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The 5 Hardest and Easiest U.S. Airports to Reach from Downtown

There’s no shortage of travel-industry data. Nor is there any shortage of studies that slice and dice the data in a multitude of different ways, with a multitude of different results.

A new study by TravelBank, The Best & Worst Airports for Transit, looks at the nation’s airports through a simple but novel set of filters to uncover the best and worst airports for transit.

“For transit” means the time and expense required to get to the airport from downtown. TravelBank used four factors to assign each of the top 30 U.S. airports a transit score:

  • Transit time from downtown
  • Driving time from downtown
  • Public transit fare
  • Cost of pre-booked UberX ride

So, for example, airports further from the city center were at a competitive disadvantage, and airports with free metro or other service got a leg up in the ratings.

Here are the top and bottom five airports:

The Top 5

  1. Boston Logan, Las Vegas McCarran (tied for first)
  2. San Diego
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor
  4. Salt Lake City
  5. Fort Lauderdale

The Bottom 5

  1. Newark Liberty
  2. New York JFK, Washington Dulles (tied for second worst)
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Denver
  5. Chicago O’Hare

I’m not sure how much it would change the outcome, but I’d like to see the next TravelBank study incorporate one extra factor in its analysis: the time it takes to get to the departure gate. Because, really, the time from downtown to the terminal is only part of the real transit time.

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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