Most of us are drawn towards direct flights when we book travel, but agreeing to a layover can often save loads of dough. And if you plan properly, adding a connecting flight to the itinerary doesn’t have to ruin the trip.
If the timing is tight, the key to a seamless connection is picking an efficient and popular airport. Or, if you have the time, a connecting city can be the perfect excuse to add an extra destination to your itinerary. The good news is that these four cities are great choices no matter which option you take.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, yet it still manages to be one of the most efficient. And if you’re looking for a connecting flight, there’s a good chance Atlanta will serve as a bridge to your destination; it has 150 domestic destinations and nearly 70 international destinations. No wonder a 2013 survey by Travel Leaders Group showed that 40% of respondents thought Atlanta was the best airport for connections.
Plus, if you want to enjoy the city for a few days, there’s more than enough to do. From a hot music scene to a stellar aquarium to historic attractions like the MLK historic site and Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta has something for everyone.
Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake City International Airport leads the entire country in on-time departures and arrivals, according to USA Today, and that’s the case despite the fact that it handles around 650 daily flights. As the site put it, another perk is the fact that “passengers making connections don’t have to exit and reenter security screening lines to get to their ongoing gates.”
Plus, if you’re a ski bum or state park lover, this is the perfect connecting option for adding a few days to your trip. For the cherry on top, Utah Transit Authority has been expanding its light rail, making getting around the city even easier for visitors.
Next up we have Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the fifth busiest airport in the world, offering over 140 direct destinations worldwide. In the aforementioned survey, Charlotte was second only to Atlanta in most-preferred airports for connections. That’s likely because Charlotte is no stranger to airline transfers. About 80% of passengers at Charlotte are there just to switch planes, in part because Charlotte is the second-busiest hub for American Airlines, according to the Charlotte Observer.
But for folks who want to stick around, Charlotte has plenty to offer, from awesome pro sports to an impressive art scene in NoDa (North Davidson).
Last but not least, we have Portland International Airport, which should make the list at the very least because it’s been named America’s best airport for four years straight now. But Portland is also appealing because the adorable, chill city also boasts solid transportation options (another light rail) for travelers who simply must get a VooDoo donut or check out Powell’s books before they head on their way.