These 10 airports are the worst for connecting flights

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By Dan Sears

It’s a plane nightmare flying out of these spots.

A new ranking reveals the 10 absolute worst airports in the US for connecting flights — with two primetime hubs in the NYC region landing on the list.

FinanceBuzz, a personal finance site, takes into account the number of gates on the opposite ends of terminals, the distances to the very farthest gates in an airport, and the need for transportation like trams within the airport for flyers to reach their gate.

Coming in at No. 1 is Denver International Airport, where the longest walk between any two possible gates is 34 minutes, according to the data.

It is perhaps fitting that someone created a Strava running challenge map there called “gate change gnar.”

A new ranking reveals the 10 absolute worst airports in the US for connecting flights — with Denver International Airport (pictured here) placing first. Getty Images
The longest walk between any two possible gates at Denver’s airport is 34 minutes, according to the FinanceBuzz data. Getty Images

Walking end to end in just one terminal takes 23 minutes.

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Both NYC airports in Queens — LaGuardia and JFK — placed fifth and sixth, respectively, on the list.

The 39-minute travel time between any two potential gates earned LGA its spot.

JFK, meanwhile, was ranked for its low connectivity score stemming from the 17-minute journey between security and the farthest gate.

Although not in FinanceBuzz’s listing, Newark Airport has consistently been considered one of, if not the worst airport in the nation for layovers and other stressors.

LAX in Los Angeles, the ninth worst in this dataset, had the worst and longest possible distance between two gates at nearly an hour of ground travel.

The 39-minute travel time between any two potential gates earned LaGuardia its fifth place spot. UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
JFK, meanwhile, ranked sixth for its low connectivity score stemming from the 17-minute journey between security and the farthest gate. Getty Images

The 10 worst US airports for connecting flights

  • Denver International
  • O’Hare in Chicago
  • Salt Lake City
  • John Wayne in Santa Ana, CA
  • LaGuardia
  • JFK
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport 
  • LAX
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

Conversely, Richmond International Airport in Virginia was ranked the nation’s best airport for connecting flights, as there’s only an eight-minute gap between any two potential gates.

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Not far behind, Washington DC’s Ronald Reagan airport came in 10th with an 18-minute travel time for that distance.

Hartford’s Bradley International Airport was ranked the fifth best since it only takes three minutes to traverse its largest terminal.

LAX in Los Angeles, the ninth worst in this dataset, had the worst and longest possible distance between two gates at nearly an hour of ground travel. Getty Images

The 10 best US airports for connecting flights

  • Richmond International
  • Tampa International
  • Boise Airport
  • Jacksonville International Airport
  • Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT
  • Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino, CA
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 
  • San Antonio International Airport 
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
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