If you feel like you fly the friendly skies more often than you sleep in your own apartment, then knowing the most convenient cities for a jet-setting frequent flyer is a must.
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When the name of the game is making confident connections, finding a decent airport meal and amusing yourself during a delay, this list of best airport cities will help your trips fly by.
You might want to plant your apartment homebase in one of these cities with high-flying airport service.
Quick connections (the tablet/laptop version)
These days, quick connections mean a lot more than catching your next flight. In our digital world, we’re working all the time. Finding power outlets, Wi-Fi and quick download times is key. The frontrunner in this category is the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC. Charlotte is the domestic hub for US Airways, and, according to Online MBA, a great airport for business travelers because it offers some of the fastest free Wi-Fi Internet connections around (an average of 12 megabits per second, for the technically-inclined).
North Carolina must have some serious service, as well, because the Raleigh-Durham International Airport boasted an average data rate that was nearly that impressive. When you are in the Raleigh–Durham area, this is the place to get hooked up. (And speaking of connections, Charlotte also ranked #2 for best connection flights!)
The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, TX, offers a unique experience that fits right in with the spirit of that city. Flyers are treated to live music from local artists on five stages peppered throughout the terminal. Clearly, Austin is working overtime to earn its claim as the Live Music Capital of the World. (You must have an airline ticket, by the way, to catch the tunes here.)
Best for stress (or lack of it)
SeaTac, the Seattle/Tacoma airport, is considered top-notch, according to SmarterTravel.com, for its smooth on-site experience which won’t leave you feeling terminal. Security clearance is efficient and friendly here – and there’s plenty of Seattle’s Best and Starbucks coffees to keep you awake enough to make your next flight!
Dine & dash
Frequent flyers know that convenient travel doesn’t always allow for delicious meals — unless eating a cold sandwich on your lap is your idea of luxury. Fortunately there are several major airport cities that cater to tenured travelers and provide the best dining this side of the security barricade.
A recent report in Gadling ranked the best airports in which to kill time, and Atlanta’s airport topped the list for best dining. Every concourse has a conveniently-located central food court, as well as eateries peppered between the gates. While Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport includes the standard fast food stops, it also features savory standouts like Cafe Intermezzo, One Flew South and Paschal’s Southern Cuisine. The Atlanta airport also topped the list for amenities, dining and best flight connections.
The Atlanta airport happens to be the central hub for Delta Airlines — just one reason this airport is THE busiest in the world!
En route entertainment
You’ve charged your laptop, enjoyed a tasty meal and still have an hour to kill before your next flight. Not a problem if you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. As you straddle the line between Minneapolis and St. Paul, you won’t struggle to find a delightful diversion. Gadling ranked this airport #2 for amenities. (Atlanta ranked #1, but we suspect it was for all that great food!)
When relaxing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, what fun and comforts do they have in store for you? Why not check out Lucky Lindy’s Video Arcade or enjoy a first-class massage chair at the XpressSpa? You can shop at fifty different storefronts around the airport and the Mall. And there are plenty of dining options to tide you over for a long flight.
Fly the greener skies
The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport scores high for its planet-friendly initiatives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has invited the airport into the Green Power Leadership Club for its collaboration in getting electricity via renewable wind resources. This type of energy-saving – harnessing power from the wind — seems altogether appropriate for an airport!
Being a frequent flyer doesn’t mean you have to lead of life of frequent frustrations. Just make sure you plan a route through these top-notch airports, and you’ll be sitting pretty every time you travel. (And if you really fly a lot, living near one of these airports might be a good idea, too!)
Photo credit: Shutterstock / gui jun peng