Of her three hometown airports, D.C. resident Katie Stanton prefers Reagan—for travel, and even for dinner.
When she comes home from a business trip, the Social Media Director at travel-planning platform Exploring.is says she often picks up pizza from local favorite & Pizza, which has an outpost in Terminal C. She also enjoys the airport’s A-list people-watching (recently she saw Mitt Romney), but mostly, she loves how close it is to the heart of the city.
“I can get from my downtown apartment to my gate within 30 minutes,” says Stanton. “I'll pay up to $100 more to go in and out of DCA, as opposed to Dulles or BWI.”
She’s not the only one: the D.C. area’s smallest major airport is the favorite for many Travel + Leisure readers, who ranked airports around the world as part of the magazine’s World’s Best survey. One category in the survey focused on airport location and access—how close the hub is to the city center, and how user-friendly it feels. Among the top 20—which includes 10 international airports, and 10 in the U.S.—one winning airport has a golf course next door, while another makes it easy to visit a global icon during a short layover.
Several winners also have an intangible quality that just makes travel feel easier. Jennifer Aquino likes international top-10 winner Zurich because “making connections is easy. It’s unlike Frankfurt, which feels unfriendly and depressing, in the way that it’s laid out, its low ceilings and the lack of light.” But Zurich offers an aesthetic pick-me-up, says the Singapore-based education and career coach. “It’s clean, bright and smart,” says Aquino. “I love passing by the shops and cafes after a long-haul flight. It’s a nice place to arrive, after feeling gross and groggy. Zurich is a pleasure.”