Study: MSP among nation’s top-10 airports

By around this time next week it might not seem like it, but those of you traveling through MSP International Airport are walking on the hallowed ground of one of the nation’s best airports, a new study claims. Tenth-best, to be exact.

The research, from the travel website The Points Guy, made its declarations based on statistics involving timeliness (flight delays, cancellations, security wait), accessibility (drive time to and from the city center or other popular destination, number of public transportation transfer required, public transit time to and from airport), and amenities (number of restaurants, number of lounges, Wi-Fi fees, parking fees).

MSP didn’t appear to excel in any particular category (its best showing was a 4th place in fewest flight delays), but earned its top 10 rating by being solidly Midwestern — average.

Here are the top 10:

1. Phoenix Sky Harbor International (Arizona; PHX)
2. Portland International (Oregon; PDX)
3. San Diego International (California; SAN)
4. Salt Lake City International (Utah; SLC)
5. Honolulu International (Hawaii; HNL)
6. Seattle-Tacoma International (Washington; SEA)
7. Philadelphia International (Pennsylvania; PHL)
8. Charlotte Douglas International (North Carolina; CLT)
9. Las Vegas McCarran International (Nevada; LAS)
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul International (Minnesota; MSP)

And the worst of the 30 busiest airports in the nation:

1. LaGuardia (New York; LGA)
2. John F. Kennedy International (New York; JFK)
3. Newark Liberty International (New Jersey; EWR)
4. Chicago O’Hare International (Illinois; ORD)
5. Detroit Metro (Michigan; DTW)
6. Orlando International (Florida; MCO)
7. Washington Dulles International (Virginia; IAD)
8. Denver International (Colorado; DEN)
9. Los Angeles International (California; LAX)
10. Houston George Bush Intercontinental (Texas; IAH)

It’s not the first time MSP has done well in this sort of thing. Last April, it was ranked 10th in the world in a survey of travelers.

  • MrE85

    I have been to many of the worst airports, and almost none of the best (except ours)…perhaps that’s why I don’t enjoy flying like I used to.

    • Rob

      Could be a bucket list thing for ya: Flying out of all top 10 airports

  • rallysocks

    Even the best airport fills me with dread 🙁

    • Rob

      Forget the airports; it’s flying in the steerage-like conditions extant aboard most planes that fills me with dread – not to mention claustrophobia… : )

    • jon

      Yeah, I owe a lot of people in Phoenix money too…

  • Mike Worcester

    I presume the rankings for MSP include the Humphrey Terminal?

    Personally, having been to over half those airports, I would have ranked MSP even higher were it not for the insane re-configuring of the security checkpoints. That made no sense at all. At least to me.

    • Yes, the statistics from the government do not break flight times down by terminal people departed from.

  • Tim

    For the top airports, I’ve had good experiences with Phoenix, Honolulu, Vegas, and Charlotte (the latter of which can be affected by East Coast delays too, but when issues have arose, they’ve been helpful in dealing with them). Haven’t experienced the others aside from MSP.

    I’ve always had good experiences with the Denver airport, though it’s only been to catch connecting flights and thus I’ve never had to deal with accessibility or ground transportation. Not a fan of O’Hare and I try to only use it for transfers; I prefer Midway if Chicago itself is my destination. I’ve only been through JFK once a long time ago, and haven’t been to the others.

  • jon

    if the jump between 4 and 8 on the worst list is anywhere close to the jump between 10 and 8 on the best list we’ve got a long way to go to catch up to seattle.

    (o’hare was a miserable place last time I was through there.)

    • Zachary

      I hate O’hare! I always get booked through there for my international arrivals, and I have about 1 hour from landing to departure – 1 hour to make it through customs, bag-check, re-check and to the gate. Blah.Customs there stinks! Fortunately, there is a flight to MSP about every hour, so if I miss the first time, I can catch the later one.

      • jon

        Yeah… the best thing I can say about O’hare is that there is always a flight to-from MSP, and it’s always cheap.

        my wife was unable to make a planned flight, she paid $39 for the ticket, there was a $50 cancellation fee… she didn’t call to cancel.

  • Rob

    So good to know, when waiting in the long homeland insecurity lines, that your experience is occurring in one of the nation’s nicer airports…

  • Zachary

    Hmmm – for me, I’ve dealt with 3 of the best, and 6 of the worst. Yet, they all felt pretty bad. I like arriving in MSP though, mostly because it means I am home.
    Best domestic airport I have dealt with would either be Dickenson ND, or Cedar Rapids IA. Tiny little regionals where there was very little to screw up. Almost Whimsical, bordering on Quaint.

    • ec99

      The tiny little regionals are generally part of hub and spoke system monopolized by one airline, and therefore guaranteed to cost you a bundle.

    • rallysocks

      One time, my sister and our daughters were flying out of Fargo. We were pushing it time-wise. When we entered the airport, the ticket agent barked, “You better get a move on, girls…your flight is about to depart.”

      • Zachary

        That’s awesome. I love those little regional airports. The smaller it is, the more friendly they seem to be.

        • Jack

          Years ago (pre-9/11), they actually brought the plane back from the taxiway in Twin Falls, ID so I wouldn’t miss the flight. The next flight out was two days later. They told me they waited as long as they could before pushing out. No security screening at all – just get on the plane lady.

          Given that I started a new job the next day, I really appreciated that more than they would ever know.

          • Zachary

            I remember picking my dad up at the airport a very long time ago, and we could go right up to the gate and wait for him to walk off. Then the Gulf War happened, and we could no longer wait right there.
            We also were looking for “his plane” (It was the one with the Red Tail!)

          • jon

            I flew out of one at one point… just after 9/11, college aged gal in front of me had a spent shell in her purse, from her grandfathers military funeral… of course she couldn’t bring it on the plane, so the security person told her to go run and put it in her car.

  • crystals

    I’ve been to all of the top 10 and worst 10. I’d put San Diego, Las Vegas, and MSP at the top and banish Sea-Tac to the bottom faster than you can say Starbucks.

  • Postal Customer

    I’ve noticed that, at least for MSP and LAX, it really depends on your terminal. The Humphrey terminal is great. Very small, fast lines, Dunn Bros, etc.

    For LAX, they have some really good restaurants in one of the terminals where Sun Country flies. Their other terminal is bad.

  • Just don’t fly out of Venice, Italy.

    Trust me on this.

  • KTN

    Portland is a nice airport, but the best is the international airport in Kalispell. Nothing fancy, you can get a sandwich, and a cup of coffee, and buy a Montana tee shirt too. What you wont see are lines, anywhere. I waltz thru security, no fuss, no muss. It almost makes flying relaxing, until you get on the plane, and then it’s not so relaxing anymore.

    • Bob Sinclair

      Boise’s the same way

  • Jack Ungerleider

    With family in NY living on the west side of the Hudson, near the NJ border we prefer Newark. But as someone else mentioned the cramped confines of the small jets they use and aggravation at the airports is why I still prefer Amtrak as the way to get there.