VOX - Gabby Birenbaum

If you’re flying out of the US, however, the best part of a trip to the airport is probably getting to leave. After standing in long lines, waiting in overcrowded gates, and managing delays, wanting to get out of the airport as soon as possible is understandable. And it certainly doesn’t help that the features that push other airports to the top of the rankings would be unrecognizable to someone flying in the US.

Not only are few US airports among the world’s best, but overall, they are in bad shape: In 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s aviation system a D+, largely because airports’ basic inefficiencies and lack of space lead to problems like delays and overcrowding. The airport grade was worse than those of other, oft-maligned parts of US transportation infrastructure, like bridges, which earned a C, and roads, which were given a D.

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