10 Unique Airport Lounges in the United States

While world travelers would argue that airport lounges in the United States have a long way to catch up with world standards, there are some United States airport lounges in the United States that are worth checking out. While these often come as perks for flying first class, others are accessible depending on the credit card you have in your pocket. Additionally, you can get in almost all of them by paying a fee at the door.

Best Airport Lounges East of the Mississippi River

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at John F. Kennedy Airport allows you to get complimentary treatments at the spa which can include facials, hair styling or manicures. Guests can use upscale bath products to take a shower. A large selection of tapas and top-flight champagne makes this a great place to relax.

Another great lounge at John F. Kennedy Airport is Lufthansa First Class Wining and Dining Lounge which is accessible only to those flying first-class on this airline as it takes a special code to operate the elevator. Enjoy the complimentary single-malt scotch or other drinks before embarking on a delicious five-course meal or choose from the a la carte menu.

The Club at Atlanta’s Airport is consistently packed. This is one of the few airport lounges to offer complimentary cocktails. The Bloody Mary’s here are superb. This lounge offers outstanding workstations, and they have telephones if your cell phone is not working.

While Delta operates many Sky Clubs around the world, their flagship lounge is the one in John F. Kennedy airport. The outside patio-like area facing the tarmac makes this a great place to unwind while snacking and drinking.

While there are over 600 United Clubs around the world, the one at Washington D.C’s Dulles Airport is unique because it is located in the original cafeteria to this airport. The art deco architecture has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur.

Best Airport Lounges West of the Mississippi River

The five American Express Centurion Lounges west of the Mississippi River each offer unique twists on local culture. When feasible, local wines are featured along with food created by local chefs to take advantage of iconic foods in the area. Many have flat-screen televisions and those west of the Mississippi River feature showers.

Most of the Star Alliance Lounge at Los Angeles International is located outside making it a great place to relax if you are tired of being stuck indoors. The lovely patio features a waterfall, which can help to calm frayed nerves in a natural way. You can also check out a book from their library or watch a movie from their large collection. Dine on a variety of complimentary snacks while enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

The Cathay Pacific Lounge at San Francisco International Airport is worth checking out. After leaving the elevator, make sure to check out the aviation art in the hallway on the way to this 9,000-square-foot lounge. A variety of seating makes it easy to relax in this lounge. This lounge has very nice shower rooms hidden in the back of it. While the hours for food are limited, the Hong Kong noodles are fantastic here.

One of the most beautiful airport lounges in the United States is Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport. This lounge in Terminal 6 was designed by Brent Comber using birchwood. As with most lounges, this intimate lounge features free food and drink.

Alaska Airlines’ Board Room in Concourse D is a beautiful space to work. This lounge is spread across two floors with patrons having the option to use the elevator or the stairs to access the upper level. The bottom level contains plenty of workspace along with Seattle’s famous coffee.

While airport lounges in the United States still need to move forward to catch up with many parts of the world, these 10 lounges are the best lounges available. Many of them have been redesigned to allow ample room for work and relaxing. Check them out the next time you are in their respective airports.

 

Who Should Get to Call Itself the First Airport in America?

Aviation history buffs have long argued about what site should get to call itself the first airport in America. While most Americans know that the Wright Brothers first flew their aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field near Dayton, Ohio, claims to be the first airport in the world. Meanwhile, the College Park Airport says they are the oldest continually-operating airport in America.

The Huffman Prairie Flying Field

While most Americans may have never stopped to ponder where the Wright Brothers started practicing with their plane before they took it to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the United States National Park Service maintains the site where a replica hanger and a catapult used to launch the airplane into the air can be viewed by the public. Orville and Wendell Wright first used this site to make mistakes before they introduced their plane to the public. Before they could use the catapult to launch their plane into the air, however, they had to run the cows and chickens off the pasture. After their infamous flight, they returned to this site to make more aviation history between 1904 and 1916, including the first controlled turn by an aircraft, the first figure-eight by a plane and the first controlled bank. The brothers trained many of their exhibition pilots at this site. The National Park Service also says that this was where the first cargo flight took place when Wilbur Wright flew 55 bolts of fabric to nearby Dayton.

College Park Airport

The operators at the College Park Airport claim that they are the oldest continuously-operating airport in the world. The United States Army Signal Corps opened this site in August 1909. After uncrating the first aircraft here in October 1909, Wilbur Wright taught Lieutenants Frederic Humphreys and Frank Lahm to fly making them the first pilots in United States military history. On October 27, 1909, Mrs. Ralph Henry Van Deman became the first woman to fly in an airplane at this site. The first military aviation school in the United States was opened here just two years later. The first aviation mail service was launched from here in 1918 taking mail to Philadelphia and New York City. Just two years later, the first helicopter flight was completed at this airfield by Emile and Henry Berliner. While it took five years to complete their tests, the United States Bureau of Standards created the first bad-weather landing system at this airport completing the project in 1933. Visitors are welcome to tour this historic site along with viewing 10 replica and original airplanes.

Where the first airport in the United States was located is a question that is open for debate. Some claim it is the Huffman Prairie Flying Field near Dayton, Ohio, while others claim it was the College Park Airport. The United States National Park Service operates both sites allowing visitors to see these locations. Historians with the College Park Airport say that they do not care because they are the oldest continually operating airport in the United States with small planes still using their runway today.

25 Busiest Airports in the United States

Over 932 million passengers caught flights on United States carriers during 2016. More passengers chose to fly on Southwest than any other airline followed by American and Delta with most flights filling to about 84 percent occupancy. The average passenger trip length was 1,474 miles. The busiest month for airports in the United States was July followed closely by June and August. Many different airports saw a rise in the number of passengers catching flights bound for cities in the United States.

5 Busiest Airports in the United States

The busiest airport in the United States remains Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 44,873,000 passengers caught a flight from this airport, which is a decrease of 0.56 percent over the previous year. Delta maintains the world’s busiest hub at this airport which also serves as a hub for Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.

The second busiest airport in the United States is O’Hare International Airport in Chicago where over 31,132,000 passengers started their air flight. This airport has eight runways which are more than any other United States airport. O’Hare serves as a hub airport for United and American along with being a focus city for Frontier and Sprint.

Los Angeles International Airport is the third busiest airport with over 27,465,000 passengers catching flights from this California airport. This airport serves as a focus or hub city for more mainland United States carriers than any other United States airport, it is also the only airport to rank in the top five for both passengers embarked and cargo moved.

The fourth busiest airport for flights to United States cities is Denver International Airport, which is also the largest airport in the United States by land mass. Over 25,982,000 embarked on a domestic flight from this location. United and Southwest almost tie for the most passengers served from this location.

Rounding out the top five for passengers traveling to another United States city is Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with 27,903,000 passengers embarking here. American Airlines operates the world’s second busiest hub at this airport.

Rounding Out the Top 25 Airports in the United States

Like the top five airports in the United States, the next 20 are scattered across the United States. They each have their own focal points. A few are located relatively close together, so it may save companies money if they check the prices at other possible locations.

Busiest Airports in the United States No. 6-25

 

Rank Location Passengers Served Major Carrier
6 McCarran International 20,516,000 Southwest
7 Charlotte Douglas International 20,394 American
8 Phoenix Sky Harbor 20,201,000 American
9 Seattle/Tacoma International 18,810,000 Alaska
10 San Francisco International 19,243.000 United
11 Orlando International 17,056,000 Southwest
12 Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport 16,619,000 Delta
13 Detroit Metro Wayne County 15,081,000 Delta
15 George Bush Intercontinental Airport 15,299,000 United
16 Newark Liberty International Airport 13,422,000 United
17 John F. Kennedy 13,464,000 Jetblue
18 LaGuardia 13,829,000 Delta
19 Philadelphia International 13,138,000 American
20 Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall 11,513,000 Southwest
21 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 10,975,000 JetBlue
22 Ronald Reagan Washington National 11,252,000 American
23 Salt Lake City International 10,538.000 Delta
24 Chicago Midway International 10,597,000 Southwest
25 Miami International 10,790,000 American

 

Remember that these are the airports ranked by number of passengers starting their United States destination trip there.

The busiest airports in the United States handle the majority of 932 million passengers who get on and off a plane in the country annually. Currently, most planes fly at about 82 percent capacity. The number of people flying continues to rise each year. Therefore, these airports are likely to get busier.