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The Best Airports in the U.S. for Remote Workers [2022 Data Study]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

Countries Visited: 44U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Remote work life has completely transformed the travel game. No longer are workers chained to their desks and forced to clock in on location — instead, virtual employees have the luxury of working anywhere, including the airport lounge before they board a flight for a week abroad. While working from an airport may sound strange, the practice is actually becoming quite the norm. 

Remote workers may want to get a head start on a long weekend in a tropical destination or rent an Airbnb in another city for a month. With remote workers able to take their offices to airports across the nation, we wanted to discover the best U.S. airports for a remote worker’s paradise!

The Best (And Worst) U.S. Airports for Remote Work

U.S. map depicting the best and worst U.S. airports for remote work
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

With remote workers escaping to places like Honolulu for a change in scenery, it’s no surprise that departing out of the best airports in the U.S. can help get their relaxing week off to the right start. 

San Diego International Airport (SAN) placed first with a total city score of 42.06 out of 50. SAN received top marks for its number of charging stations per square mile (13.42) and percentage of on-time departures (81.13%). Relax on your lunch break at the Be Relax Spa with services like facials or chair massages. 

Not only has Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) been the filming location for several large Hollywood blockbusters, but it also places second on our list with a total city score of 41.24 out of 50. While you may run into celebrities like Harry Styles or Gwyneth Paltrow during your workday there, this airport is exceptional due to its number of restrooms per square mile (25.22) and mean Wi-Fi download speed (in Mbps) of 156.91. 

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), located in Washington, D.C., placed third with a total city score of 40.36 out of 50. This airport features 46.70 restaurants per square mile. DCA is home to good eats like pizza, burgers, and bakeries, as well as other fares like Mediterranean and Lebanese food — many options for the remote worker to post up with their laptop and chow down during their lunch break.

Honorable mentions include John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA), located in Santa Ana, California, which came in fourth on our list with a total city score of 40.17 out of 50, and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which placed fifth with a total city score of 38.38 out of 50. 

The Best U.S. Airports for Remote Work by Category

U.S. map showcasing the best U.S. airports for remote work by category
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Perhaps you’re like George Clooney’s character from “Up in the Air” and you spend more time in the sky than on the ground. If so, then you’re most definitely accustomed to working in an airport with specific amenities in mind. 

When it comes to individual categories, there were major airline hubs that stood out above the rest.

Dulles International Airport (IAD), located in Washington, D.C., had the fastest Wi-Fi download speed (in Mbps) at 185.86, which is 83% higher than the average (76.54). IAD boasts fast and free Wi-Fi to get you through your Zoom meetings with ease. 

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), located in New York is home to the most airport lounges per square mile (4.36), compared to the national average (1.42 lounges). Check out our full list of airport lounges at JFK for a guide on the most comfortable places to log in between flights. 

When you’re working remotely, it’s not uncommon for your laptop to run out of juice. Thankfully, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is home to 36.05 charging stations per square mile, beating out the competition’s average of 7.02 charging stations per square mile.  

Hot Tip: Never be caught without Wi-Fi or power when traveling! Check out our guide to the best portable and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as the best portable power bank chargers.

Airports With the Most and Least Flight Delays

Bar charts showcasing the airports with the most and least flight delays
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

There’s nothing worse than being forced to overstay your welcome in an airport — unless, of course, you’re Tom Hanks in “The Terminal,” but most of us do like to leave on time.  

Portland International Airport (PDX) reigns supreme as one of the best airports in the U.S. if you hate waiting around, as 83.41% of its flights depart on time. PDX is home to only 18 airlines, which could be one reason why most of its flights leave on time, compared to major airline hubs like JFK, which features over 70 airlines. 

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) has an 82.93% success rate when it comes to flights departing on time. SLC has its very own SkySquad that helps passengers get from point A to point B, perhaps cutting down on any boarding wait times.

When it comes to airports to avoid, Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) is high on our list, as nearly 40% of its flights are delayed. This airport has faced staffing shortages, which could lead to airport congestion. 

Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) follows closely behind with 34.03% of its departures being delayed. If you still choose to fly out of BWI, keep track of delays on its departures page. 

Methodology

While remote employees can set up their workstations at airports across the nation, only the best U.S. airports will do. We analyzed 45 of the largest U.S. airport hubs on 12 ranking factors and assigned each one a weighted score of 0 to 10 with a score of 10 representing the most favorable conditions. We then added each score up for a total possible score out of 50.

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Ranking FactorWeightSource
Mean Wi-Fi Download Speed (Mbps)1.25Speedtest Intelligence
No. of Starbucks (per Square Mile)1.00Individual Airport Websites
No. of Restaurants (per Square Mile)1.00Individual Airport Websites
No. of Shops (per Square Mile)0.50Individual Airport Websites
No. of Airport Lounges (per Square Mile)1.00Individual Airport Websites
No. of Restrooms (per Square Mile)0.50Individual Airport Websites
No. of Charging Stations (per Square Mile)1.00Individual Airport Websites
% of Ontime Departures0.75Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)
% of Delayed Departures0.75Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)
% of Cancelled Departures0.75Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)
Customer Satisfaction Index (1,000-pt. scale)0.75J.D. Power (North America Airport Satisfaction Study)
No. of Enplanements0.75Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Final Thoughts

Remote work life has given plenty of employees flexibility when it comes to where they work. These employees are ditching their home offices in lieu of airports like SAN and LAX. Revisit our list of the best airports in the U.S. for remote workers the next time you’re ready to board a flight!

Interested in diving deeper into the numbers for the top 10 airports, or wanting to see how your local airport stacks up if it’s not listed within the above maps? We’ve compiled our full data study for all 45 U.S. airports analyzed into the interactive table below.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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