Travel tip: Study says these are the best (and worst) airports to catch a connecting flight

Travel tip: Study says these are the best (and worst) airports to catch a connecting flight


Choosing a good airport for your connecting flight is essential for a smooth air travel experience. An efficient airport can significantly impact your trip, minimizing the risk of delays, missed connections and other hassles. FinanceBuzz recently conducted a study on the ranking of the best and worst airports for a connecting flight– and some of the airports on the list may surprise you.

The person sitting in the airport
Marco Lopez / Unsplash

Best airports and worst airports for connecting flights

The study ranks these hubs as the best airports for connecting flights:

  • Richmond International Airport (RIC)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  • Boise Airport (BOI)
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
  • Bradley International Airport (BDL)
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Connecting through one of the airports on this list should be easy. At Richmond International Airport, the longest walk between two gates at the airport is just eight minutes, and at Tampa International Airport, it it only takes two minutes to walk from a security checkpoint to the gate located further into the terminal. The walk from one end to the other in Bradley International Airport’s largest terminal is long just three minutes, which is the shortest walk to any of America’s busiest airports. At SAT, it takes 50% less time to walk end-to-end in the largest terminal than the national average.

On the other hand, there are some airports that you may want to leave out of your travel plans. According to the study, the worst airports for a connecting flight include:

  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)

Each of these airports can be a headache to navigate if you have a tight connecting flight. Denver International Airport is the airport with the biggest delay problem in the country, and the longest walk between two gates at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is a staggering 49 minutes. Additionally, JFK has one of the longest possible walks between security and the farthest departure gate, which is 17 minutes. It takes nearly an hour to walk between the two farthest gates at LAX.

plane ticket – Yuri A / Shutterstock

Key considerations when choosing an airport for your connecting flight

When choosing an airport for your connecting flight, there are several key considerations to make. First, prioritize airports with efficient and well-coordinated flight schedules, minimizing your layover time and reducing the risk of missed connections. Also, consider the geographic location of the airport in relation to your final destination, as choosing a hub closer to your final destination can shorten your overall travel time.

Additionally, evaluate the airport’s reputation for reliability, facilities and services. If you have a tight connection, then you might want to think twice before traveling through some of the worst airports we mentioned above. Instead, choose one of the hubs on the list of best airports and remember, always stay calm if you happen to miss your connecting flight.

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