And the results are in, and America’s best airport is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, according to a recent poll. Travel and Leisure Magazine polled its readers asking which is the best U.S. airport.
Surveys were collected from October 2022 to February 2023. During this time there were major weather and system delays. FlightAware reported that more than 10,000 flights were canceled and 13,000 delayed in the days leading up to Christmas, which no doubt impacted results.
Smaller airports were the overwhelming winners. Only Salt Lake City and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airports, major hubs, made the top 10.
“Most airports on the list are regional ones that serve as less-crowded alternatives to major airports that are often too small to handle their passenger flow,” wrote Travel and Leisure editors.
Travelers scored each airport on access, check-in and security, restaurants and bars, shopping and design.
1. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport – Manchester, New Hampshire
This airport is an alternative to Boston Logan Airport and sits about 53 miles away. While the two suffer through the same weather patterns in the winter, congested Boston Logan sees 22.7% of flights canceled or delayed during that season. FlightAware ranked Boston tops in canceled winter flights, with 1,792 over winter on average.
Manchester-Boston maintained an 81% on time arrival during the winter of 2022/23 except for December where on time dipped to 68% according to the Bureau of Statistics. Over December, Boston Logan had a 70% on time score. January and February were only slightly improved in the 74 to 77%.
“All the employees I encounter at MHT are knowledgeable and truly enjoy their job,” one Travel and Leisure reader commented. “Security is a breeze, and the TSA agents are extremely professional.”
Other readers commented on the efficiency of getting into and out of the airport and cleanliness of the airport serving 1.2 million people last year. This is down from about 2 million annually pre-pandemic, according to airport stats. Boston Logan welcomed around 42 million passengers pre-pandemic, according to the state.
2. Indianapolis International Airport – Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis serves about 7 million people a year. Each year, the airport stumbles from their around 80% on time arrival score during June and December. The June change of seasons sees thunderstorms and occasionally tornadoes. December’s passenger counts soar and icing on planes slows planes down.
Indianapolis’ score was a full four points below the top choice, 81 versus 85.
3. Tampa International Airport – Tampa, Florida
Tampa’s on-time arrival was only 71% for 2022. The BOR’s airport stats show high on-time numbers for the fall after the summer pattern of afternoon thunderstorms clears out. Christmas holidays and spring break time also showed a lower rate.
Tampa also scored in tenth place for the most lost luggage at an airport in 2022, according to a Price4Limo report using data from the Department of Transportation.
The airport reports that about 22 million passengers fly through Tampa annually. The giant flamingo sculpture (pictured above) is in the running for a Codaworx People’s Choice Award for art.
4. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Despite the frigid weather and constant need for deicing, Minneapolis’ on-time arrival score was almost 92%. December numbers are soft with additional holiday travelers but fall scores in the 90% range buoy the average.
Minneapolis saw 31.2 million passengers in 2022, according to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
5. Portland International Airport – Portland, Oregon
Rounding out the top 5 is Portland International Airport. Officials report that about 7.2 passengers flew through the airport in 2022. The on-time arrival score is over 79% for all of 2022, with December dropping to 65%.
The cold ocean current off the city sets the airport up for frequent cloud cover. Winter 2022/23 storms were also particularly strong thanks to the parade of atmospheric river-fueled storms that pounded the West Coast.