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What U.S. Cities Have the Healthiest Airports?

Carol Sottili

Two of our region's airports -- BWI Marshall and Reagan National -- have placed in the top 10 of the nation's healthiest. The rankings by Health Magazine gave BWI the number two spot, behind Phoenix Sky Harbor. BWI "features soft music and comfortable lighting at one of its key security checkpoints, instead of the usual crowding and confusion," the magazine reports. "To take stress down another notch, walk the BWI Trail, a 12.5-mile hiking-and-biking path that circles the airport and goes through wetlands and forest areas; it's accessible from public areas of the terminal. Still stressed? Get a seated massage at the Destination Relaxation spa."

Reagan National came in at number six, for similar reasons. "If your flight's got a major delay, you can get some fresh (fume-free) air at the walking-and-biking trail that goes through the airport grounds," the article says. And "museum-quality artwork...is the perfect diversion to take your mind away from the stresses of travel."

Rounding out the top ten were Chicago O'Hare (healthy food); Detroit Metropolitan ("StormReady" airport system); Denver International (energy efficiency); Dallas/Fort Worth International (play area for kids); Boston Logan (green standards); Portland International in Oregon (nearby hiking and biking trails); and Philadelphia International (on site health clinic).

The magazine looked at all the nation's major airports, scored them based on information provided by government reports, Physicians for Responsible Medicine, JD Power, Skytrax, Flightstats, Airports Council International and the airports, and then asked a panel of judges to make the final determination. The study considered food choices, bathroom cleanliness, environmental friendliness, safety measures such as the presence of advanced X-ray technology, runway accidents, delays, construction, stress reducers such as artwork and spa services and creature comforts, including on-site fitness facilities and children's play areas.

For the full report, search for airports on the magazine's Web site.

Anyone have a different choice for an airport that doesn't leave you feeling cranky, fat and stressed? I choose Reagan National because of its good restaurants, its many food choices, and its shopping, which can amuse me while I wait.

By Carol Sottili |  December 2, 2008; 12:06 PM ET  | Category:  Airports , Carol Sottili
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The name of Reagan gets me down.

Posted by: shlomiesdad | December 2, 2008 12:31 PM

I just read Health's description of Sky Horbor, and it sounds like they confined themselves to Terminal Four (aka the Barry M. Goldwater Terminal), which is home to USAirways and is also used by Southwest and international flights. However, if you're coming in on Continental, Delta or several other big carriers, you're relegated to Terminal 3 or worse, Terminal 2. Three isn't great, but Two is reminiscent of the uglier parts of LaGuardia, or perhaps Philly.

My favorite low-stress travel embarkation point: DC Union Station (as long as the weather's good and the trains are on time).

Posted by: northgs | December 2, 2008 1:00 PM

Personally, I feel they missed Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Because when the tram system along C-Terminal breaks down (combined with the occasional outage of the moving walkways), it's a helluva walk while hauling carry-ons from the bottom of C and have to pick up your connection in F...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | December 2, 2008 3:30 PM

I agree about Sky Harbor. I flew in and out of terminal 3 and it was terrible. There were three places to get food inside security - a sit down restaurant, a burrito stand, and Starbucks. And the atmosphere was awful.

Posted by: dennis5 | December 3, 2008 9:31 AM

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