America's Worst Airport

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Customers hate to wait in line anywhere. Airports can be among the most difficult of those places. People are loaded down with luggage. They have to take off their shoes and coats. X-rayed bags sometimes cause officials to rifle through people’s personal property. All these waiting times added together are called “queuing.” This includes checking in, dropping off bags, gate delays and passport control on international flights. Based on these measures, the worst airport in the United States is Newark International Airport, one of three that serves the New York metro area. The other two are LaGuardia and Kennedy. (These are America’s 26 worst airports.)

Vacation rental firm Casago ranked airports on queuing duration based on Skytrax ratings. Airports were given grades 1 to 5, with 5 as the best. From that, the survey picked the percentage of 4 or 5 ranked airports to create rankings. Newark’s percentage of these high grades was only 9.09%. At the far end of the spectrum was Portland at 61.29%.

The queuing duration problem will not get better and could get worse. Carriers have been overwhelmed. After cutting pilots and flight crews and parking aircraft for months due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, they saw travelers come streaming back, eventually in record numbers. Carriers were not prepared for such a rapid rebound.

And this surge, made worse by unusual amounts of bad weather across much of the country, has made wait times nearly intolerable. A spike in summer storms means this problem will last beyond Labor Day, usually considered the end of summer.

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