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The worst airport in the U.S.? No argument here

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New York City draws tens of millions tourists of every year, and many of them will have the misfortune of arriving at LaGuardia Airport.

LaGuardia is the lowest-rated large airport in the U.S., according to a new ranking by J.D. Power based on passengers' experience. The facility, located in the city's Queens borough, came in dead last out of 21 airports in its category even as traveler satisfaction reached an all-time high (see chart at bottom).

New York's other major flight hub didn't fare much better. John F. Kennedy International was rated the fourth-worst among the country's largest airports. Nearby Newark Liberty International in New Jersey was the bottom-ranked airport, followed by Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago.

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The main reason passengers dislike these big-city airports: They're often under construction, disrupting travelers and presenting access challenges. 

The highest-ranked airports in terms of customer satisfaction are John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and, among mega-hubs, Orlando International Airport in Florida. In the latter category, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, McCarran International in Las Vegas and Phoenix Sky Harbor International airports also score well. 

The study is based on responses from nearly 35,000 North American travelers who passed through at least one domestic airport between January and August.

While endless security lines and TSA headaches became the stuff of national headlines in 2016, this year JD Power found that overall passenger satisfaction with airports is at an all-time high. Better Transportation Security Administration staffing is easing security checks, while self-service kiosks and other technologies are helping speed the baggage-check process.

Some airports are also getting creative in trying to soothe harried travelers. For example, passengers flying through Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport can de-stress by interacting with 30 ponies, while travelers at San Francisco International Airport might bump into a pet "therapy" pig that roams the terminal.

JD Power
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