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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 3:06 AM
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Which is better: One huge airport or several smaller airports?

I flow from Denver DIA to Dallas Love Field last week and was startled at how much more I enjoyed getting through Love Field than DIA.

Don't get me wrong, DIA is at the forefront of airport design, I really like it, but the lines to get through TSA were super long and getting through Love Field was a relative breeze.

Any thoughts???
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 4:35 AM
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When I lived in Southern California, I preferred flying out of Long Beach or Ontario rather than LAX (way too f**king big and not worth all the hassle of getting through ticketing and security for an hour-long flight to Phoenix) or even John Wayne Airport (I hate the noise abatement takeoff) even though SNA was the closest to where I lived.

We don't really have much of a choice in Phoenix other than Sky Harbor Airport, but Allegiant Airlines offers nonstop flights from Phoenix/Mesa Gateway to Cincinnati that my father and other relatives have taken advantage of since those flights became available.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 5:07 AM
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As a consumer/flyer - I much prefer multiple airports in the same region. It affords more frequency and geographic choices. Plus, the ancillary airports tend to be smaller and easier to use. I would much rather fly into Burbank and Santa Ana than LAX. When I moved to the SF Eastbay, and UA pulled out of OAK shortly afterward, I gave up years of United Airlines status via SFO for the convenience of OAK.

Frequency and convenience over aircraft size.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 1:10 PM
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1 big airport for international and business and 1 or 2 local airports for domestic and discount carriers.

I prefer flying to into and out of secondary airports. Long Beach was fun. But when you really need to go somewhere, the big ones are best.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 1:40 PM
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^ i agree. i like living near a big massive global airport with flights that go everywhere. i hate transferring.

smaller airports are undoubtedly easier to use, and i have no qualms flying into them on the destination end, but for a home airport, i want options, options, options.


maybe the more interesting question to ask is whether it's better to have one single SUPER-HYPER-MEGA-massive airport like ATL, or more dispersed, but still major, airports like JFK/EWR/LGA or BWI/IAD/DCA?
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 2:01 PM
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the only time i fly into o'hare is when im headed to my office up in the NW suburbs, otherwise it's midway midway midway.

ATL is awful, and a mess when flying in or out internationally. i prefer something like Charlotte, or the intermittent international flights out of STL (which London may come back for good...I hope...). ATL is always a slap in the face, and makes America look like a damned mess.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 2:02 PM
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As others have said smaller airports are often better for travelling to select destinations, but not for long-haul international travel. When I go to Chicago or NYC I always try and fly out of the Toronto island airport as it's an incredibly easy experience. But if international travel was spread out over several medium sized airports I can see that being a logistical nightmare.

Pearson in Toronto used to be AWFUL to fly out of, but it has improved noticeably in recent years.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 3:43 PM
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Smaller airports are more convenient for riders, sure, but they have downsides that riders don't personally care about. Like the expense of needlessly duplicate infrastructure (roads, rail lines, traffic control, etc).

On the whole I wouldn't hazard a guess as to which is better. But I'm not willing to declare multiple small airports superior solely on the basis of rider convenience.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 4:29 PM
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There's also the issue of multiple flightpaths around town.

In the Seattle area we have four airports with airline-suitable runways that don't have airline service (three have Boeing plants, one is military). There's been talk of a second airport for decades, which would most likely use one of these, KCIA or Everett most likely. Southwest had a plan for service at KCIA a few miles south of Downtown but wanted subsidies and would have reduced Sea-Tac's income. Paine Field in Everett is at the opposite northern end of the metro and can easily make the case for regional service but many locals don't want the noise. It would be fairly minor service for the foreseeable future so it would be more of a pressure valve on Sea-Tac's growth, and take a smaller chunk of its passengers initially. I'd love to see the Paine concept happen and it might.

As for my preferences, one well-organized airport is best until the city gets too big for that to work. In the latter case, hopefully the one I'm flying into has great connections. Secondary airports can duplicate those connections for regional flights.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 5:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
the only time i fly into o'hare is when im headed to my office up in the NW suburbs, otherwise it's midway midway midway.

ATL is awful, and a mess when flying in or out internationally. i prefer something like Charlotte, or the intermittent international flights out of STL (which London may come back for good...I hope...). ATL is always a slap in the face, and makes America look like a damned mess.
I'm curious about your comment. What about ATL makes it a mess? Why do you deem it an embarrassment to America? It has garnered accolades from the industry on its set-up and efficiency. I'm not saying you are right or wrong because you have a right to express your feelings. I'm simply trying to understand on what basis are you making your assessment.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 5:41 PM
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Atlanta's airport rocks. I don't know why one would call it a mess.

JFK is a mess. O'Hare is a mess (although it has great food). But Atlanta?
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PremierAtlanta View Post
I'm curious about your comment. What about ATL makes it a mess? Why do you deem it an embarrassment to America? It has garnered accolades from the industry on its set-up and efficiency. I'm not saying you are right or wrong because you have a right to express your feelings. I'm simply trying to understand on what basis are you making your assessment.
I stopped going through Atl when they made me sit on the tarmac for an hour waiting for our spot in line. The place is just too busy for it's own good. I'll also never understand why my connecting flight is invariably on the opposite end of the airport and why they only give me 10 minutes to get there.

I mostly just fly direct when I can, but I will never transfer in Atlanta again if I can help it.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 6:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
the only time i fly into o'hare is when im headed to my office up in the NW suburbs, otherwise it's midway midway midway.

ATL is awful, and a mess when flying in or out internationally. i prefer something like Charlotte, or the intermittent international flights out of STL (which London may come back for good...I hope...). ATL is always a slap in the face, and makes America look like a damned mess.
Maybe this is coming from a viewpoint of having to transfer at ATL? Admittedly I've never done that, and I imagine it could be a pain. Having ATL as my "home" airport is amazing. It's very efficient, there are direct flights to pretty much everywhere, direct MARTA subway access, the new international terminal is very nice, and recently they've added a lot of local food options (Ecco, Varasano's, Paschal's, Grindhouse, Three Taverns, LottaFrutta, etc).
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 7:06 PM
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^ i think it's pretty common for people who don't live near a giant hub airport (ATL, ORD, DFW, LAX, DEN, etc.) and only know them as transfer cluster-fucks to despise them.

but when you live near one, you realize that, even with the hassles that come from size, it sure is nice to have so many flight options in terms of destinations and schedules.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 7:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
but when you live near one, you realize that, even with the hassles that come from size, it sure is nice to have so many flight options in terms of destinations and schedules.
This is a good point, and those $500 round trip tickets to Paris I had in March are a great example.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 8:37 PM
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Multiple airports in a metropolitan region, as mhays noted, can lead to intersecting arrival and departure paths, which can cause congestion, especially in bad (convective weather, wind, etc...) weather. This is an issue with the New York/New Jersey-area airports and, to a lesser extent, Chicago. Read FAA's FACT III report for more information about this: https://www.faa.gov/airports/plannin...in-the-NAS.pdf .

Large hubs and secondary airports each have advantages. The connections and direct flights offered at large hubs are a benefit but the ease and convenience of smaller airports is also desirable.

Last edited by 202_Cyclist; Apr 27, 2016 at 8:51 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 8:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ i think it's pretty common for people who don't live near a giant hub airport (ATL, ORD, DFW, LAX, DEN, etc.) and only know them as transfer cluster-fucks to despise them.

but when you live near one, you realize that, even with the hassles that come from size, it sure is nice to have so many flight options in terms of destinations and schedules.
Not to derail this thread, but I think this statement probably best explains some people's disdain for large airports. I've only lived in Atlanta, then NYC and now just outside of Washington, DC. I have never had a need to transfer so maybe I'm oblivious to how big of a hassle giant hubs can be.

To call ATL awful or a mess seemed a bit extreme considering that ATL has one of the best on time rates for major airports. When you are shuffling 100 million people a year through an airport, things can get dicey but I think ATL does it well.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 9:43 PM
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Small community or "downtown" airports are good for O&D travel and if you don't mind paying higher air fare. But large hub airports are much better if you are connecting or like to have lots of flight options.

Different airports serve different needs. Size doesn't make one better or worse. It's the wrong metrics to be using when evaluating airports. It's like asking if 20 story building is better or worse than 3 story building without taking into context where they are and what they are for.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2016, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ i think it's pretty common for people who don't live near a giant hub airport (ATL, ORD, DFW, LAX, DEN, etc.) and only know them as transfer cluster-fucks to despise them.

but when you live near one, you realize that, even with the hassles that come from size, it sure is nice to have so many flight options in terms of destinations and schedules.
I think this is definitely true for some places like ATL, but LAX is a clusterfuck even for locals. It's also old, gross, and ludicrously undersized in many places (like 20 seats per gate, etc). ORD has some of these same problems in a few places, but not even close to the same extent as LAX or JFK.

As far as bigass airports go, I think that ATL is pretty great.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2016, 1:33 AM
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one big airport, absolutely.

better access (how many regional airports have heavy rail links directly to CBD?), more carriers, more flights, less restrictive operational requirements, often more modern/cutting edge facilities, flights with bigger planes and more classes.

it's a separate issue that some large airports are poorly run. LAX is a clusterfu. i find SFO excellent despite the occasional delays caused by weather. i have no problem getting there, through security, and on the occasions where i've left a bit of time, no problem finding a good place to work or eat or drink without getting depressed at the state of the nation.

and it's nice to notice a cheap fare on a nonstop to a great faraway place. i noticed some paris nonstops for only $680 from SFO earlier this week and figured, why not! i've paid more than that to fly to PDX last minute. :o
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