Upgraded Points Data Study Ranks Top 50 U.S. Airports for Layovers, Based on Airport Amenities, Flight Performance, and More

San Diego ranks as the number one U.S. airport for layovers, according to data across 16 ranking factors.

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Leading travel expert, Upgraded Points has released its latest study giving travelers invaluable insights into the most accommodating airports for those inevitable layover waits. The study analyzed 50 of the busiest U.S. airports, ranking them based on an array of factors that can make for a pleasant layover experience.

“Although layovers are often unavoidable, planning and picking the best locations to wait them out can be the difference between comfort and frustration,” said Alex Miller, Upgraded Points founder. “Our goal with this research was to help travelers identify the exact airports where layover time is not just bearable, but actually enjoyable.”

Study Methodology

The analysis included 50 of the nation’s busiest airports, each evaluated across a range of factors significant to travelers during layovers including shopping and dining options, on-time flight performance, average delay durations; in-airport amenities like restaurants, gates, terminals, charging stations; and off-airport amenities like nearby hotels or restaurants. These individual scores were ranked from 1 to 50 and listed. All scores were aggregated and the airports ranked from 1 to 100 to generate a grand total score. 

The Layover Comfort Leaders: Top Five U.S. Airports to Wait It Out

  1. San Diego International Airport (SAN): Scoring an impressive 76.8 out of 100, SAN leads the pack. With 36 restaurants, 41 shopping options, 13 charging stations per mile, and 57 off-airport restaurants per 10,000 daily passengers, SAN is a haven for those with extended layovers.
  2. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC): With a score of 70.4 out of 100, SJC stands out for its compact yet efficient layout, lightning-fast Wi-Fi, easy navigation through two terminals, and 12 gates that make it an easy choice for travelers seeking a stress-free layover.
  3. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA): Earning 68.8 out of 100, DCA offers an outstanding 80% on-time departure rate and 4.1 lounges per mile. With 26 charging stations per mile and multiple American Airlines Admirals Clubs to hang out in, DCA is definitely a comfortable layover destination.
  4. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): With a score of 67.8 out of 100, AUS hosts 51 off-site restaurants per 10,000 passengers and an average TSA wait time of just 6 minutes, ensuring quick dine-out and return options for travelers.
  5. John Wayne Airport (SNA): Scoring 66.6 out of 100, SNA provides a convenient layout with only 22 gates, minimizing the hassle for passengers on short layovers. It also reports average arrival delays of only 50 minutes, ranking among the lowest in the study.

Below is a snapshot of airports that ranked at the top of various categories analyzed.

Waiting Game Winners: Airports with the Longest Departure Times

  • Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW): 82.6 minutes
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL): 79.9 minutes
  • Miami International Airport (MIA): 78.5 minutes
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU): 78 minutes
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD): 76.5 minutes

Delay Hotspots: Airports Leading in Longest Arrival Wait Times

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 91.4 minutes
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): 87.5 minutes
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL): 86.5 minutes
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD): 80.7 minutes
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): 79.3 minutes

Swift Arrivals: Top 5 Airports with the Shortest Arrival Wait Time

  • John Wayne Airport (SNA) — 50 minutes
  • Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) — 50.4 minutes
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) — 50.6 minutes
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) — 53.7 minutes
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN) — 55.1 minutes

For the full results including the worst layover destinations, detailed lists of all factors scored along with interactive graphs, and an itemized list of each airport’s rankings, please visit the complete study online.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at UpgradedPoints.com.

Media Contact:

Alex Miller, Founder


SOURCE Upgraded Points