Phoenix Sky Harbor tops Wall Street Journal rankings of nation’s best airports

Phoenix Sky Harbor international airport was named the nation’s best airport by the Wall Street Journal in its latest rankings. Perks include a solid variety of flights and airlines, plenty of amenities, and a lack of weather-related flight cancellations.

This honor comes from the Wall Street Journal’s annual ranking of the country’s busiest airports. Sky Harbor was also named best airport in 2019. This year PHX scored a 63.4 out of 100, the best out of any airport. 

The report by The Journal evaluates the top 50 U.S. airports using 30 criteria split into two traveler-centric categories: one assessing reliability and the other focusing on value and convenience.

“I’ve been at the airport dozens of times over the last year and a half for major announcements – the opening of the new Eighth Concourse; the opening Stage 2 of the PHX Sky Train®; the launch of mobile ID for Apple Wallet, the launch of Waymo, new air service announcements, Dementia-Friendly initiatives, and making burgers with Bobby Flay,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “All those announcements and the hard work of the Sky Harbor team have been adding up. Their dedication and devotion earned us this recognition from the Wall Street Journal, and we couldn’t do it without our amazing Aviation team and everyone who makes the airport run.”

Each category contributed equally to an airport’s total score, with 10 reliability measures, encompassing factors like Transportation Security Administration wait times and duration on the tarmac. Ultimately, the main concern in travel revolves around on-time arrivals.

“What an asset for the Valley and the state to have a modern, convenient, traveler-friendly airport offering flights all over the country and to Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Sky Harbor definitely enhances Arizona’s tourism environment,” Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Kim Grace Sabow said. “When we welcome travelers from all over the world, Arizona makes a great first impression.”

Sky Harbor experienced minimal flight cancellations compared to other major airports, boasted shorter delays, and notably reduced wait times on the tarmac before takeoff or reaching the gate. On average, the duration for planes to taxi out – from gate departure to takeoff – clocked in at under 15 minutes, a stark contrast to JFK’s average of 26 minutes.

American and Southwest airlines, which have major operations at the airport, accommodate nearly three-quarters of all passengers and proved to be consistently dependable. Sky Harbor also exhibited good performance in financial aspects such as airfares and Uber expenses to downtown, along with impressive amenities like efficient baggage claim and well-equipped car rental services. However, it showed a downside in rental car expenses during the November weekend in which the pricing study was conducted. 

Airport director Chad Makovsky said, “At the end of the day, we’re trying to keep the stress down for customers.”

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