ranking the nation's 15 busiest airports on nine criteria, including their number of shops and restaurants, wifi speeds, on-time departures and canceled flights.What are the best and worst airports to connect through in the United States? Online booking site Orbitz decided to find out,
The conclusion? Go ahead and book that connect through Atlanta. (Breaking news: Stock prices of torch and pitchfork manufacturers rise sharply as people read that statement.) But whatever you do, avoid connecting through Charlotte and Newark. (Gotta agree with that, right? Full disclosure of bias, though. I have been to 49 of the 50 states. The one I have avoided? New Jersey.)
Popular theme park destinations Orlando and Los Angeles placed back-to-back just under the halfway point on the list, with LAX getting dinged for its low number of stores, even though it came in third for places to eat. Orlando was pretty much the middle of the pack throughout, though it offered a below-average number of lounges.
Here's the list, from best connection option to the worst. The number in parentheses is the airport's rank for number of passengers carried last year.
The trick with an analysis like this, though, is that some airports allow you to access only part of their terminal without having to go back through security. That limits your options for food, shops, and lounges on a tight connection time. Travelers flying through Orlando are limited to using the facilities in the one of the four airsides where they land., while at LAX, you're pretty much stuck in one or two of its nine terminals. If you're flying on Delta through LAX, for example, you get the airport's Shake Shack. Through Orlando on Delta, you get pretty much crap. (Table service restaurants on an connection are the airport equivalent of playing the lottery. Will your meal get to the table on time?)
Ultimately, most airline passengers in the U.S. have a limited choice of options for where to connect, as the consolidating airline industry has left many cities with a smaller number of airlines and flights. But when you do have a choice, it's nice to have some data to guide your decision.
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