U.S. Airports get another black eye

Airports…the purgatories of our jet-set lives, where we wade through endless queues, scrutinize the food options with a discerning eye, and share collective eye-rolls at the boarding gate delays. 

Now, as someone who’s frequented airports enough to know their ins and outs, let me tell you, they’re not all built the same. So when I read the recent OAG report that ranks London Heathrow as the No. 1 airport for global connections, my only reaction was, “Well, of course!”

ATL has a ton of flyers...so what?

I do agree, mostly, with the accolades heaped on airports like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta for its staggering passenger volume and the satisfaction ratings for Detroit and Minneapolis airports. I mean, sure, we Yanks know how to keep people moving. However…and it’s a big however…when it comes to the crème de la crème of airports, the ones that serve as global connecting hubs, U.S. airports seem to be chilling in the nosebleed seats.

Hey LAX...you're starting to suck...wake up

So you might be wondering, “But what about JFK? What about LAX?” Ah, the American giants. JFK makes the list at No. 2, but let’s be real…just two of the top 10 airports in OAG’s report for megahubs are U.S. airports. Just two! And let’s not even discuss LAX, which is so far down the list it would need a telescope to see Heathrow.

U.S. airports have become nothing more than a mall with planes...am I wrong?

Look, it’s not just about the quantity of flights; it’s about the quality of the experience. Amsterdam’s Schiphol has a library and an art museum. Singapore’s Changi Airport has a butterfly garden and an automated immigration process. U.S. airports? Most have the allure of a suburban mall, minus the charm.

The reality is, U.S. airports have been lagging as megahubs for global connections for several years now. As someone who’s traversed through multiple airports, you notice the disparities. It’s not just an observation; it’s a troubling trend. And while some might dismiss it as irrelevant, think about the potential economic and cultural impact. World-class cities need world-class airports, right?

So, maybe it’s time for U.S. airports to step up their game. After all, if you’re connecting the world, you want to make sure that connection isn’t just strong but also somewhat pleasant. Otherwise, you’re not a global hub; you’re just a pitstop.

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