These Are the Best Airports in North America, According to a New Passenger Survey

Ivan Krivonosov/Toronto Pearson International Airport

Airports serve as gateways to discovering new destinations, and often play an outsized role in our first impressions of a place. But even within the same city, all airports are not created equal—let alone airports across the entire continent of North America.

In order to most accurately rank the world's best airports, the Airports Council International (ACI)—in conjunction with travel tech company Amadeus—conducted passenger surveys throughout the year to collect feedback. Around the globe, nearly 600,000 surveys were completed in 2023 before announcing the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards earlier this week.

One of the clearest takeaways from this year's awards is that many US airports are in the midst of undergoing major transformations—for better or for worse. New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, which was ranked one of the country's worst airports in 2018, rose past its long-mocked reputation to win top honors in the 25 to 40 million passengers category. And two Bay Area airports that were ranked among the best last year—San Francisco and San Jose Mineta—were noticeably absent from the most recent awards list.

But the list features some consistent favorites as well. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport was inducted into the ACI World Director General’s Roll of Excellence for receiving multiple back-to-back wins in the last decade. Also standing apart: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport, which both won in all five categories.

What sets the winners apart? The best airports have embraced the digitalization of the airport experience with “applied technologies like self-service and biometrics to improve the experience for passengers across key airport touch points,” Rudy Daniello, Amadeus’s EVP of airport and airline operations, said in a statement. ACI's world director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira also noted that excellent customer service has allowed some airports to become not “just gateways, but memorable destinations in themselves.”

These are the best North American airports honored in this year’s ASQ awards, including the category winners for cleanliness, most dedicated staff, most enjoyable airport, and easiest airport journey.

<cite class="credit">Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport</cite>
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

The best airports in North America

The ASQ's overall “best airport” awards are categorized by the number of passengers the airports serve each year. All of the winners in this category represent the top 20% overall satisfaction score, based on passengers surveys conducted at the point of departure. Meanwhile, the winners of the cleanliness, most dedicated staff, most enjoyable airport, and easiest airport journey categories represent the top 5% of airports in the region.

Under 2 million passengers per year

Two small Canadian airports in neighboring inland provinces scored top marks for the smallest volume category: Fort McMurray International Airport in Alberta and Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport in Saskatchewan, which recently spruced up its runway.

2 to 5 million passengers per year

The three winners were all in the US with honors going to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, South Carolina; Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine; and Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan (noted for unveiling a new Concourse A last year).

5 to 15 million passengers per year

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Indianapolis and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airport took home the awards for this category. NoLa's airport recently debuted a new terminal in 2019, drawing its design from local landmarks and geography.

15 to 25 million passengers per year

A pair of southern airports triumphed in this mid-tier category: Dallas Love Field Airport, which is scheduled to reveal its future development plans next week, and Tampa International Airport, set to begin construction of a new $787 million, 16-gate terminal this year.

25 to 40 million passengers per year

New York City's LaGuardia Airport, which completed its multi-billion dollar redevelopment in 2022, shares the honor with a perennial favorite, Minneapolis/St. Paul International.

Over 40 million passengers per year

Bigger isn't always better in the airport world, but Dallas Fort Worth, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, and Toronto Pearson have managed to keep up with travel demand. Dallas recently revealed plans for a new terminal, while Atlanta begun a $1.4 billion expansion in December. Toronto, meanwhile, is in the midst of its 10-year strategic plan that culminates in 2032.

Airport with the most dedicated staff

Travel is stressful enough, and the people along the way can make all the difference in the world. The same three winning airports in the 2 to 5 million people category—Grand Rapids, Greenville-Spartanburg, and Portland, Maine—stood out to passengers for staff commitment.

Easiest airport journey

This award represents passenger satisfaction with the “ease of going through the airport.” While the word “easy” isn’t often associated with air travel, passengers found the situation exactly so at Canada's Fort McMurray, as well as Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford and Greenville-Spartanburg.

Most enjoyable airport

The same three airports—Fort McMurray, Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford, and Greenville-Spartanburg also swept this category, which recognizes airports for their offerings (restaurants, shops, entertainment) and efforts to make the waiting time enjoyable and comfortable.

Cleanest airport

The same winning trio of Fort McMurray, Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford, and Greenville-Spartanburg received the highest ratings for the overall cleanliness of the airports.

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler