News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Which airport is best? Travel website ranks Hartsfield-Jackson 16th out of 30 major U.S. airports

A travel website's ranking of the best and worst U.S. airports placed Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport right in the middle.

The Atlanta airport ranked 16th out of 30 big airports, with not enough bars and restaurants for the number of passengers, but better on-time rates for flights than other big airports, according to ThePointsGuy.com.

The ranking by ThePointsGuy.com placed Phoenix Sky Harbor International in the position of the best U.S. airport, and New York's LaGuardia the worst among the 30 busiest U.S. airports.

LaGuardia and other airports were memorably called out by presidential candidate Donald Trump during the first presidential debate in September.

"Our airports are like from a third world country," Trump said during the debate. "You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible -- you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land -- we've become a third world country."

For the record, in ThePointsGuy.com's ranking, JFK was second-worst, Newark was third-worst and Los Angeles International was 9th worst.

ThePointsGuy.com says its report was based on federal airline performance statistics, J.D. Power and other information including airport websites and maps.

The study took into account timeliness measured by flight delays, cancellations and security waits; accessibility measured by drive time and public transit time to and from the city center or other popular destinations; and amenities including restaurants, lounges, wi-fi and parking fees.

Looking at those factors at Hartsfield-Jackson, about 85 percent of domestic flights arrived on time for the one-year period ending in August 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. About 0.58 percent of flights were canceled.

Hartsfield-Jackson and other U.S. airports had security wait times in the one-hour range during busy periods in the spring, but airport, airline and Transportation Security Administration officials have since added staff, made improvements and reduced wait times. A recent check showed wait times of 15-30 minutes at security checkpoints in the Atlanta airport's domestic terminal, and waits are shorter during less-busy periods.

Hartsfield-Jackson is about 12 miles from downtown Atlanta, though it is farther from the businesses and residents in the northern part of the metro area, including Cumberland, Perimeter and Gwinnett County areas.

MARTA may not go everywhere in Atlanta, but it does have a station right inside the airport's domestic terminal. It does not stop at the international terminal, however. Getting from MARTA to the international terminal to check in for a flight requires a shuttle ride.

The Atlanta airport has more than 150 restaurants or food and beverage outlets. But the world's busiest airport has also had delays in contracting for new spots, leading to long lines in some areas.

Airport-run parking lots cost anywhere from $9 per day to $36 per day, with options ranging from park-ride lots to the short-term parking garages. A variety of private-run parking lots also offer a range of prices, including some rates lower than the airport-run lots.

And as for wi-fi, it became a free amenity at Hartsfield-Jackson two years ago.

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.