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Which Airports are Best for a Layover?

by Holly Riddle

Jan 18, 2024

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Unless you live near a major airport offering lots of direct flights and unless you’re consistently flying to other major airports, chances are good you deal with a fair number of layovers. While no one really likes layovers, though, are some airports better for a lengthy one than others? According to a new study from Upgraded Points, that’s exactly the case.


Upgraded Points analyzed 50 busy airports and compared factors such as amenities, average delays and on-time performance, nearby amenities for those overnight layovers, and more. When all was said and done, the brand picked its top five airports for a stateside layover.


In first place is San Diego International Airport, with its 36 restaurants, 41 shopping options and 57 nearby off-airport restaurants per 10,000 daily passengers. Then comes Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, thanks to its ease of getting around and a mere 12 gates. Next, there’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, with an 80 percent on-time departure rate, followed by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and, lastly, John Wayne Airport with its low average arrival delays.


“Although layovers are often unavoidable, planning and picking the best locations to wait them out can be the difference between comfort and frustration,” said Alex Miller, founder, Upgraded Points. “Our goal with this research was to help travelers identify the exact airports where layover time is not just bearable, but actually enjoyable.”


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