BEST AIRPORTS FOR A LAYOVER. WHERE DOES SEA-TAC RANK?
BEST WEST COAST AIRPORTS FOR A LAYOVER. AND WHERE DOES SEA-TAC RANK?
I tend to do a lot of flying. Of course there are airports I don’t mind having a layover, and then there are others I try to avoid like the plague. In some cases, I prefer a layover, over loooooong flights. Any flight over three hours kills my body.
Good news for most of us here on the west coast. According to a recent poll among frequent flyers, the top 15 worst airports for layovers are mostly in the midwest and east coast. The one closes to us that’s ranked as one of the worst, is Salt Lake City at number 13. I never thought SLC was that bad, but I haven’t really spent too much time there.
For me what makes a bad airport for a layover is nothing to do, no really good places to eat or have a drink, and some of the seats in the terminals most uncomfortable seats. Yeah. It’s bad enough the seats on the planes are so tiny, you’re squeezed in like sardines, you know your seat mates religion. Plus, the seats numb my butt and causes my leg to fall asleep. I’m always scared I’m going to get a blood clot in my leg.
And then there are the airports I don’t mind having a layover. Now, don’t get me wrong. I prefer getting to my distanation as quickly (and safely) as possible. But, I don’t need the stress of trying to get off a plane to rush to the other side of the airport to catch that flight that leaves in 15 minutes while someone is struggling with getting their many gift bags out of the overhead binds.
So when I find myself with a layover, I am looking for several things. First, if it’s a 5 hour+ layover, and I’m so tired because the person that sat next to me on the plane is a YouTuber that needs to talk to his iPhone camera about every aspect of the flight (it’s happened to me on more than one occasion), I look for those napping pods.
I’m also looking for a restaurant that serves up a good meal or a bar where I can sit, relax, take my time, and sometimes get to know the wait staff and bartenders. And who doesn’t like to do some window shopping, or dare I say, buy something that’s three times more expensive at a cool electronic kiosk than buying at a Target back home. Sometimes if the layover is really long and I need privacy to work on a video I shot, I might even pay extra to get into the airline’s lounge. Sometimes I really find it worth the $50 or more. Especially if I’m flying on my own.
So what airports were voted the best for layovers by frequent flyers? And do you agree? Most of the best airports in the United States are here, west of the Rockies.
San Diego International Airport -I’ve flown in and out of SAN on a number of occasions and have to agree with it being in the top 15. I like Stone Brewing. Good unique burgers and sandwiches and great servers.
John Wayne Airport -OK, SNA is one of my favorite airports for so many reasons. First, I visit this airport the most because of my frequent flights to Disneyland. Getting in and out of John Wayne in Santa Ana is so easy. Finding your gate is easy. Getting an Uber or other transportation is simple. And the freeway traffic is rarely a hassle. They have a Ruby’s Diner (try the chocolate Coke) that’s part of the open concept dining right smack dab inside the middle of the terminals with a view to planes. And I love the Hobie Sand Bar. It’s set up like a beach hut with some tasty treats and good drinks. I love the people that work there, although at first I didn’t like one of the servers calling me, ‘doll’ all the time, but I’ve warmed up to it. Just look for the giant surfboard.
LAX -Let me start off by saying that I try to avoid LAX because of the issues of getting in and out. Traffic is horrible. When I fly into the LA area, I’ll go out of my way to fly John Wayne (as mentioned), Bob Hope Airport (Burbank) if I’m heading to Ventura. And even though my home town of Torrance is sooooo much closer to LAX, I go to the Long Beach Airport which is much quicker and security is so much better. But neither LB or Bob Hope are great places for layovers. Now, having said that, LAX is a great place for a layover. So many shops fine restaurants. I actually like Barney’s Beanery. And even some of the better sleep cabins. And some fantastic shops as you can imagine. I’m a sucker for the Best Buy Express. And you haven’t tried Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, give it a shot. I prefer Coffee Bean over Starbucks. Get the Moroccan Tea Latte.
McCarran International Airport -Well, most of us still call this airport in Las Vegas McCarran. But a couple of years ago they officially changed it, naming the airport after Senator Harry Reid. This is of course, Las Vegas. There are going to be a lot of slot machines. No. Really. A lot of slot machines. Try to avoid them like I avoid LAX. McCarran has an aviation museum you’ve got to check out…if you’re really board. I like it. I also like to dine at the very colorful Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill. The B Lounge is good. Just be aware, like many of the casinos, you can get lost within the different terminals. And, oh. Have I mentioned the slot machines?
San Francisco International Airport -Again, other I agree with. There are quite a few galleries throughout the SFO. Sometimes displaying artifacts of old radios and television sets. And believe it or not, a great place for people watching, where I have seen more celebrities than any other airport. Play areas to tire out the kids. Plus, places to dine that are fantastic. I tend to favor the Yankee Pier for breakfast. They make your breakfast pretty quick, so if you have the time, tell them that you’re there for a while so they can take their time making your meal. And as much as I hate to admit it, the San Francisco Giants Club House is a pretty good sports bar. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and walk in wearing a Dodgers jersey and ball cap. And because it’s a major hub to other countries, they have some great sleep pods.
Portland International Airport -Yeah. I was surprised to see PDX. But apparently they’ve done some renovations since I’ve flown into Portland. Another airport that has an art museum. They musicians that wonder around entertaining travelers. And they even have a full blown movie theater that show shorts that feature PNW films. That will help you pass a couple hours during your layover! You’ve got to try their Stumptown Coffee, MOD Pizza, and Deschutes Brewery.
So where did Seattle-Tacoma International rank? Well, it was number 15. Not last place….but number 15 of the top 15. Sea-Tac I have to admit isn’t one of my favorites…but it made the list. I do love stopping into Sub Pop Records and InMotion. It’s tough to walk out of there with nothing in hand. I’ve been told some of the airline’s lounges have great food. I just have to say that the food at most of the restaurants aren’t that great. And when you’re paying three times as much for food at airports, it’s a disappointment. But I must be alone with those feelings. Because I’ve got friends and co-workers that swear they love places like, The Stonehouse Cafe’ and the Trail Head BBQ Bar. So do you agree? Did they miss your favorite?