Unfriendly Skies: The 10 Angriest Airports in America

Some airports can really wear on your nerves.
Some airports can really wear on your nerves. / Glow Images/Glowimages via Getty Images

Traveling by air can be relaxing for some and frustrating for others. Flight cancellations, delays, TSA hiccups, and other problems may prompt people to voice their displeasure. Sometimes that’s at the ticket counter, and sometimes it’s online. But does one airport prompt more complaints than others?

That was the question for Forbes Advisor author John Egan, who used machine learning tools to analyze the tone of Twitter messages directed at 60 of the busiest airports in America between March 2022 and March 2023. The more negative the tweets, the more an airport seemed to play host to dissatisfied travelers.

Here’s how it broke down:

  1. John Wayne Airport (Santa Ana, CA)
  2. Jacksonville International Airport (Jacksonville, FL)
  3. Eppley Airfield (Omaha, NE)
  4. Tampa International Airport (Tampa, FL)
  5. San Antonio International Airport (San Antonio, TX)
  6. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, GA)
  7. San Diego International Airport (San Diego, CA)
  8. Nashville International Airport (Nashville, TN)
  9. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (Phoenix, AZ)
  10. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (San Jose, CA)

There were few laid-back California vibes when it came to airports. Three of the top 10 “angriest” travel hubs are located in the state, with John Wayne Airport in Orange County taking the top spot.

Most complaints involved wait times for departures or luggage, rudeness, and occasionally smell. (“Why does the Southwest Air terminal stink so much??” asked one traveler to their Twitter followers.)

Naturally, Twitter is just one resource for measuring consumer feedback. John Wayne Airport was actually ranked second in customer satisfaction in a recent J.D. Power survey that compiled a list of large airports.

If you want a premium airport experience, you might need to plan a vacation abroad. A recent list of the 20 best air hubs had no American airports listed. The top, Hamad International Airport, is in Qatar, while four others are in Japan.