Airports are a very dichotomous subject for most travelers. On one hand, you have people who absolutely loathe everything about the airports. The check in process takes too long, the baggage is ALWAYS late, they get stuck between two people having a conversation about their grandkids on the plane, nothing goes their way. On the other hand, where I lay, you have people who love airports. I specifically, like that airports are always clean, they have everything you could need and you see and interact with people who you never could imagine. I met a guy in the San Francisco airport (SFO) who had just helped take a large tech company public. I was very familiar with the company and we had a lot to talk about. It was AWESOME.
Having been in outside sales so long, I have traveled through almost every mid size and large airport in theUS, as well as a lot of international hubs. For the sake of this article being aimed toward mostly US-based sales reps, I will exclude the int’l ones. So here are my favorite airports to fly in, out and through.
Flying into: San Francisco Airport (SFO)
(Picture at http://sf.funcheap.com/hear-sfo-music-festival-4/)
San Fran has debatably the most efficient tram of any that I have been on. It moves faster and smoother than Dallas (DFW)’s and doesn’t have near the throughput of passengers that Atlanta’s Hartfield Jackson (ATL) does. The views are pretty sweet coming into the mountains and the bay is beautiful. The arrival gates and tram to the rental car office is a breeze. They have some fantastic food nearby, I am a huge fan of the Big Bear Diner and the New England Lobster Market next door. Plus everyone in San Francisco is in a good mood. You’re surrounded by Redwood trees, water and the growth of Silicon Valley.
Flying through: Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
Detroit has, luckily, only been my destination a few times. If the city was any reflection of the airport, holy cow would Detroit be a must-move for all the Millennials heading to Denver. It is beautiful. The artwork in the terminals, the enormous flat screen TV’s showing sports, movies and news 24/7. Not to mention, the lounge seats are so comfortable I have found myself drifting off into a mid-day nap before. My favorite thing about the Detroit airport, however, has got to be the layout.
Notice anything weird? Each of the terminals is a straight line. Where most airports have you walking in a giant circle, through a triangle-shaped maze or make you feel like you’re in a halftime marching band for a football game, Detroit’s airport does not. I have flown Delta and American through here and both are a breeze. You get off at your gate, you either go right or left on an escalator and walk straight down to your next gate. For those who don’t like walking (I think its good cardio carrying a briefcase after flights) there is a tram that runs up and down the terminals. DTW gets an A grade from me and that’s only because of the city of Detroit.
Avoid: Kansas City (MCI)
Flying out of: Kona International Airport – Hawaii (KOA)
This one was a pretty easy answer for me. Though I have only flown out of here a couple of times, I absolutely love the scenery here. It is all outdoors, the restaurants, the waiting areas, the check-ins — outdoors. It does kinda stink that everyone here is undeniably leaving the greatest place in the world, to go back to their jobs and regular lives, but it still is incredible. Not to mention, the breathtaking views you get when leaving here and getting back onto the mainland. NOTE: I will venmo someone to pick up the chocolate covered blueberries called “Donkey Balls” that are located in the C terminal.
Kona flies to a few airports in the Midwest and several on the West Coast and a lot of the flights leaving Honolulu make pit stops here prior to the mainland. There are only a few terminals and all of them are within walking distance, also outdoors. Security lines are always minimal.
Avoid: Los Angeles International (LAX)