The vote is in, and our loyal readers and travelers have chosen their top eight favorite U.S. airports! Our readers love to travel, have voted, and these airports made the list!
From their ease of connections to great destinations, hotel accessibility, location, ground access, and car rental offerings, these airports placed at the top!
1. Denver International Airport (DEN)
Our readers’ favorite airport is Denver International Airport. The airport is just east of the Front Range in the Rocky Mountains, in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado.
This is United Airlines country, and they dominate this airport. It’s also serviced by most U.S. carriers and is a hub for Frontier and Southwest as well. Serving as Colorado’s only international airport, it’s the global gateway to Denver and is used by thousands of people daily. It offers direct flights around the country and has connections now through Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
The Denver International Airport boasts:
- 26 international destinations in 11 countries
- An easy 30-minute commute to downtown Denver
- Ample parking outside of the airport for drop-off, short-term, and long-term parking
- The Transit Center, which grants easy access by bus or train to the University of Colorado and the Denver Airport Train
- Shuttles taking you to many destinations within the Rocky Mountains
- Train access within the airport, connecting Terminals B–E
- Hundreds of places to eat and grab a Denver brew, cocktail, or a coffee
- Several stories to shop
- Indoor private pet relief rooms
- Many art installations
- Stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains
- The largest square-mile footprint of any airport in the US. It’s big!
2. Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Have you heard the phrase Keep Austin Weird? It’s time to get wacky! The city of Austin has embraced this weird and zany slogan, and it shows at the airport. If arriving for the first time at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, you too will be versed quickly!
AUS is just southeast of the center of Texas. Unique to this airport, AUS has live music performances, reinforcing the city’s desire to become the “Music Capital of the World.” Passengers can experience and feel the energy of live musicians jamming as they walk throughout the airport. They can also witness these experiences unique to AUS:
- Great music, live or piped in from local radio station KUTX
- Amazing food options and local and tasty lip-smacking barbecue
- Grab a cup of coffee served by a robot, located at Gate 12 and 17
- Easy to navigate for transit; drop-off and pick-up
- Visit the open Skydeck near Gate 3; open to all passengers
- Two outdoor patios on the mezzanine level between Gates 1 and 2, plus an air-conditioned area
Pro Tip: Be sure to check the airport wait times. The 2022 summer is going to be hectic and security lines will be very long!
3. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
Coming in third place is where our readers have put their hearts: in Love Field, Texas. What Dallas Love Field Airport lacks in size, compared to her big sister DFW Airport just up the road, she makes up in history and hospitality.
True Southern hospitality is what keeps passengers coming back. It’s a smaller and simplified airport, making this a breeze to transit to the Dallas proper area, just 6 miles away. It’s small enough to walk about, with no need for rail service or shuttle buses to get around. This is truly Southwest Airlines country, and it’s evident they dominate this part of the state.
Unlike bigger airports, DAL lacks the fancy airline lounges and upscale eateries found at most larger airports. But you can soak up a bit of U.S. history and visit an area located inside the airport with historical documents and actual photographs of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office shortly after the JFK assassination. This was presided over by a judge inside Air Force One parked on the tarmac.
DAL is serviced by Southwest, Delta, and Alaska Airlines. It features:
- 26 restaurants, cafes, and grab-and-go food kiosks
- Free Wi-Fi for all passengers
- 1,000 charging plugs and USB ports throughout the airport
- Ample parking and valet parking
4. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Sea-Tac, as the locals call it, has plenty of things to do if you have a bit of time between flights. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Pacific Northwest, SEA is perched on a plateau above Puget Sound. Growing almost every year in size, SEA has domestic and international destinations that feed the northwest part of the country and the world.
This is Alaska Airlines territory. They dominate here, but most other U.S. carriers flow through here as well.
These are just a few things to do at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport:
- Listen to sounds of Seattle cascading off the walls as live musicians play on select days
- Visit loads of coffee bars to grab your favorite coffee concoction
- Buy a day pass at the Alaska Lounge and view the Olympic Mountain range over a roaring fireplace through floor-to-ceiling glass windows
- Tour the airport, take an art walk, and see Native American artwork on display
- Eat at one of over 40 different cafes, restaurants, and bars
- Grab a bite at Lucky Louie Fish Shack
Pro Tip: Be sure to grab Seattle’s favorite spice rub, Tom Douglas’s Rub with Love, for salmon and other meats for home!
5. Tampa International Airport (TPA)
Sun and fun — that’s what I think of when I dream of Florida, and our readers love it too! Tampa International Airport has it all; it’s centrally located near the best beaches, has great shopping, and is close to Orlando’s theme parks. It’s also an international destination, making it a gateway to the western coast of Florida, with expedited customs and all! It features:
- 70 new shops and restaurants
- A new and modern car rental center that’s less than 5 minutes by tram
- Quick automated passport kiosks to create shorter and quicker customs lines
- New destinations this summer in Latin America and the Caribbean
- The can’t-miss new 21-foot flamingo sculpture
- Short security lines
Pro Tip: TPA is less crowded, easier to navigate, and usually costs less than flights to Orlando International Airport.
6. Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
Whether it is summer or winter, this airport has you covered — literally! Its exterior walkways are protected. Facing the elements — whether it’s freezing cold with blowing snow or sweltering hot with high humidity — isn’t going to happen here. I’m sure our voters agree that Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport has got it under control.
Located just 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, this airport is a hub for Delta and Sun Country Airlines. MSP is a centrally located travel hub popular for its ease of check-in, security, and amenities. A great location for jumping off for international destinations, this airport is key for travelers who live in the upper Midwest.
Take advantage of:
- Great animal service ambassador programs and furry friends to hug
- Over 50 top-notch dining options serving great and unique local foods
- One-of-a-kind local shops selling souvenirs, jewelry, and outdoor adventure clothes
- Walking on the 1.4-mile walking path burning off airport gourmet grub
- One of the friendliest airports with its Minnesota Nice employees who assist travelers throughout the airport
- The Twin City’s reputation as an art hub throughout the airport
- Playing on the public piano near Terminal 1
- Airline lounges offered by Delta and United
Pro Tip: Need a back adjustment? Pop into the Chiroport at Terminal1.
7. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
Some might not even consider Charlotte, North Carolina, an international hub, but American Airlines does! The passengers that travel through Charlotte Douglas International Airport enjoy the upgrades the airport has recently completed and will continue with until 2035.
The airport’s size and distance from downtown Charlotte make this the sparkle of the South. Passengers love the number of shops and the number of restaurants available between flights. It’s a fairly large airport and serves more than 45 million passengers a year. The airport has one large terminal building, called the Atrium, and connects to five concourses. Passengers love how easy it is to navigate between the concourses. There are no trams or shuttles, and all gates are under one roof and easily walkable.
At the Charlotte Airport, you can:
- People watch and take a selfie in the popular white rocking chairs
- Eat, drink, and grab snacks to go
- Find ample parking with Business Valet and Curbside Valet services
- Fly on Delta, Southwest, United, JetBlue, Spirt, and Frontier’s daily departures.
- Take advantage of many international destinations, that include Europe, the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico.
Pro Tip: Summer of 2022 parking will be in high demand. Book online before you arrive.
8. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Most people hear the words Orlando International Airport and think, Disney World! That’s because MCO is so close to the four Disney World amusement parks. Disney World is only 17 miles away, so this airport makes the best sense if time is a concern for Mouseketeers.
Transportation headaches have been removed for visitors with easy transit to hotels. There are shuttles, rental cars, car and rideshare services, and taxis. MCO is large and requires planning since most airlines utilize terminals that require a monorail ride. Summer 2022 is going to be busy, so plan ahead for longer lines in security and navigate to the correct monorail platform to your terminal.
At MCO, you can:
- Jump on the monorail, like Disney’s, to and from the main terminal
- Shop at many stores, like Oakley, Ron Jon’s, and Brookstone
- Visit the Hyatt located inside the airport terminal
- Shop for theme-park merchandise if you missed it at Disney World
- Stop in the SeaWorld shop and visit its large aquarium at Terminal C
- See impressive public art viewable in every terminal (my favorite is the Wylands mural of the manatees near Terminals A and B on level 3)
Pro Tip: Be sure to look outside your terminal window. There are numerous alligators in the airport ponds and, yes, they do cross the taxiways!
Cleared For Travel!
We want to thank all of our readers for participating. Hopefully, these tips and recommendations can make your next travel experience better, more fun, and memorable!
For more from our Best of Travel Awards, check out these stories:
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