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Why Phoenix Sky Harbor is ranked #1 airport in the United States according to the Wall Street Journal



Why Phoenix Sky Harbor is ranked #1 airport in the United States according to the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal’s annual ranking of the top airports in the United States for 2023 has Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at the top.

Large and midsize airports across the country were ranked in 2023 based on 30 metrics including convenience, value, and reliability. Customer feedback regarding their preferences for and dislikes of airport amenities, such as parking and bathrooms, was also taken into consideration.

“Residents of this desert city have plenty of gripes. One thing you’ll hear few complaints about: the airport,” Dawn Gilbertson, a former consumer travel reporter for USA Today and The Arizona Republic, wrote in the WSJ’s report. “Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a breeze to get to. It offers a solid lineup of airlines and flights. And travelers rarely fret about flight delays and cancellations given the never-have-to-look-at-the-forecast weather.”

Whereas Phoenix Sky Harbor was ranked highly among airports in the WSJ 2023 rankings

The average taxi time out of the airport (No. 1, at 14 minutes, 56 seconds) and into the airport (No. 3, at 7 minutes, 6 seconds) were among the reliability metrics on which the Phoenix airport scored highly. Flyers wait on the tarmac during taxi times for the plane to take off and to get out of the aircraft when it lands.

Even with the high marks, Sky Harbor is trying to make those wait times better. $194 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is being used to help build a new taxiway.

The Wall Street Journal credited Phoenix’s moderate year-round weather for part of Sky Harbor’s low average departure and arrival delays and flight cancellations. Sky Harbor also ranked among the airports with the fewest of these factors. With an average domestic round-trip ticket price of $387, it was one of the least expensive in the country.

According to user reviews, it is the most convenient airport for Uber trips to the city center. The Phoenix Convention Center’s proximity to the airport—around 5.5 miles—also played a role in the Wall Street Journal’s September ranking of the venue among the top 10 in the country.

Whereas Phoenix Sky Harbor’s ranking as a 2023 WSJ airport was low

The Wall Street Journal ascribed Sky Harbor’s lowest ratings in the automobile rental category to the exorbitant cost of the vehicles they reserved for a weekend in November.

Travelers surveyed by WSJ, however, gave high marks to the Rental Car Center and its PHX Sky Train accessibility to the airport terminals. In time for Christmas 2022, a project to extend the Sky Train to connect the terminals to the Rental Car Center opened.

Similar to the latest airport survey conducted by J.D. Power, Sky Harbor’s restaurants and bars received a low ranking. The airport keeps expanding the selection of food options.

This year, the new Southwest concourse at Terminal 4 welcomed six new restaurants, including Bobby’s Burgers, the first airport location of celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s eatery. In 2024, two more eateries are anticipated, one of which will be owned by Guy Fieri of Food Network. And when Fazoli’s, a fast-casual Italian restaurant, opened a kiosk at Terminal 4 in February, customers were ecstatic.

Sky Harbor had 127 nonstop destinations, which placed it 14th among airports. The airport currently has three long-haul international routes: two to London via American Airlines and British Airways, and one to Frankfurt, Germany via Condor Airlines. Travelers surveyed by WSJ believe the airport could use more of these routes.

Airlines are adding routes to Canada and Mexico from Phoenix to meet the high demand for international travel, even as Sky Harbor officials continue to try to draw in more long-haul international flights.

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