Air travel, nearly snuffed out at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has surged to 2019 levels. Thanksgiving passenger traffic this year may reach an all-time high for the period. Service has suffered because airlines do not have enough planes and, in some cases, do not have enough staff to handle the avalanche of customers. For travelers who pass through some of America’s airports, the problem is worse. The Wall Street Journal named America’s best and worst airports based on a series of yardsticks. Newark Airport, which serves the New York City region, ranked dead last.
The Journal’s ranking was based on 19 categories as it measured the country’s 20 largest airports based on traffic. These focused on convenience, reliability, and value. Notably, the airport with the worst score after Newark was another near New York City. Laguardia Airport, named after Fiorello Henry La Guardia, who was New York’s mayor from 1934 to 1945, holds this distinction.
The Journal’s authors commented on the two New York airports, “ LaGuardia’s physical makeover is already well under way and you won’t recognize the place if it’s been a while. And Newark’s new Terminal A makes its debut in early December.” There is no guarantee these will improve service.
San Francisco’s airport ranked first among the 20, with Atlanta, America’s busiest airport based on passenger traffic, not far beyond. Among smaller airports, Sacramento and San Diego ranked at the top. California seems to have cornered the market for the best airports.
The analysis does not point out that travelers through New York’s airports are trapped. People flying from the regions cannot drive to Detroit or Baltimore to fly. No matter how poor the service, New Yorkers are stuck.
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