Top Ten Fastest Airports to Get Through and On Your Way

For a traveler to breeze through any major airport, plenty of stars have to align. Security waits need to be short, terminals easy to navigate, intra-airport transportation abundant, and flights punctual. And while some fastest-airport lists focus on a single element—say, airports with the best on-time departure records—we decided to highlight airports that performed well across categories to deliver fast passage. To do that, we’ve compiled data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), averaged real-time crowdsourced security wait times, and compared expedited-screening options and airport layouts to come up with this list of the country’s 10 speediest major airports.

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

You might not think that a busy airport in a city that gets slammed with winter weather would outperform many sunny climes when it comes to on-time departures, but Salt Lake City International Airport manages to do just that. The recipient of a number of awards for excellence in snow and ice removal, the airport ranks first among U.S. airports in both on-time departures and arrivals, even with its busy schedule of about 650 daily flights. And since the terminals and concourses are connected beyond security, passengers making connections don’t have to exit and reenter security screening lines to get to their ongoing gates.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

With 41.2 million passengers last year, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the nation’s eighth busiest airport. However, it still manages to maintain a top-five spot among U.S. airports for on-time departures. In a recent Travel Leaders Group survey, it was also ranked the second-best airport in the U.S. for making connections, owing perhaps in part to its layout: a single terminal with multiple concourses. With an average security wait time of about 13.4 minutes and a volunteer program to help passengers in need of assistance find quick answers, the airport offers an overall speedier experience than most its size.

Summer 2013 caveat: If Charlotte is your departure city and not simply a connection point, a new project to add parking will impact existing parking lots throughout the summer 2013 season. So if you need to park at the airport, give yourself some extra time and use the planning resources provided by the airport…

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