Triangle Trip

Tag: top 5 airports in the us

Best Airports for Connecting Flights

by on Sep.07, 2012, under Airlines

In response to Terminal D‘s latest post regarding minimum layover time best practices, here is a list of airports that are best for layovers:

1.  Charlotte Douglas International Airport — Aside from rain during hurricane season, Charlotte, North Carolina has decent weather so you’ll not have to be concerned about being stuck. CLT is a USAir hub with gates that are fairly close to one another. USAir does a pretty good job managing connecting flights and making sure your gates are close together. If you’re switching airlines, you do not need to go through security screening from terminal to terminal. Finally, CLT has a decent food court.

2.  Salt Lake City International Airport — Like CLT, SLC is pretty efficient where all terminals are connected. Salt Lake City doesn’t have much delays compared to Denver if you are choosing a connecting flight in the mountain region. SLC is great for Delta flights as it is their secondary hub.

3.  Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport — Although PHX is huge but weather is always on your side. You’ll never be delayed due to weather. Have ever you heard of bad weather in Phoenix? Ever? The downside to PHX is having to go from Gate A26 to B25 (see below) which is quite a walk. The trick is to look for one of the gate cart agents to give you a ride. Just tip the driver a few bucks and he’ll get you from gate to gate in a matter of minutes. PHX also has free WiFi service.

4.  Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson — Despite being one of the busiest airport in the US, I have never had any issues connecting in ATL. ATL’s terminal tram system is also fast compared to other tram systems (i.e., Denver, Houston, etc.).

5.  Las Vegas McCarran. This is probably the best place to be stuck if you missed a connection. LAS has are plenty of machines (video poker, Wheel of Fortune, etc.) to keep you busy while you wait for your connection. If you’re stuck overnight, go try your luck on the Strip. In addition, almost every major airline has a non stop flight out of LAS. So worst case scenario is for you to bring your cancelled flight ticket to another airline and beg them to let you on their plane.

For more information about our point of view on airports, here’s a list of the Top 5 Worst Airports in the US and the Top 5 Airports in America.

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Minimum Layover Time Best Practices

by on Aug.28, 2012, under Airlines, Business Travel

While the answer should be “direct flights only,” sometimes work sends us to places where we don’t have the luxury of options.  I’ve become an avid user of Hipmunk when it comes to booking complex travel, but have run across issues with what they deem to be appropriate layover windows.

While Detroit (DTW) is a perfectly fine airport and getting from gate A1 to A77 is a surprisingly easy affair when utilizing the indoor tram, getting from Concourse A to Concourse C requires no less than several sherpas and a dune buggy.  On a recent layover (connections on the same airline) I had 32 minutes to get from an A gate to a C gate.  Only for the providence of a flight delay did I make my flight.

So I have three questions for this community:

1. Can flight aggregators better predict sufficient layover times based on historical gate placement of flights?

2. What is generally the right time threshold for a layover?  45 min?

3. What airports are your personal torments when it comes to bad layovers?  (ORD, LAX and ATL are too obvious)

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Top 5 Airports in America

by on Jan.15, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

A follow up to the post of the worst airports in the US, here’s a list of the best airports in the US. We used the same evaluation criteria to come up with this list:

#5. Washington DC Reagan (DCA) – DCA is extremely easy to get in and out of since it is located in Arlington, VA and only 3 miles from DC . The DC Metro is linked to the airport and takes you right into DC after only a couple stops. The one bad thing about DCA is the curfew they impose on flights past 10pm. US Airways is the main carrier with other carriers like American and United flying primarily only to their hub cities. And if you are luckily enough you may run into your congressman.

#4. Las Vegas (LAS) – We are not rating LAS as a top 5 simply because it’s in Las Vegas and you can play Wheel of Fortune while you are waiting to board the plane. We truly believe LAS has a lot to offer and is quite efficient. Although there are no public transport from the Strip to LAS, it is quite convenient to find a cab in Vegas. Cabs do however need to take a big loop around the private airport to get to LAS. Rental car returns can be quite painful as the return facility is out of the way. Then again, why are you renting a car in Vegas?

The security lines are very efficient. They have a line dedicated to travelers with status. Once you pass security, you board a tram that comes every minute. It is super efficient. All terminals (1 to 4) have food courts and a wide variety of shops for you to spend more money. Flights out of Vegas are rarely delayed (can’t say that about coming in though). And if you were delayed, there is always time for you to head back to the casinos to make another withdrawal! You also can’t beat the slot machines right in front of the gates.

#3. Orange County (SNA) – Orange County’s snobby neighborhood imposes a curfew at 11PM meaning you may end up at LAX if your flight to SNA is delayed. Oh… the planes are also required to shut off their engines after take off. Aside from these two minor issues, SNA is the preferred airport in So Cal. Its short term and long parking facilities are within walking distance of the airport. The streets leading to SNA are very well organized, and traffic lights are synchronized. You can get to SNA from all major freeways and there’s now a toll road access (73). I am going to omit the public transportation part here since we’re dealing with So Cal…

The security lines at SNA are quite efficient. Once you pass security, the gates are right in front of you. Food selection is decent given the size of the airport. The airport is also extremely clean.

#2. Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – We need to give the city of Chicago a great deal of credit for its ability to connect an airport with the amount of traffic to a large city. Despite the flight volume and bad winter weather, ORD is very good at getting planes on and off the ground.  Not only do the United and American hub terminals offer great food, Terminal 2 which houses all the Hodge podge carriers at ORD has good selection as well. The terminals are also connected via a walkway which has food and art work. And the international terminal is relatively new.

It is also easy to get to ORD by public transit. The ‘L’ (elevated train) takes you from ORD directly to the loop for USD 2 – that’s cheaper than a cart for your luggage at JFK. To and from the city via the blue line is 45 minutes guaranteed.

Cab lines are very well organized at arrivals. To handle the Monday morning rush, ORD has police directing traffic at the departure ramps.

#1. San Francisco (SFO) – SFO is first by only a close margin. Transportation to and from SFO is awesome. There are tons of signs on the highway as you’re getting close to SFO. The stretch of 101 traffic by SFO is pretty light. You can get to and from the city to SFO via can for less than 30 minutes. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) takes you directly to the Terminals. It is only $3.50 one way to get you to SF and for $7 or so, BART can take you as far as Fremont. SFO’s tram system is also extremely fast and efficient. Trams connect long term parking and rental car facilities. If you don’t like the tram, you can always walk from terminal to terminal.

Food courts are abundant at SFO. All types of cuisines are available in the International terminal before you board. For domestic flights, you can find food courts once you have passed security. Security screening is also very efficient. United and American in Terminal 3 both have Status lines to separate the travel professionals from the rookies. Clear is also an alternative at SFO.

SFO does not have many delays. And if you are delayed, there are plenty of shops around for you to do window shopping or help out the economy 🙂   SFO also has updated art exihibits featuring from new technology to movies to wineries.  SFO

We welcome your feedback and counterpoints.

Statusmonger and Captain G

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