The Best and Worst U.S. Airports | WSJ


(orchestral music) – [Scott] What makes an airport
good depends on your needs. Do you care most about on-time departures, short lines at TSA, quality food options? How about a dog to ease your stress? Seriously, this is a thing. But at the Wall Street
Journal we have a system. Each year we look at 15 metrics. Five related to operations,
five around value, and five about convenience, including a grade from WSJ readers, to determine the best of
the country’s airports. And by the same metrics, the worst. So which ranked best this year? A few clues. It has a newly rebuilt terminal, a power outlet in each seating unit, and a ton of sunshine which
helps with on-time departures. And yes, it’s the one with Duke, the poodle dressed in a John Wayne outfit. (jazzy music) Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which bills itself as
America’s friendliest airport, took the top spot in this year’s ranking. And the city’s aviation director
was delighted to hear it. – It’s a great testament to our team and all of the investments
that we make in our facilities. We want to try to make sure that that passenger experience is as painless as possible. And we try to stress customer
service day in and day out. – [Scott] Before we get to
this year’s worst ranked, here’s why Sky Harbor was on top. The airport, which placed third last year, excelled in many of the metrics, including short screening waits, a low rate of delays and cancellations, short taxi to takeoff times, and ever a low average Uber cost to get from the airport
to the convention center. It’s biggest jump from
last year’s ranking however what it’s wifi speed. Sky Harbor ranked 18th out
of the 20 largest airports in wifi speed last year. Consumers complained. It’s now second. Another factor, average yelp restaurant
ratings improved this year at Sky Harbor, while restaurants at last year’s winner, Denver, slipped slightly. – Sometimes you get tired of seeing the same national brand at an airport. But here, we have some really
great local restaurants. – [Scott] Despite it’s high
scores in many categories, Phoenix still scored low in several areas. It ranked 19th in the number
of nonstop cities served with a lack of international flights. – We would like to see that portfolio of international destinations expanded. (tense music) – [Scott] More international flights didn’t help this year’s
worst ranked airport however. Outdated facilities, flight
delays, and poor food reviews once again put Newark at the bottom of the Journal’s airport
rankings for large airports. The executive director
of the port authority of New York and New
Jersey wasn’t surprised. – Well, one thing that
one has to recognize is that all three of the
port authority’s airports, in customer experience surveys, rank at the absolute
bottom of the surveys. That is the reality. – [Scott] New York’s Kennedy airport placed only one spot higher at 19th, and LaGuardia took last place in the mid-sized airport rankings, receiving a grade of D plus from Wall Street Journal
readers on average. Focusing on Newark, domestic fares were
second highest on average, lines at TSA averaged
the second longest wait, and the airport bottomed out in percentage of flights that
landed on time at just 66%. Oh yeah, and the food at Newark was ranked worst among big
airports in average Yelp reviews. But the port authority is undergoing a massive $24 billion rebuild
at all three airports. At Newark, a new terminal one is
currently under construction. When completed, the three
billion dollar facility will replace current terminal A. – They’ve simply outlived
their useful life. Newark terminal A is almost 50 years old. In the age of technology
and the age of air travel, that’s simply unacceptable. – [Scott] Terminal one is
still about two years out. In the mean time, Newark has upgraded some
bathrooms and concessions to respond to customer complaints. – Our ambition is to be at the top of the passenger experience surveys. We have our eye at moving from the back of the pack to world-class.


100 Responses

  1. Wall Street Journal

    November 14, 2019 5:03 pm

    Full list:
    1. Phoenix (PHX)
    2. Denver (DEN)
    3. Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
    3. Detroit Metro (DTW)
    5. Orlando (MCO)
    6. Las Vegas (LAS)
    7. Atlanta (ATL)
    8. Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW)
    9. Los Angeles (LAX)
    10. Houston Bush (IAH)
    11. Charlotte (CLT)
    12. Seattle (SEA)
    13. Minneapolis (MSP)
    14. San Francisco (SFO)
    15. Boston (BOS)
    16. Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
    17. Miami (MIA)
    18. Philadelphia (PHL)
    19. New York JFK (JFK)
    20. Newark (EWR)
    Read the article:

  2. Mohamed Faliq

    November 14, 2019 6:02 pm

    The only reason why I like Newark is because Is it's close proximity to where I live . It's a 30 min drive or 45 min train ride . Being a United hub I can get connected to pretty much any where in the world.

  3. Brandon

    November 14, 2019 8:38 pm

    Why is Fort Lauderdale on this list, half of their terminals are complete dumps with low ceilings and cramped holding rooms.

  4. Ann Onymous

    November 14, 2019 9:05 pm

    Anyone complaining about NYC airports has not landed in London or Paris much. The NYC airports are not that bad.
    1) Heathrow is HUGE but clean
    3) Paris airports, like Londons, are quite far from Paris. BUT NOT LIKE STANSTEAD. Not as clean or as huge as London's but when you land at other metropolitan foreign airports you can notice they are not appreciably worse than NYCs.

    btw Chicago's airport though clean and convenient to downtown is small.

  5. Chrissy The Conqueror

    November 14, 2019 10:46 pm

    My opinion before watching this is that all of them are equally bad.
    Edit: except for JFK. That one's even worse.

  6. Miss MEME Chin

    November 15, 2019 12:18 am

    The BEST airport for me is not all about infrastructure.. As long as an airport has EXCELLENT CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE, GOOD WIFI CONNECTION and CLEAN TOILET, that’s good enough for me. I dont care about delayed flights as this has several uncontrolled factors.

  7. CoolStuff Unboxings

    November 15, 2019 1:10 am

    I rather have a McDonald’s and Panda Express at the airport instead of a local restaurant that charges $20 for a simple sandwich.

  8. E T

    November 15, 2019 1:43 am

    Why would you rank Denver as number 2??? That airport’s bathrooms doesn’t even close — full of gaps and its disgusting!

  9. elizabeth nite

    November 15, 2019 6:17 am

    Okay, Tampa has poor food options, but they have separate tsa checkpoints for each concourse, so the lines are so short!

  10. Rui Ni

    November 15, 2019 12:05 pm

    I mean, if the airport employees treat me like one of their grandson, I will happily vote them to be the top 1 friendliest airport either.

  11. Waarom?

    November 15, 2019 12:15 pm

    The Airports in the United States aren't terrible. Just very inefficient and old. It's like being back in the '80's. European and Asian Airports are mostly newer and older airports are renovated quicker. I think US Aiports will catch up in a few years. Especially the NYC-area airports (which are truly awful).

  12. munu numu

    November 15, 2019 12:47 pm

    Wonder why SEA, TAC is not right around the bottom. Waiting for almost 2:30 hrs. in line just to clear the Customs. Only 4-5 officers showed up on that day while the waiting line almost snaked its way up and down Mt. Rainier.

  13. Trick 60

    November 15, 2019 2:45 pm

    I was just at the Phoenix airport on Monday and I can tell you that they certainly didn’t have outlets in every seat. And once I found one, most of them didn’t work.

  14. iKhalifaPro

    November 15, 2019 5:25 pm

    Only at Sky harbor I can get to the airport 50 minutes before the flight I’m trying to take. Buy my ticket at the counter, go through security and still have 20 minutes to chill.

  15. JD3doesit

    November 15, 2019 8:26 pm

    I would like a story on international more known larger airports… Phoenix? What about LAX, San Francisco, ORD, mccarran, and Atlanta?

  16. Julie Vasconcelos

    November 15, 2019 9:48 pm

    I think the quote from the beginning of "Crazy Rich Asians" says it all: "JFK is just salmonella and despair." Even after the upgrades and new Delta terminal it is still just a terrible airport.

  17. John Edward Jones

    November 15, 2019 10:21 pm

    Just flew through Newark. Really digusting in almost every way. It was convenient to conference hotel in Elizabeth but beyond that not much positive to say. Used NWR several decades ago and it was ideal. Cant figure out why it wasnt upgraded much sooner.

  18. Fox

    November 15, 2019 10:25 pm

    Still prefer Atlanta myself. Yes it’s big and busy but it’s also got a whole lot of places to eat and just relax. Also it goes basically anywhere most being direct flights.

  19. thegreatcalvinio

    November 15, 2019 11:59 pm

    PDX always is good… Meanwhile, Midway felt like an oversized public bathroom, Phoenix’s food gave me explosive diarrhea, and Houston had a cool train.

  20. John Heilgeist

    November 16, 2019 4:50 am

    When I go to an airport I'm not looking to be fed and entertained. I go there to catch a flight. I was walking from my arrival gate to the pickup point for the car rental shuttles. It took me 20 minutes to get to my car. This is the Tucson Airport. In Dallas it was a short walk from curbside to the gate. I had no complaints about anything. In Chicago O'Hare I landed caught the train from the American terminal to the remote parking lot, caught a shuttle bus from the the end of the line to the nearby Metra Station and took the train 40 miles north to my destination. To be honest the only airports which I found to be subpar were those in NYC. Chicago is not difficult to navigate if you know what you are doing. Going between United and American terminals, you walk in the passenger tunnel underneath the Hilton Hotel which has people movers. The biggest problem at O'Hare is the TSA set up because there is not enough space to put the facilities. Don't like O'Hare or Midway then flight north to Milwaukee, a very people friendly airport.

  21. arentol99

    November 16, 2019 6:59 am

    This is kind of like having a beauty pageant with 100 contestants, taking the 20 ugliest girls (#80 – #100), then ranking those 20 based on their beauty. America, wake up — the world passed you out years ago.

  22. R G

    November 16, 2019 1:42 pm

    The worst airport is in Montreal…… This province of Quebec is stuck in the stone age….. It's ironic because the headquarters of the international civil Aviation organization is in Montreal BUT when you land the airport in Montreal you feel you have landed in some fourth world country ……it's pathetic

  23. The Anonyous Gamer

    November 16, 2019 2:30 pm

    I 100% agree with Newark being the worst. One time, I had to spend 30 minutes waiting for a flight in terminal a, the seats were super uncomfortable while there was a 15 minute line at a small concession stand in the center. It just felt overcrowded.

  24. Forte Astro

    November 16, 2019 2:59 pm

    Yeah. Sounds about right. Phoenix has this barebones but chill feel where everything seems to fall into place. Terminal 2 is my favorite though.

  25. Forte Astro

    November 16, 2019 3:02 pm

    Phoenix airport terminal 3 reminds me a bit of Incheon airport with the glass and more clear view. Makes sense why it would be like that. If it had Korean text, a large teddy bear, and robots. It would suffice more.

  26. Martin Hughes

    November 16, 2019 3:50 pm

    I don’t mind EWR. LGA is my least favorite. Don’t understand how they can put LAS that high. And SEA should be way higher IMHO.

  27. Kutter_TTL

    November 16, 2019 5:07 pm

    Even before clicking the link I knew Newark would be on the bottom. I got a bro-in-law who grew up in New Jersey and he always flew out of New York if he could.

  28. Chosen One

    November 16, 2019 7:23 pm

    At Phoenix SkyHabour I was charged $23 for a personal pizza with a small drink. I felt robbed. They dont let you take food and drinks through TSA screening!

  29. Nelson Gonzalez

    November 16, 2019 7:49 pm

    Let’s be honest, all airports in the NY area suck! It’s not just the lack of facilities, it’s the poor attitude of folks that work there and the TSA are just horrendous!

  30. Jay S.

    November 16, 2019 9:05 pm

    I already knew all of the NYC area airports were very last before even pressing play. They’re outdated and a pain to commute through.

  31. MickyAvStickyHands

    November 17, 2019 4:49 am

    Airports like JFK, DFW, LAX, ATL, IAH really need their own category. Can’t compare those to Denver and Fort Lauderdale!

  32. J G

    November 17, 2019 8:52 am

    I'm a huge DIA fan. Centrally located in the US, so there are tons of flights to airports all over the US. Plus tons of international ones. Prices are really good, with all of the competition and the fact that Frontier has their hub/hq here. It's a newer airport, very well maintained and clean. It's not super close to downtown but it's easy to get in and out of the airport. Parking is really reasonable as well, usually can park for 5 or 6 bucks a day with coupons that are easy to get.

  33. Shadow 133

    November 17, 2019 9:31 pm

    I don’t trust this review, it does not match reality or other online surveys. Orlando MCO number 5? I guess this is focused on domestic flights only, because international arrivals suck. Often over 2-3 hours for tourists to clear customs. Not to mention lack of parking and long tsa wait times.


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