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Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson has ranked as the top preferred domestic airport for clients with a connecting flight, according to the annual Travel Trends Survey of travel agents conducted by Travel Leaders Group. Hartsfield-Jackson also was identified as the top airport for amenities, dining and providing the best services for business travelers. On the flip side, Chicago O’Hare has ranked as the top domestic airport to avoid if making a connection. Conducted Nov. 19 – Dec. 16, 2012, these findings are based on responses from 930 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who indicated that they book air travel for their clients.
“Major airports have transformed considerably in the last decade to accommodate the shift in the amount of time travelers spend there,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “More amenities have been added to appeal to travelers — and in many cases, to occupy their time—while they wait for their flights. The most significant change has been in the dining options. While food courts still exist, there are more and more health-conscious options and a real trend toward upscale cafes, restaurants and bars. In our survey, we wanted to see which airports seem to resonate most positively with our clients in a number of categories.”
Best U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights
Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and agents were asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they prefer?” Respondents were allowed to choose up to three airports. The following list displays the Top 10 domestic airports:1 Atlanta (40.5 percent)2 Charlotte (25.2 percent)3 Dallas/Ft. Worth (24.3 percent)4 Houston Intercontinental (18.2 percent)5 Detroit (17.5 percent)6 Minneapolis/St. Paul (16.7 percent)7 Chicago O’Hare (14.1 percent)8 Phoenix (10.1 percent)9 Denver (8.0 percent)10 New York (JFK) (7.9 percent, tie)10 Salt Lake City (7.9 percent, tie)
Worst U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights
When asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they try to avoid?” the top responses were as follows. (Again, those polled were able to choose up to three different airports.)1 Chicago O’Hare (56.3 percent)2 New York (JFK) (39.4 percent)3 Atlanta (33.0 percent)4 New York (LGA) (13.7 percent)5 Newark (12.2 percent)6 Miami (11.5 percent)7 Denver (10.3 percent)8 Philadelphia (10.0 percent)9 Dallas/Ft. Worth (9.4 percent)10 Los Angeles (9.1 percent)
Top U.S. Airports for Business Travel Services
When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say offers the best services for business travelers?” nearly 700 agents responded with the following list of Top 10 airports: (1) Atlanta, (2) Chicago O’Hare, (3) Dallas/Ft. Worth (20.5 percent), (4) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (5) New York (JFK), (6) Detroit, (7) Houston Intercontinental, (8) Los Angeles, (9) New York (LGA) and (10) Newark, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (Dulles) (tie).
Top U.S. Airports for Amenities
Today, airport amenities can range from spas and yoga rooms to art exhibits and putting greens. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airport for amenities?” Travel Leaders Group agents named (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth and (5) Las Vegas as their Top 5 U.S. airports for amenities.
Top U.S. Airports for Dining
Some of the most significant upgrades at airport have been to the dining options available to air travelers. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airports for dining?” Travel Leaders Group agents identified (1) Atlanta, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Chicago O’Hare, (4) Dallas/Ft. Worth and (5) San Francisco as their Top 5.
Top U.S. Airports for Families with Kids
Traveling with kids poses additional challenges, particularly when trying to keep kids entertained while spending time in airports. When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say are the best for helping to keep kids entertained and occupied?” Travel Leaders Group agents listed their Top 5 U.S. airports as: (1) Orlando, (2) Minneapolis/St. Paul, (3) Atlanta, (4) Chicago O’Hare and (5) Dallas/Ft. Worth. This particular question is based on responses from 314 agents.
These trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 1,045 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.