11 Best Airports

17

As someone who’s job is hanging out in airports, I consider myself an expert when it comes to airports. Additionally, I’ve slept on a few airport floors (this was pre-flight attendant life) and I’ve gone through many different international airports. All of this makes me (in my opinion) fully knowledgeable on what makes a good airport. However I’m only ranking the airports I’ve been to, so this excludes all of Asian and South American’s airports.  I’m basing my criteria on a few things:

  • Food options
  • Seating availability
  • Charging availability
  • Varity of shopping options

Delays, cancellations and other issues that may arise when traveling are not a factor in my decision as these are not the airports fault. My rankings are below and I explain why I gave each airport the ranking I did.

  1. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
    • This is by far the best international airport that I have experienced. I’ve flown through Amsterdam three times, once going through Europe and twice flying back to the United States. Each time, it has been such a breeze. Customs going into Amsterdam is easy and fast. Once you’re at the main terminal, the signage is easy to understand. Additionally, if you are like me and you’re not using cell data, they have free WiFi available and free computers to use (I believe there is a time limit on computer use). Lots of food options and duty free shopping as well. Give yourself extra time to get through security flying out of Amsterdam as they have an extra layer of screenings flying out of Amsterdam.
  2. London Heathrow
    • London Heathrow’s airport is a experience. Especially if you fly out of British Airway’s terminal 5 this is an experience. I’ve flown out of Terminal 5 twice, once in 2016 and earlier this year. The terminal is a newer terminal for Heathrow and it shows. I forget I’m in an airport as the terminal is more of a shopping and food destination then a waiting area. If you forget any last minute gifts to bring home, never fear, you’ll be able to get them here and plenty more. Seating was not an issue, surprisingly, neither were finding charging outlets. If it wasn’t so expensive to fly out of, I would fly out of Heathrow more often.
  3. Dublin Airport
    • The reason why I love the Dublin Airport is because you can now go through U.S. Customs while in Dublin. This makes traveling back to the U.S. so seamless and faster that this puts Dublin at #3 on the list for me. The airport itself is really nice and easy to navigate. The signage is good and the employees are friendly. If flying into Dublin Airport, there are various different ways to get into the city without needing to take an expensive taxi. There’s also plenty of shops and food options available in the airport.
  4. Portland (OR) International Airport
    • I love, love, love Portland’s airport. The airport is relatively small, but has all the amenities you want in an airport. If you are flying out of the airport, I recommend you stop at the Elephant Deli before security and get something to eat there. Another reason why I love Portland’s airport is their food and prices are reasonable. The City of Portland passed legislation which prevented the airport from imposing exorbitant airport taxes and all the prices had to reflect the same price of everything you could purchase in the city. Thus, the food and other items you purchase in the airport aren’t ridiculously expensive.
  5. Denver Airport
    • While I still think the Illuminati are headquartered in the Denver Airport, I’ve never actually found any evidence this might be the case. Regardless, I think the Denver airport is a really nice airport. The airport is actually really big, but the signage is really well done that it’s hard to get lost. They offer lots of great food options (hello Caribou coffee), but are a little lacking on the shopping options. However, they do have a direct train from the airport to downtown Denver which I think is an important amenity to highlight.
  6. Seattle-Tacoma Airport
    • I have to disclaimer here, I am based in Seattle which means this is the airport I fly out of every time I go to work. However, I do think it’s a really great airport (when it’s not under construction like it is right now). The airport is pretty seamless and easy to navigate. The signage is clear and the airport has stepped up their food game in order to compete with other airports. Also I’m biased so I had to throw this airport in. Also there’s some great shopping there, you can go to the SubPop Records Store in the airport and get some really cool unique things from there.
  7. Minneapolis- St.Paul Airport
    • I spent three years in Minneapolis/St. Paul so I’ve flown out of this airport quite a bit. Earlier this year I got stranded in the airport flying home from England and I ended up spending 6 hours hanging out. I know this airport pretty well now and I still think it’s one of the best airports I’ve been to. Actually bigger than it seems (I’ve run through the airport many times, I’m always winded by the time I get to the E gates from the A gates. They have some great food options and the ability to play games on iPads that are located at some of the restaurants. They also have two terminals so make sure you’re at the right terminal or meeting someone at the right terminal. My mom flew into one terminal and I flew into a different one and we spent a good twenty minutes trying to find each other before we realized we were at two different terminals (#rookiemistake). They also have a rail system that can take you into Minneapolis from the airport.
  8. D.C. Airport
    • I like this airport a lot. For a major hub airport, it is seamless and pretty easy to navigate. It doesn’t feel overwhelming or too big. I think they have really good food options as well. Going through security is easy and pretty fast. I honestly thought it was a fluke how simple and easy the D.C. airport is. I would gladly fly out of D.C. more often. My only complaint is they don’t have as much seating available as I think they could.
  9. Salzburg Airport
    • This is a really small airport which is why I liked it. It’s really easy to get to and from downtown Salzburg to the airport, it’s just a simple bus ride away. Salzburg is a really great city to visit, so if you get a chance I highly recommend it. The airport is small but it still has all the amenities that you want in an airport. The food is reasonably priced and there is plenty of seating. I ended up being at the airport for a few hours longer than anticipated because I thought it would take me longer to get to the airport than it actually did. I was able to kill plenty of time wandering through the few shops it had and it was easy to get through security.
  10. Chicago-O’Hare Airport
    • I love this airport because during the holidays I have major Home Alone nostalgia walking through the airport. Also it’s a very big airport which means there are plenty of food and shopping options. Seating near the gates can be limited which is a drawback. Signage is pretty good and it’s easy to navigate. I enjoy walking through the airport as there is a lot just to take in and they always decorate it.
  11. Keflavik Airport
    • Iceland’s Airport is a destination. With Icelandair making more of a splash in the U.S. I was excited to experience their airport. I know a lot of people don’t like the airport, but I’ve never had any issues. However, I do acknowledge that seating can be an issue in the airport if you have a long layover. All of Icelandair’s flights have a layover in the airport, and if you choose not to do the stopover, then you could be in the airport for significant periods of times. I was only in the airport two and half hours prior to my flight to England and thought the airport was fine and offered all the amenities that I would want in an airport.

Any airports you think I missed? Or you disagree with me?

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3 comments

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  1. BeckieWrites

    Great list! I’m bookmarking this for later. I’ve flown out of Philadelphia a couple times in the past. It was okay but nothing to write home about. You’re right- Heathrow is an experience! It made our trip easier when we left from Dublin because we could go through customs there.

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