What Makes For a Good Airport?

From Marginal Revolution: Which are the world’s best airports?

An economist would rank airports on the basis of combined consumer plus producer surplus.


Which way to the Starbucks?

This study provides its own rankings, and their criteria seem valid.  I’ve traveled through 41 of these “Top 100” airports, finding most of them unremarkable.

The Gentleman Economist prefers to rank airports by hassle minimization and thus favors smaller airports like Luxembourg, Sacramento, Manchester (New Hampshire) and even Santa Elena de Uairén (Venezuela).  Preferred amenities include:

  • Clear signage to get you where you’re going (there’s a real art and science to this; if a passenger has to think, you’re doing it wrong)
  • Shorter walks (I’m looking at you, Munich, where someone could probably make a fortune offering connecting flights between gates)
  • Less crowding
  • Fewer weather delays (avoid Chicago on summer afternoons)
  • Less intrusive security screening (hopes for this in the U.S. flying experience seem to be permanently dashed)
  • A calmer atmosphere
  • Easy public transportation into the city (thumbs up for Munich)
  • For longer layovers, a place to get a burger and a cold beer
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