These amazing airports all but guarantee you’ll have fun traveling before you arrive at your destination. Really.
This article originally appeared in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards.
If you’ve always considered airports a kind of purgatory, you may not have had the pleasure of passing through one of the best in the world. Domestic hubs such as Dallas Love Field and Tampa International have gone to great lengths to disprove the notion that airports are little more than holding cells for travelers in limbo.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Since 2013, we’ve asked readers to cast their votes for their favorite hubs across the world, rating airports on access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping, and design.
For the fourth year in a row, Portland International Airport garnered the No. 1 spot, with a score that has been steadily creeping upward. Even pilots and flight attendants love PDX, calling it “easy to navigate” and an enjoyable place to work.
An efficient design that makes the travel process seamless from check-in until boarding is one of the qualities shared by all of our World’s Best airports. Tampa International Airport (TPA), which has been one of the top three domestic airports since 2013, was applauded by readers for its maneuverability. “TPA is easy in, easy out,” said one pleased respondent. “I will pay more for flights here because it is simply easy to navigate.”
Another agreed, saying it should be “the model for all U.S. airports.”
Of course, there are more reasons to love our country’s best airports. Regional fare from local chefs has made airport dining a pleasure, and with live music all around the airport, Nashville International has made it its mission to prove you can experience Music City before even collecting your baggage from the carousel.
Before you book your next flight, consider these top-notch airports as worthwhile stops on your itinerary.