost $100 billion in infrastructure investments through 2019. “That number is more than double the amount of funding that airports have available through their annual net income, federal grants and revenue from passenger fees,” the publication explains. Maybe Trump’s hate for America’s airports will pay off.
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