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New Study Reveals The 5 Best Airports In The U.S. For A Layover

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In a year of so much travel all across the globe, we have all found ourselves with downtime waiting for our next flight.

Not every awesome destination is easy to reach, so one sacrifice is taking extra time out of our day with a layover.

Many international destinations, such as Singapore, for example, are renowned for their jaw-dropping airports.

plane flying over san diego

Here, it's actually a bonus to have a layover. On the flipside, there are a lot of duds where we may let out a groan seeing them pop up on our itinerary.

The U.S. is home to many popular destinations whether it's domestic or international travel. But airports aren't usually at the top of the list when it comes to passing through the States.

However, with the help of a study conducted by Upgraded Points, these are the 5 best airports in the U.S. for layovers:

5) Santa Ana, CA – John Wayne Airport (SNA)

Orange County is a beautiful region of California with quintessential SoCal beaches exactly as you'd expect.

john wayne airport sign

A mix of boujee residents along with long-haired hippy surfers living their best van life make up the major sites of the area.

Of course, you can't forget the magic of Disneyland and famous Laguna Beach either. Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, this small, but very nice airport makes for a great alternative to escape the crowds of bigger airports.

Unfortunately, if you're just passing through, SNA has some of the shortest arrival delays, meaning you will only get to see Orange County from the sky.

laguna beach

With only 22 gates at this airport, if you're running late, chances are you will still make your connection.

4) Austin, TX – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

They say everything is bigger in Texas and that includes the food. Those passing through the state Capital and live music mecca will have 51 off-site restaurants nearby to choose from.

Chances are you can actually leave the airport and come back to make your connecting flight since TSA wait times average only 6 minutes!

You'd be doing yourself a disservice by not taking advantage of the food scene. Who wants to overpay for questionable airport food anyway?

restaurants at austin airport

Plus, if you overindulge and are concerned you'll weigh the plane down, you can stay at the either of the 2 convenient on-site hotels.

3) Washington D.C. – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Home to some of our nation's most iconic sites, many choose DCA to reach Washington DC, but it also serves as an excellent way to pass through.

This airport boasts an impressive 80% on-time performance for departures, so you feel assured you'll make your final destination.

In the meantime, rather than sit with the normies spending way too much on a cup of coffee, why not check out the plentiful options of lounges for some complimentary eats and drinks?

DCA airport

2) San Jose, CA – Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)

Those looking to reach the Bay Area typically fly into San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose.

Often overlooked as a main destination, that's fitting given their airport offers the best layover out of the 3 airports.

SJC only has 2 terminals and a dozen gates, but that makes it so much easier to navigate. Should you have extra time to hang out, the airport offers lightning-fast wi-fi – the fastest of any airport in the study.

Yes, you may end up spending too much on snacks but at least you'll be able to get some work done.

sjc airport sign

1) San Diego, CA – San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Arguably the most beautiful city in California, San Diego is a joy to fly over. However, if you're coming here anytime soon, you will want to stay inside on your layover as the airport is undergoing a massive construction project with delays reminiscent of LAX traffic!

Hence, many other California airports made the top 5, but not Los Angeles. Inside SAN, you will find impressive amenities to bide your time.

Although, the airport boasts quick turnarounds for connecting flights. The number one U.S. airport for layovers offers dozens of restaurants and shopping, plus nearby name brands hotels such as Sheraton and Courtyard at locals' favorite hangout, Liberty Station.

southwest plane at SAN airport

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

James Lin

Friday 22nd of December 2023

Nice to see San Jose Mineta International Airport in this list! However, it has a lot more than a dozen gates. It has 37 gates.