The Best Airports In The Country, According To The Masses


What makes a great airport? Is it the food options? The distance from the airport is from downtown? The time it takes to get from the curb to the gate? The design and decor? Should it have a Cinnabon so you can indulge at the gate or will that only lead to self-hate during your flight?

Over at Ranker, they polled their users to parse which airports really are the best in the country. By doing so, they also established the worst (New York’s JFK, Newark, and La Guardia took three of the bottom five spots). In the end, there was a clear top ten that highlighted very big hubs and smaller gems peppered throughout the country. The layout seems to be a key factor across the board, as the leaders are all easily navigable.

You can check out the whole list here to see where your home airport falls on the list. We also did you the favor of checking whether or not the airport in question has a dang Cinnabon, because clearly we have our priorities straight. Did the poll takers get it right? Are they all fools who value layout over frosting?

Here are the top ten, according to over ten-thousand votes.

10. SeaTac – SEA

SeaTac has a couple great things going for it. There’s a killer food court right in the middle of everything with an Anthony’s Homeport and an Ivar’s for all your local seafood needs. Ivar’s even packs to go bowls of their famous clam chowder for your flights and we all know creamy clam chowder is better than almost all in-flight food.

SeaTac also has a killer record shop in the Sub Pop store and you can fulfill all your vinyl needs while waiting for your flight. Good food and good music is a win-win in our book.


9. Tampa – TPA

Tampa’s advantage is that it works off a satellite terminal system or what’s called a Landslide/Airside design. That means that no single terminal is ever overcrowded or impossible to get through — in most cases anyway.

This innovative design, where you are funneled away from the crowds, consistently puts Tampa at the top of several best airports in the country rankings. You can also grab a Cigar City brew while you’re waiting, which is another plus.


8. Washington National – DCA

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Bye Washington DC

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Washington National, or Ronald Reagan, has the huge advantage of being right in the middle of the Washington, DC’s metro area. You can take the Metro straight to the airport for less than $4. You can also get into the city via the Blue or Yellow lines in less than 20 minutes (the National Mall is only ten minutes away on the Yellow Line).

The airport is also fairly small, making it very easy to navigate and get from curb to gate and vice versa.


7. John Wayne – SNA

John Wayne AKA Orange County Airport AKA Santa Ana AKA SNA is a great small hub (with an obvious name problem). The gates are just past the check-in area making the whole place very easy (and fast) to navigate. It’s the sort of airport where you can be curbside in less than five minutes if you don’t have any bags to check.

There’s also an express bus straight to Disneyland right at the airport — the place knows its market.


6. Detroit Metro – DTW

Detroit Metro is a major hub, especially compared to John Wayne above. But it’s fairly similar in design. It’s based on one long terminal that stretches out like a big wing (and, in this case, another satellite terminal). There’s an express tram that runs along the main terminal to get you where you need to go fairly quickly, which is a big plus.


5. Portland – PDX

Portland’s Airport, or PDX as it’s locally referred to, is another easy airport to navigate. The layout is the key component here with a central terminal for shopping, eating, drinking, and chilling with four concourses branching off each corner. None of the concourses are too long, so you never have to walk too far to get from your pint of beer to your gate.


4. Phoenix Sky Harbor – PHX

Phoenix is another big airport that seems to get things right. The airport is spread over three separate terminals to thin out over-crowding. Terminals two and three are rather small and easy to get in and out of. Terminal four is the big one with heavier traffic, but still relatively fast to get around.

Overall, there’s nothing extraordinary at the airport, but it is only five miles from downtown Phoenix. That means, you can be in the center of the city in less than ten minutes if you’re in a car — or less than 20 minutes if you’re using the LTRL light rail. That’s a huge advantage.


3. Denver – DEN

Denver is the opposite of Phoenix when it comes to proximity. It’s 30 miles outside the city, which is a long haul.

There’s also a hell horse statue with glowing red eyes that’ll greet you at Denver’s airport. Some call it War Horse. Others call it Blucifer. All’s we know is that it killed its creator. That’s not a joke.

Point being, Denver’s airport is … unique. There are a lot of apocalyptic and fascist murals that greet travelers in the terminals. Which is weird. Add in the swastika runway layout, and you have one of the weirdest airports in the world. But it’s also a huge, spacious airport that’s well-fitted and efficient. Plus, you’ll have all sorts of conspiracy theories to talk on your flight out or drive into Denver once you walk through the place.


2. San Francisco – SFO

San Francisco’s airport is another decent airport to get around and to get in and out of with ease. It’s only 15 miles from the city. You can use the BART or jump in an Uber to be in San Francisco in less than 30 minutes.

SFO has a unique design with a circular center with seven tentacle arms branching out with gates. It’s not the most modern airport in the world, but at least there aren’t devil horses outside the terminals.


1. Minneapolis-Saint Paul – MSP

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MSP is a pretty big hub in the middle of America. It’s a big airport with four huge terminals branching out from the main hub. There’s a tram that’ll get you around the massive layout. And it’s not far from the city centers. Downtown Minneapolis is only ten miles away and the Mall of America is only a five-minute drive from the terminal.

There are freaking roller-coasters at the Mall of America, too, making it the perfect layover destination.

CINNABON ON SITE? No. Clearly, this is a conspiracy on the level of chemtrails. What’s going on, Ranker voters?