A recent study measured passenger satisfaction at airports across the nation

These Are the Highest-Ranked Airports in the West
Courtesy of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Do you have those places you intentionally fly through when booking travel, not for the city itself, but simply because you love the airport?

When it comes to amenities, it is certainly true that not all airports are created equal. Last month, market research giant J.D. Power shared the results of its annual North American Airport Satisfaction Rankings, and there exists a host of features that contribute to an airport’s popularity.

Keeping airport size in mind—there are mega (32.5+ million passengers annually), large (10 million to 32.4 million passengers annually), and medium (3 million to 9.9 million passengers annually)—the study surveyed over 40,000 travelers on their satisfaction with the following criteria: accessibility, check in/security, terminal facilities, baggage claim, and food, beverage, and retail options.

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The winner for mega-sized airports was a tie, between Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and Orlando International Airport. In terms of Western airports, Denver International also ranked highly, as did Phoenix Sky Harbor and San Francisco International. LAX, meanwhile (and perhaps unsurprisingly), fell below average in score.

In terms of large airports, John Wayne in Orange County earned the top score, followed closely by Dallas Love Field and Portland International Airport in Oregon.

Despite the country’s record high number of air passengers, as well as ongoing construction projects in airports across the nation, the study showed record satisfaction levels for travelers across the board. People reported being happier with airport travel than ever before, likely due to industry-wide improvements in categories like more efficient check-in thanks to self-service kiosks, better security processes due to improved communication between airport and TSA staff, and more food, beverage, and retail offerings.

As the busy holiday season approaches, there’s no doubt airport traffic is going to get a little crazier, but anything that helps make the journey a little more pleasant, be it faster security lines or a better meal between flights, is certainly appreciated.

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