The Best US Airports To Kill Time In

airportsNo matter how well traveled one might be, how far in advance they plan or how frequently they fly, it’s inevitable; sooner or later air travelers will have time to kill in airports around the United States. Airport officials and planners know that. They know that the amount of time travelers spend in terminals is increasing and are making changes to accommodate them. But some airports are getting ahead of the game more than others, as indicated by a recent survey.

“Major airports have transformed considerably in the last decade to accommodate the shift in the amount of time travelers spend there. More amenities have been added to appeal to travelers – and in many cases, to occupy their time – while they wait for their flights,” said Barry Liben, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, a large North American travel company, in a press release.

Travel Leaders travel agents rated U.S. airports in the survey, ranking passenger-specific areas of connections, amenities, dining, business traveler services and entertaining kids.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) came in at number one for passenger amenities and dining and third place for being family friendly. Orlando International Airport (MCO) took first place for families with kids and Minnneapolis/St Paul International Airport (MSP) came in second place in all three.”At some of the busiest airports around the United States, there has been an explosion in service such as mini spas and salons, along with a retooling of the retail space toward higher-end goods and electronics,” added Liben. “The most significant change has been in the dining options. While food courts still exist, there are more and more health-conscious options and a real trend toward upscale cafés, restaurants and bars.”

Here are the top five in each category.

Best U.S. Airports for Amenities
1 Atlanta
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul
3 Chicago O’Hare
4 Dallas/Ft. Worth
5 Las Vegas

Best Airports for Dining
1 Atlanta
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul
3 Chicago O’Hare
4 Dallas/Ft. Worth
5 San Francisco

Best Airports for Families with Kids
1 Orlando
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul
3 Atlanta
4 Chicago O’Hare
5 Dallas/Ft. Worth.

The best U.S. airports for connecting flights were also rated with Atlanta, again, coming in at number one in the survey, based on responses from 930 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States, conducted November 19 – December 16, 2012.

Here are the other “Best Airports for Connections.”

1 Atlanta 40.5%
2 Charlotte 25.2%
3 Dallas/Ft. Worth 24.3%
4 Houston Intercontinental 18.2%
5 Detroit 17.5%
6 Minneapolis/St. Paul 16.7%
7 Chicago O’Hare 14.1%
8 Phoenix 10.1%
9 Denver 8.0%
10 (tie) New York (JFK) 7.9%
10 (tie) Salt Lake City 7.9%

What’s so special about the Atlanta airport? Watch this video to find out:


[Photo credit - Flickr user Brian Sahagun]