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These are the best and worst airports in the nation

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

About a million of us here in the U.S. will spend some time in an airport during this upcoming Thanksgiving. If all goes according to plan, you get to the airport, glide right through security check and take off on time. Or maybe you get the flip side - weather delays, an overbooked flight, and to top it all off, they lost your luggage. We've all been there, which is why Wall Street Journal columnist Dawn Gilbertson has a ranking of the best and worst airports in the U.S.

DAWN GILBERTSON: We look at 19 criteria, from on-time arrivals to Uber costs to even the price of a bottle of water. And we broadly put them in three categories - reliability, convenience and value.

MARTIN: So who was the best?

GILBERTSON: Well, No. 1 among the big airports might surprise some people. It's San Francisco International Airport. What vaulted San Francisco to the top is their on-time performance. I mean, it's north of 80%.

MARTIN: SFO, first in class, despite all that fog. For best midsize airport, you don't have to travel far. It's California for the win again.

GILBERTSON: Sacramento Airport, you know, which is not all that far from SFO. You know, it's a delightful little airport. I spoke with the airport director, and she was telling me that, you know, even the landscapers there help direct passengers.

MARTIN: OK. We all know there're some crowded, hard-to-navigate airports. You may be headed to one right now, but which one is considered the worst of the worst?

GILBERTSON: This probably will not surprise anybody who's ever traveled through the Northeast, but Newark takes the crown yet again. It's just really congested there.

MARTIN: Poor Newark. But what about the best airport for, say, a good snack while you wait?

GILBERTSON: When you come to Phoenix - and you can get, you know, the, you know world-famous guacamole from Barrio Cafe in Terminal 4.

MARTIN: Terminal 4, Phoenix - guac for Thanksgiving it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLE AND SEBASTIAN SONG, "SEYMOUR STEIN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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