Which are the worst US airports?
While it’s difficult to identify the elements that make an airport “awful” or “horrible” and make a list of some of the worst of them, airline passengers make things easier. Like any other disgruntled customer, passengers angry or dissatisfied with certain things they saw or experienced at the airport complain about their situations on the internet.
Dealing with flight cancellations or delays is a burden on its own, and noisy airports with endless queues only make thinking less than ideal. While some airports are better than others, airline passengers have publicly criticized many of the places where planes fly to and from.
There are situations when you simply can’t choose another airport because the place you’re flying to has only one. However, when you have the option to choose from multiple airports, it helps you know which one to avoid.
This being said, based on security wait times, flight delays, the reviews of experts, and customer satisfaction surveys, here are the worst US airports!
9. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
According to online reviews, the Washington Dulles International Airport is considered one of the worst US airports. Its official website says that the airport serves as the primary international gateway for the US nation’s capital area. It has three main passenger terminals and is known for its “unique design that features a main terminal building connected to the concourses by mobile lounges.
IAD handles millions of passengers each year and serves over 125 destinations worldwide. Its location and layout are among the passengers’ main complaints.
While people noted this Virginia airport for being attractively built, they also pointed out the fact that some of the older buildings are starting to see some issues. The good news is that airport manager Richard Golinowsky made it known that a 14-gate concourse will be added, and the project is expected to be completed in 2026.
8. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Next on our list of the worst US airports is Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). According to the latest data, it’s the world’s third-busiest airport by aircraft movements and the second-busiest airport by passenger traffic in 2021. With millions of people walking through its aisles, it’s expected that things don’t go as smoothly as they should.
Flight cancellations and delays landed this massive hub in north Central Texas at nineth on our list of the worst US airports. These are the only types of complaints passengers seem to have when it comes to DFW.
By the way, this airport recently became the US airport with the most nonstop flights and is currently offering around 239 nonstop destinations.
7. West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW)
Next on our list of the worst US airports is the one located in Charleston, West Virginia. According to its official website, CRW strives “to make the travel experience hassle-free and enjoyable”. Moreover, it states that this is one of the most passenger-friendly airports in the country.
Is it, though? Airline passengers have something to say about CRW, too. According to some complaints, the location of this airport is labeled “scary,” as the area is surrounded on all sides by cliffs.
By the way, the facility was previously known as Yeager Airport but was recently renamed in order to be classified as “international”.
6. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
Cleveland Hopking International Airport is the primary facility of this kind, serving Northeast Ohio and Greater Cleveland. It’s the busiest and largest airport in the state, as well as the 43rd-busiest airport in the country by passenger numbers.
People who’ve been there say Ohio’s airport seems to have a problem with cancelled flights. In fact, when it comes to this type of complaint, CLE ranks as one of the worst US airports. Moreover, other passengers complained about its lack of space, saying the airport needs some updates.
A 2019 customer satisfaction study placed the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport even worse, coming second-to-last.
5. Denver International Airport (DIA)
Next on our list of the worst US airports is Denver International Airport, locally known as DIA. It’s the largest airport in the Western Hemisphere by land area and the second largest in the world.
Similar to other airports on this list, DIA seems to also have a problem with cancelled flights. According to the latest data, 21% of flights were cancelled or delayed in 2023, making DIA one of the worst US airports. But passengers are complaining about one more thing: turbulence.
Denver is surrounded by hilly, mountainous areas, and this can often result in bumpier flights than many may be used to.
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4. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
No. 5 on our list of the worst US airports is Philadelphia International Airport. Located seven miles from downtown Philadelphia, the facility is the only major airport serving the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the US.
Over 30 million passengers pass through the PHL each year, and some of them weren’t very happy with their experiences. Not only do delays and cancellations make passengers angry, but it seems that closed roads and tough traffic near the airport make for a rocky trip for travelers.
Moreover, some reports have named PHL dead last when it comes to airport customer satisfaction.
Can you guess which are the next entries on our list of the worst US airports?
3. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Los Angeles Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports, is the largest facility of this type in California, and millions of travelers pass through its gates every year. Within its nine terminals, there’s an impressive choice of restaurants and shops, and as the busiest and largest international airport on the west coast, it’s a connection point for people traveling internationally.
But what do passengers have to say about LAX? While people don’t complain about flight cancellations or delays, it’s still seen as one of the worst US airports due to the fact that the facility has a confusing layout, and thus you can easily get lost at it.
And there’s, obviously, the complaint related to the traffic, which is horrible in the area surrounding the airport.
2. LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
LaGuardia Airport, located on the northern edge of Queens, New York City, was the first major commercial airport in the country. Today, it’s part of the largest airport system in the US and one of the largest facilities of this kind in the world.
As of 2019, LGA was the third-busiest airport in the NY metropolitan area, behind Newark and Kennedy airports, and the twenty-first busiest in the US by passenger volume.
According to online reviews, LaGuardia Airport is clocked for running late on the clock, as travelers say cancellations and delays are common here. Data from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows around 22% of flights were cancelled or delayed from July 2022 to July 2023, making LGA one of the worst US airports.
1. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Simply known as Newark Airport, or EWR, this is the second-busiest airport in the New York metropolitan area behind Kennedy Airport. Located in New Jersey, EWR served about 43 million passengers in 2022, which made it the thirteenth-busiest airport in the country.
According to US Bureau of Transportation Statistics data, 24.3% of flights at EWR were delayed or cancelled between July 2022 and July 2023. Recently, Newark airport was shifted from being part of the New York City code by the International Air Transport Association. This will perhaps mean less competition for flights and, therefore, higher prices to New York.
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