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Top 5 U.S. Airports Revealed By Skytrax Don’t Even Crack The World’s Top 10 

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Extensive research by Skytrax has revealed the top 100 airports in the world.

Some of these remarkable buildings are tourist attractions in their own right.  

Doha Hamad Airport took the number 1 spot, while last year’s number one, Singapore Changi Airport, came in second place.  

Passengers traverse the ramp in the bus gates facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a late summer morning

But the top 5 U.S. airports revealed in the Skytrax report don’t come anywhere close to making the world’s top 10 list.  

Here’s what you need to know: 

The Skytrax Top 5 Airports In The U.S. 

According to this new report from Skytrax the top 5 airports in the U.S. are: 

  1. Seattle-Tacoma (Which came in 24th place globally)  
  2. Houston Hobby (Which was ranked 29th
  3. New York LGA (Which was the 33rd-best airport in the world) 
  4. Houston George Bush (Which came in 38th place) 
  5. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (Which was ranked 46th
U.S. flag flying inside an airport terminal

As you can see, not one of these airports came anywhere close to the global top 10. 

So why did these U.S. airports rank so much higher than others in the country?

And why didn’t any U.S. airports crack the world's top 10 list?  

An Older Airport Infrastructure  

From a practical point of view, one of the main reasons why American airports struggle to hold their own in the global arena on the Skytrax list is because of their comparative age.  

man walking through airport boarding gate

America helped pioneer mainstream air travel, which means that many of the country’s biggest and most popular airports are at least 60 years old.  

LaGuardia Airport opened in 1939, making it 85 years old!  

Many American airports have been expanded and adapted to meet increased passenger demand but can’t compete with the facilities that shiny new airports can offer to their passengers.  

Terminal C at La Guardia Airport

Upgrading an older airport without demolishing it completely and starting again can lead to a haphazard and incohesive effect that is unlikely to rank highly in terms of both appearance and user experience.  

Passenger Volume  

You don’t need me to tell you that the U.S. is a colossal country with an enormous population, and transporting these huge numbers of people from A to B is no easy task.  

5 of the 10 busiest airports in the world are in the U.S., with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport taking the top spot. A remarkable 104.65 million people passed through this airport in 2023.  

blur people check in at airport

When dealing with high passenger volume it’s almost to be expected that things will sometimes go wrong, such as missed flights or flight delays, which can lead to negative passenger experiences.  

This goes a long way to explaining why American airports are often rated so poorly and why the best airports in the U.S. are not in the top 5 list for being its busiest airports.   

Why Is Seattle Tacoma The Top Airport In The U.S.? 

This is the third year in a row that Seattle Tacoma airport has been chosen as the top airport in the U.S. by Skytrax.  

One of the main reasons for this is the extensive improvement works that the airport has undertaken.

plane landing reflecting in the windows with seattle-tacoma international airport text

So far, the North Concourse has been modernized, the central terminal has been fully renovated and the international arrivals facilities have been improved.  

And this isn’t the end of the work either. The airport is in the middle of a five-year, $5 billion capital investment project.  

It seems modernization, alongside providing a high-quality passenger experience, is key to ranking highly on the Skytrax listings, and many U.S. airports simply don‘t make the cut!  

JFK Airport

Might things look different next year?

Well, New York JFK airport broke ground on an incredible $19 billion transformation in September 2026, and this is set to become one of the best airports in the U.S. as a result.  

But as the work on this project won’t be complete until 2026, there’s a long way to go.

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