This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.
If you ask Travel + Leisure readers, the best domestic airports are the small ones. Among the many charms of quick-to-navigate terminals: local food and drink options, free Wi-Fi, destination-specific shopping, and short security lines. All were factors in deciding this year’s winners.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated airports on access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping, and design.
Related: The World’s Best Awards 2020
At No. 8, Dallas Love Field made the top 10 this year, thanks to high-quality restaurants, helpful staff, and intuitive concourses. Many voters praised the manageable size of Love Field as a positive, saying they preferred it to the more hectic Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. “Love Field is what all smaller airports want to be,” one reader said.
No. 2 Portland International lost the top ranking it enjoyed for the past six years — but was a very close second, less than a point behind the 2020 winner. The Oregon airfield still has its ardent fans: “PDX is far and away the best airport I have flown through,” one reader said, summing up Portland’s many assets. “Extremely easy to navigate, signage is wonderful, and you can find anything you are looking for very easily. Customer service staff is wonderfully helpful.” Another reader wondered, “Why can’t more airports be as comfy and cozy and welcoming as this one?”
Other smaller airports with high scores this year include No. 5 T. F. Green, near Providence, Rhode Island, which readers said was a terrific alternative to Boston Logan International. “Miles better than flying through Boston,” one voter said. Also on the East Coast, No. 6 Savannah/Hilton Head International got nods for its navigability — and for its rocking chairs and ice cream stands. “The least stressful airport in the U.S.,” one reader said.
A few larger airports did make this year’s list, including No. 3 Minneapolis-St. Paul International, which one reader called “much improved over the past year.” No. 7 Detroit Metropolitan also made the cut.
But it was another Midwestern hub, Indianapolis International, that emerged victorious. Below, the reasons why, along with the full list of the best domestic airports.
1. Indianapolis International Airport
More information: ind.com
After winning the runner-up spot last year, Indy’s airport is the champ for 2020. Readers said this airport was “outstanding,” with top-notch amenities, short security lines, and ultra-clean facilities. “It’s my favorite,” one reader said. “Just a great place to travel through,” another concurred. “I’m there at least four times a year, and it’s a great airport, beautifully designed,” one frequent visitor said. While a few gripes about the variety of food options were mentioned, voters agreed that this “very modern” airport was a winner. “I fly out of Indianapolis each week for work,” one reader wrote, “and this is definitely one of the absolute best-designed airports for ease of travel.”
2. Portland International Airport, Oregon
More information: flypdx.com
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
More information: mspairport.com
4. Tampa International Airport, Florida
More information: tampaairport.com
5. T. F. Green Airport, Rhode Island
More information: pvdairport.com
6. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia
More information: savannahairport.com
7. Detroit Metropolitan Airport
More information: metroairport.com
8. Dallas Love Field
More information: dallas-lovefield.com
9. Palm Beach International Airport, Florida
More information: pbia.org
10. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas
More information: austintexas.gov/airport