Flying during the holidays can be stressful.
Whether you’re headed to see your family, or you simply need to get away, the airport environment can make a huge difference in your flying experience. What sets one airport apart from another? An easy transition through security, kind and caring employees, and little perks like food and drink that make flying fun. We took a good look at many of the major airports in the United States and rounded up the least stressful cities to fly into because of their top-notch airports.
Portland International Airport has built a reputation as one of the best airports to fly into in the United States, and for good reason.
Portland airport is known for moving travelers through TSA quickly and easily along with the kind and caring attitude of airport employees. Fitting to the rest of the city, Portland International is truly unique. Traveling is fun, whether you’re flying for work or pleasure, thanks to a rotating art exhibit, a small movie theater playing short films at no charge, and affordable restaurants that often feature local foods.
Is Indianapolis International Airport the best airport in America? It depends on who you ask! This airport and Portland are neck-and-neck for this title. Indianapolis was ranked number one by the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards in 2018.
Offering a non-stop flight to Paris has really put this airport on the map. Additionally, they have some of the best airport food in the country. Traveler services also include access to a full-service spa, walking paths sponsored by the American Heart Association, and meditation rooms.
A 2018 Wall Street Journal survey named Denver International Airport the best of the largest airports in the United States. While there is much to love about this airport, their hard work to making flying as convenient as possible makes Denver stand out above the crowd. The free wi-fi is fast, getting through security is a breeze, and travelers experience few delays. Additionally, Denver has one of the highest J.D. Power’s Ratings for passenger satisfaction scores.
On top of all that ease of travel, Denver International offers some pretty relaxing amenities. Travelers can chill out in one of the massage chairs sprinkled throughout the airport terminals or find one of two spas to engage in a little extra pampering. Did we mention the Denver airport also has three different rotating exhibits?
This airport earns its bragging rights largely because it’s drama-free. When you fly in and out of Salt Lake City, you can have confidence in their record for having few delays and flight cancellations. In 2018, they also received pretty high marks in customer satisfaction from J.D. Powers.
Like many of the other airports on this list, Salt Lake City has gone the extra mile to provide travelers with amenities that will improve their visit. Check out the art collection in the connectors between each terminal or use their online mile tracker to get a little extra exercise and boost your serotonin levels while waiting for your next flight.
Flying into Washington DC can be a headache. Airport traffic, whether you’re leaving town or visiting D.C., can add a lot of stress to your trip. To cut back on stress, we suggest flying out of Baltimore-Washington Airport, which is located in the suburbs of Baltimore. This airport has a reputation for less traffic when compared to Washington D.C.’s more central airports, Dulles and Ronald Reagan.
Before you assume that being in the suburbs makes getting to D.C. inconvenient, you should know that the airport is located right on the Amtrak line. While there, travelers can relieve some stress and kill time between flights by renting a bike and taking a ride on a twelve-mile trail or head outside for some fresh air and art on their observation deck. Travelers with a little less time can spend a few minutes getting centered in their public meditation room.
Airport food has a reputation for being boring and expensive, but George Bush Intercontinental Airport shines thanks to their food options. Over the last few years, this airport has gotten some pretty serious upgrades including the addition of multiple new restaurants. Ember, for example, features a menu created by James Beard Recipient Chef Chris Shephard. Travelers can spend long layovers relaxing in one of the many massage chairs scattered throughout the airport.
Like the Baltimore-Washington Airport, being a bit removed from the hustle of downtown makes George Bush International a lower stress airport to fly in and out of since less traffic means for smoother transportation to and from the airport.
Tampa International is another airport considered to be among the best of the best, and it isn’t solely because of its close proximity to the beach. Over the last half decade, Tampa has made major updates as part of their two-phase renovation plan.
All that hard work is paying off. In 2016, Tampa International was named among the best of the biggest airports in the country by passengers participating in a AirportXP survey. So what’s so great about Tampa International? This airport is easy to access, with an efficient shuttle service and close proximity to downtown. Getting through TSA is also easy, which is enough to win travelers over forever. Tampa International also has a lot of fun food options, added during the recent renovation, which reflect the local culture.
It takes a special kind of airport to be named the best airport in North America two years in a row, but that is exactly what Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport has accomplished over the last two years in the Airports Council International survey.
What is so great about this airport? Check-in and security are easy and fairly stress-free, the restrooms are top notch, and they have great food and restaurants for passing your time between flights. Additional amenities include a designated quiet area, two areas for kids to play, and a luxury spa.
Thanks to the easy commute to downtown Phoenix, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is another low-stress destination if you’re flying. They have a light rail that makes commuting simple, inexpensive parking, and they have fast, free wifi available in all of the terminals.
Additionally, Phoenix has a really killer indoor fitness trail. Pick up a map and check for scenic views from the windows of the airport. One thing that sets Phoenix apart are their volunteers, all wearing purple jackets, welcoming travelers to the city and answering any question that might come up.
When people are nice to you at the airport, it really changes how you feel about travel. That’s exactly why Dallas Love Field made it onto this list — they’ve got a reputation for being friendly! In 2018, they received the best rating from J.D. Powers for customer satisfaction. This rating includes easy check-in, low-stress security, and great airport facilities.
Family-friendly amenities, like a children’s play area and a nursing mother’s area, make family travel simple.
Detroit Metro Airport is another airport receiving high marks on the J.D. Powers customer satisfaction survey in 2018. Even more impressive, perhaps, is the fact that the CEO of Delta declared this airport the “best in the world” in 2015.
So what does Detroit have to offer that sets it apart? Checking in is pretty easy, their security process is drama-free, and they have plenty of on-site amenities to make your travel time interesting. If you’re feeling frazzled after your flight, make sure you stop by the reflection room. There are also spaces for children to play and a family restroom, significantly de-stressing travel with kids.
This airport hasn’t always been a popular destination for people looking for low-stress flights, but recent growth over the last decade has changed things for Sacramento. They’ve caught the attention of travelers by offering more non-stop flights and lower fares through Frontier.
If you’re flying into Sacramento, take the time to see the art from all over the world scattered through both terminals. Food options vary from grab-and-go, healthy items, to sit down meals and bars.
According to the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards, this Connecticut airport is among the best airports in North America. This airport is recognized as providing a low-stress environment thanks to their fast and free wi-fi and access to charging stations all over the terminals.
The real dream come true about this airport is that travelers report it to have a relaxed vibe. It simply isn’t as rushed and rowdy as other, larger airports.