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The 7 Least Stressful U.S. Airports, According To New Study

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Here we are again. It's that time of year to squeeze in that one last summer trip that you've been putting off.

Maybe it's the reports of record-breaking tourism records that have you second-guessing if you want to deal with crowds. Although there are a lot of great places to avoid crowds, airports typically aren't one of them.

Even with the most modern technology, going through security and being herded like cattle onto a plane can be a drag.

Happy woman on phone at the airport

While there are certainly no promises of perfect airport experiences, a new study from MarketWatch has put together the least stressful airports in the United States.

A total of 6 metrics were used to study data across 45 of America's largest airports:

  • Percentage of flight delays
  • Percentage of flight cancelations
  • Average airfare
  • Average wait times at security checkpoint
  • Flight traffic

The team conducting the study used a score system from 0 – 100 based on these stressful factors.

These are the top 7 least stressful airports:

7- Oakland, CA (OAK)

Let's be real; Oakland is not typically at the top of travelers' wish lists. Travelers going to The Bay are usually headed to the other side of the bridge.

However, Oakland (OAK) makes a great alternative as a gateway into this gorgeous region of California. In fact, it beat out San Francisco (SFO) by 25 spots!

With average airfare under $300 and a low flight cancelation rate, travelers may consider this the better option to explore all the sights of NorCal.

view of San Francisco from Oakland

6- Ontario, CA (ONT)

Remember this study is for U.S. airports, so this is Ontario, California, not Canada. This airport (ONT) makes for a less-crowded alternative to reach Los Angeles or the quaint popular town of Big Bear.

Ontario beats out LA's largest airport by 30 spots! I mean, have you been to LAX? It can be a nightmare!

Ontario scored an 85.4 out of 100 mainly for its reasonable airfare and low cancelation rates.

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Ontario airport

5- San Antonio, TX (SAT)

Yeehaw! Those heading to one of the most cultural cities in Texas are bound to have a positive airport experience.

MarketWatch gave them a respectable score of 86.1. Factors that stood out about SAT are average security wait times of 12 minutes and round-trip airfare under $400.

Geographically, it's also in a convenient spot as you are only an hour away from one of the hippest cities in America – Austin.

Ontario airport

4- Sacramento, CA (SMF)

Not far from Oakland, California's capital city continues the west coast trend for less stress at airports.

While not the most convenient to use as a gateway into the Bay area like Oakland, people tend to fly into Sactown to explore the wine country.

Fortunately, you won't need liquid courage to get through the airport here. With a high score of 90.4, SMF has a low average airfare of $368 along with a flight cancelation rate of 2.1%.

aerial view of Sacramento

3- Fresno, CA (FAT)

Fresno isn't exactly a hotspot for travelers. However, the airport is due to its close proximity to stunning Yosemite National Park.

Flying into Fresno is the most efficient way to reach the park. In fact, it's almost a guarantee. With a very low flight cancelation rate of 1.5%, along with just a 16% flight delay rate, you would have to have really bad luck not to make it to your destination.

That's why Fresno received a 92.4 score.

Yosemite national park

2- San Jose, CA (SJC)

San Jose is the least stressful airport in California, with 5 Californian airports cracking the top 10. One of the most underrated cities in the state has a highly efficient airport.

SJC received an astounding score of 94.8 largely in part to low cancelation rates, short lines at security checkpoints, and a $326 average cost for flights.

San Jose beat out all major NorCal airports.

San Jose California Airport

1- Honolulu, HI (HNL)

They say perfection doesn't exist, but that's not the case for Honolulu's airport. MarketWatch graded HNL a perfect score of 100.

Obviously, Hawaii has been tragically affected by disastrous wildfires this week. However, that is isolated to another island.

Other than carrying a heavy heart, travelers should still experience the least amount of stress at HNL.

This airport has an impressive cancelation rate of under 1%, along with short wait times at security checkpoints.

Honolulu airport

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