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New Study Reveals The Best Airports For Layovers In The U.S.

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Layovers don’t have to be unpleasant. Besides probably helping you save more money, making stops at airports can actually be good for stretching out your legs, having a nice meal, and maybe even doing a little shopping or enjoying unique amenities at certain airports. 

It’s all about balance. The best layovers don’t take too many hours and are at good airports. Otherwise, it could be a nightmare. But we have good news! A new study recently revealed a list of the best airports for layovers in the United States. 

Travelers observing planes at Tacoma international airport gathered recent data —recorded before October 4, 2022— from Skytrax, Booking, and Stacker, and considered these characteristics to assign rankings:

  • Food and beverages
  • Hygiene
  • Staff service
  • Shopping facilities
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Hotels within 2 miles
  • Annual visitors
Happy traveler observing planes at airports

The website assigned scores using a grading scale from 1 to 10. These are the top 10 airports for layovers in the United States:

10 – O'Hare International Airport

Also known as Chicago’s International Airport, in this ranking, O'hare got 3.67 over ten for layovers. This used to be the world’s busiest airport in the 90s, and now it’s currently in fourth place with over 3.6 million seats passing through this month.

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The Sky Is the Limit at Chicago O'Hare International Airports

9 – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Currently the busiest in the United States, Atlanta’s international airport got 4.11 points in the ranking. This airport offers travelers a great variety of shops and restaurants as well as minute suites to relax or rest with bed, TV, and wifi starting at $42 per hour or $155 per night. Also, passengers can stay at several hotels just  2 to 3 minutes away from the airport. 

8 – Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Waiting area at Charlotte International Airports

This airport in North Carolina got 4.33/10 and receives over 100,000 visitors per day. The airport offers travelers free wi-fi and charging stations, mother’s rooms, and pet relief areas, as well as restaurants, bars, lounges, and more. 

7- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

This airport in Arizona got 4.34 points. It offers travelers nice outdoor areas with cacti to get a glimpse of the desert, aircraft spotting areas to take pictures of planes,  and a cool internal art museum that passengers can enjoy while waiting for their next flight. And, of course, restaurants, bars, shops, and other amenities

6 – John F. Kennedy International Airport

Exterior Of JFK Airport, New York, United States

New York’s most popular international airport got seventh place with 4.56 points. Passengers have a great variety of restaurants and shops here and can also relax at the spas available with options for massages and manicures.

5 – Los Angeles International Airport

LAX, the famous airport in California, gets around 48 million visitors every year and got 4.78 points for layovers. But Los Angeles International airport might soon improve its score since a new train for passengers is under construction and will soon enhance transportation and connections. 

LAX airport sign

4 – Miami International Airport

This airport has the longest TSA security wait time but got 5.45 points and fifth place. It has great amenities, the iconic and beautiful aquatic terrazzo flooring created by Michele Oka Doner, as well as art galleries and spa services. 

3 – Denver International Airport

Frontier airplane

This airport has a great food and beverages score and got an average of 6.00 over 10. Besides great bars and restaurants, certain diners offer a delivery service within the airport —great for tired travelers or families that don’t want to walk too far from their gates. It also has an extensive art collection, activities for all ages, and even free surprise events.

2 – George Bush Intercontinental Airport

This large airport in Houston got 6.11 points and second place. Besides the regular amenities and free wifi, this airport offers live performances weekly—usually at Terminal A—and travelers have rated this airport very well, especially in food and beverages services, where it has the best score.

1 – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle skyline

And the first place goes to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport! This airport got the best score: 7.22. Besides great amenities, good hygiene, and good staff service, there are 33 hotels within 2 miles, those with long layovers have multiple alternatives to rest and relax.

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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.

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Tuesday 1st of November 2022

I would definitely include MSP in this list, they have a quiet nap area with sleeping mats that are cleaned and sanitized between use.


Monday 31st of October 2022

I would include Austin, TX. The food choices, shopping and most important the music was incredible!


Monday 31st of October 2022

As a frequent international traveler that has a large service dog, we've been in half of those airports IAH, MIA and DEN have all been good for us with the exception of the carpet at DEN...why carpet? Yuck!!! But, BNA in Nashville would be on our list as well. IAH and MIA are our favorites for overnight layovers and we ALWAYS have overnight layovers because I try to keep flights around the two hour mark due to my disability AND my Dad's comfort. However, ALL international airports in the US that we've visited never have enough pet relief areas AND there's the issue with "pets" walking thru airports being a problem. Generally, they're reactive to service dogs ALOT of time and cause those of us who require a service dog ALOT of unnecessary stress. If you are traveling with your pet, PLEASE pick it up anytime you see a a working dog in the airport whether that's a service dog or a TSA dog. SAFE TRAVELS EVERYONE


Saturday 29th of October 2022

Notice that these are ‘international’ airports. What about some of the smaller ones and domestic flights. Like I know John Wayne in Orange County California some people like better than going to LAX


Friday 28th of October 2022

Seattle Tacoma airport is neat and tidy with friendly staff but if you spend a lay over of 4 hours there is no general lounge where ypu can have a little nap. Ive just been recently in SEATAC stop over before boarding to Hawaii. I know thia is only within the US but my best experience was Singapore Chiangi airport and Barcwlona international was a great experience. You can even have a shower in Singapore have a massage done by people not by a chair. Barcelona is so spacious and sitting beches where you can nap a oittle bit on topnof its beautiful airport as well.