Atlanta ranks as the top preferred domestic airport if clients have a connecting flight, while Chicago O’Hare ranks as the top domestic airport to avoid if making a connection, according to a nationwide survey of Travel Leaders Group agents.
Hartsfield–Jackson also was identified as the top airport for amenities, dining and providing the best services for business travelers; Minneapolis/St. Paul ranked second in amenities, dining, and for helping to keep kids entertained and occupied.
Conducted November 19 - December 16, 2012, these findings are based on responses from 930 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who indicated that they book air travel for their clients.
“Major airports have transformed considerably in the last decade to accommodate the shift in the amount of time travelers spend there. More amenities have been added to appeal to travelers – and in many cases, to occupy their time – while they wait for their flights,” Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben said. “At some of the busiest airports around the United States, there has been an explosion in service such as mini spas and salons, along with a retooling of the retail space toward higher-end goods and electronics. The most significant change has been in the dining options. While food courts still exist, there are more and more health-conscious options and a real trend toward upscale cafés, restaurants and bars. In our survey, we wanted to see which airports seem to resonate most positively with our clients in number of categories.”
Best U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and agents were asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they prefer?” Respondents were allowed to choose up to three airports. The Top 10 domestic airports are Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston Intercontinental, Detroit, Minneapolis/St Paul, Chicago/O'Hare, Phoenix, Denver and New York (JFK) tied with Salt Lake City for 10th place.
Worst U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
When asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they try to avoid?” the top airports to avoid in order of ranking were Chicago O'Hare, New York (JFK), Atlanta, New York (LGA), Newark, Miami, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft Worth and Los Angeles.
Top U.S. Airports for Business Travel Services:
When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say offers the best services for business travelers?” the Top 10 that emerged from nearly 700 agents' responses are: Atlanta, Chicago/O'Hare, Dallas/Ft Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York (JFK), Detroit, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, New York (LGA), with Newark, San Francisco and Washington DC (Dulles) tying for 10th place.
Top U.S. Airports for Amenities
Today, airport amenities can range from spas and yoga rooms to art exhibits and putting greens. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airport for amenities?” Travel Leaders Group agents named (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth, and (5) Las Vegas as their Top 5 U.S. airports for amenities. This particular question is based on responses from 489 agents.
Top U.S. Airports for Dining
Some of the most significant upgrades at airport have been to the dining options available to air travelers. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airports for dining?” Travel Leaders Group agents identified (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth, and (5) San Francisco as their Top 5. This particular question is based on responses from 526 agents.
Top U.S. Airports for Families with Kids
Traveling with kids poses additional challenges, particularly when trying to keep kids entertained while spending time in airports. When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say are the best for helping to keep kids entertained and occupied?” Travel Leaders Group agents listed their Top 5 U.S. airports as: (1) Orlando, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Atlanta, (4) Chicago O’Hare and (5) Dallas/Ft. Worth. This particular question is based on responses from 314 agents.
These trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 1,045 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.