Portland ranks best, LaGuardia worst in survey of US airports

By Chris Michaud, Reuters

NEW YORK–Portland, Oregon’s international airport topped the list as America’s best airport while New York’s LaGuardia was ranked the worst, according to a Zagat survey of 30 U.S. airports released on Tuesday. It was the fourth consecutive last-place finish for LaGuardia, a congested airport in the borough of Queens which is plagued by delays but hopes to burnish its image with new high-profile restaurants.

The airport, which managed only a 6.2 rating on a 30-point scale, scored far lower in the survey released this week than even reviled flying hubs such as Los Angeles International, Chicago’s O’Hare and Miami International. LaGuardia was down two points from its last-place 2007 finish, and far below Miami’s lowly 7.8.

Portland, already lauded for low crime, a burgeoning food scene and tolerant citizenry, added another quality-of-life crown as the more-than 8,000 frequent flyers surveyed by Zagat rated its airport 22.5. This was nearly two points higher than second-place Tampa International.

The ratings appeared to skew geographically, with airports in the northeast or Mid-Atlantic states occupying six of the eight lowest positions.

Airports in the West including Denver, Salt Lake City and Phoenix also got relatively high marks. Houston’s George Bush and Sky Harbor in Phoenix scored significantly higher than last year, bucking the national trend of lower ratings each year for most airports. The survey, which was based on some 139,000 actual flights, also rated airlines with JetBlue tops for its economy service, Continental leading for premium, or non-coach service, and Singapore Airlines number-one for both classes of service among international carriers. Southwest Airlines got high marks for its website, on-time service, check-in procedures, luggage policy and overall value, while JetBlue was tops for in-flight entertainment.

Notably absent from most all the higher rankings were major carriers U.S. Airways and United Airlines.