If we told you that Phoenix boasts the best airport in the U.S., you might assume we ordered too many confidence-boosting in-flight beverages, or that we’re just biased. As a matter of fact, we do love Sky Harbor (except when they close an entire runway for a month and cause major flight delays, as they did in October — but we aren’t bitter).
Aside from the occasional runway closure, Sky Harbor features (relatively) speedy security lines, friendly personnel and an excellent range of food options both before and after the security checkpoints — we’re particular fans of La Grande Orange by the D gates in Terminal 3.
Speaking of terminals, click here to learn about Sky Harbor’s original terminal – and no, it wasn’t Terminal 1.
That’s good enough for us, but subjective factors might not convince you. Fortunately, someone else decided to take a more objective approach.
Travel website The Points Guy did a study of the 30 busiest airports in America and looked at how they stack up on timeliness (flight delays, cancellations, security wait), accessibility (drive time and public transport time from the city center) and amenities (number of restaurants, number of lounges, Wi-Fi fees, parking fees).
While Sky Harbor didn’t win any overall category — although it did win the sub-category about the time it takes to drive there — it scored high enough in every category to put it in the top overall spot. The worst thing The Points Guy could say about it is it offers too few lounges.
If you’re curious, Portland takes the second spot on the list and only lost to Sky Harbor because it offers much worse accessibility. San Diego came in at number three and scored high in every category except high flight-cancellation rate, which brought down its timeliness score.
Spots four and five are Salt Lake City and Honolulu, respectively. Both boast the fewest flight delays, but offer very poor accessibility via public transport.
Jumping to the bottom of the list, you might not be surprised to find LaGuardia, JFK and Newark. Between the high number of cancelled and delayed flights, and the time it takes to even get there — JFK takes an hour — they don’t stand a chance.
Take a look at the full list and see where your favorite and least favorite airports fall.
The Top 30 Busiest US Airports. Ranked From Best to Worst
1. Phoenix Sky Harbor International (Arizona; PHX)
2. Portland International (Oregon; PDX)
3. San Diego International (California; SAN)
4. Salt Lake City International (Utah; SLC)
5. Honolulu International (Hawaii; HNL)
6. Seattle-Tacoma International (Washington; SEA)
7. Philadelphia International (Pennsylvania; PHL)
8. Charlotte Douglas International (North Carolina; CLT)
9. Las Vegas McCarran International (Nevada; LAS)
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul International (Minnesota; MSP)
11. Tampa International (Florida; TPA)
12. San Francisco International (California; SFO)
13. Washington Reagan National (Virginia; DCA)
14. Baltimore-Washington International (Maryland; BWI)
15. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (Florida; FLL)
16. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (Georgia; ATL)
17. Chicago Midway International (Illinois; MDW)
18. Boston Logan International (Massachusetts; BOS)
19. Dallas/Fort Worth International (Texas; DFW)
20. Miami International (Florida; MIA)
21. Houston George Bush Intercontinental (Texas; IAH)
22. Los Angeles International (California; LAX)
23. Denver International (Colorado; DEN)
24. Washington Dulles International (Virginia; IAD)
25. Orlando International (Florida; MCO)
26. Detroit Metro (Michigan; DTW)
27. Chicago O’Hare International (Illinois; ORD)
28. Newark Liberty International (New Jersey; EWR)
29. John F. Kennedy International (New York; JFK)
30. LaGuardia (New York; LGA)
– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org