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What Makes an Airport Work & Why the US Isn’t Keeping Up Globally

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LAX International Airport Credit Courtney CrockettIn the annual Skytrax awards, not one U.S. airport showed up in the the top 25 list. We’re being outpaced by airports in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Yes, U.S. airports have a long way to go to compare to their global competitors.

So these rewards matter, a bit. But they aren’t the most essential criteria for an airport.

Instead, Peter has a simpler rule. He doesn’t define a great airport by great shopping, or spas, or restaurants. If an airport features cute rocking chairs, that’s a red flag for him (translation: you’re going to be here a while).

For road warriors and frequent flyers, the bottom line to good airports is actually quite simple:

  • How easy is it to get to the airport? What’s the impact of automobile traffic and possible gridlock? Are there great mass transit options?
  • How easy is it to navigate the airport? How quickly can you get to the plane?
  • How well is the airport designed to actually allow for on time performance? How long is the taxi time? How many usable runways? How realistically is the airport scheduled by airlines?