Last week in travel: best and worst airports in US revealed

American Airlines head to Africa for the first time, while Gatwick unveils terminal expansion plans, and inflatable Darth Vader roams the skies over Bristol 

The quality of airports differs greatly around the United States. To help the passengers know what to expect before they head to any, an aviation website The Point Guys has come up with a new ranking revealing both best and worst airports in the whole country. 

San Diego international airport has ranked the best in the United States — DBSOCAL / Shutterstock Last week in travel: best and worst airports in US revealed
San Diego international airport has been named the best in the United States — DBSOCAL / Shutterstock
 

The site used data gathered by Inrix and the US Department of Transportation. In total, they evaluated 50 airports in the US on factors including the length of delays, and the length and difficulty of the commute from the city centre. The quality of airport amenities also played a significant role.  

Thanks to its high level of facilities, great performance of on-time flights, and proximity, California’s San Diego airport ranked top in the list. It is closely followed by Phoenix Sky Harbor and Portland (Oregon) international airport.

Ranked as the worst airport in the United States overall was Chicago Midway. The second airport to Chicago O’Hare, Midway has “only one lounge and a relatively bare-bones smattering of restaurants,” according to TPG.

The top 5 airports in the US

  1. San Diego international airport 
  2. Phoenix Sky Harbor international airport 
  3. Portland (Oregon) international airport
  4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airport
  5. Sacramento international airport

The worst 5 airports in the US

  1. Chicago Midway international airport 
  2. Orlando international airport
  3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport
  4. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne Country airport
  5. Southwest Florida international airport

London Gatwick reveals North Terminal expansion plans

London’s second airport — Gatwick — has decided to make a huge investment in new technologies and automation. The airport has recently unveiled a five-year-long programme that should improve the passenger experience at the North Terminal. 

Gatwick will invest in automatisation and technologies to make the airport experience smoother — London Gatwick airport Last week in travel: best and worst airports in US revealed
Gatwick will invest in automatisation and technologies to make the airport experience smoother — London Gatwick airport
 

The airport’s new initiatives include robotic parking and automated boarding technology. With the new approach, they aim to speed up boarding and give passengers more choice about how they spend their time.

“We always put passengers at the heart of our investment plans and it’s great to see how automation and technology can further enhance the passenger experience,” said Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate.

“The plans explore ways we can grow capacity sustainably, including providing more space in our departure lounges.

“This investment will support our existing airlines, help attract new airlines and provide an enhanced service for the millions of people who choose to fly from Gatwick.”

American Airlines head to Africa for the first time

United States’ flag carrier has carried out its summer 2020 international schedule. Apart from launching routes to cities such as Kraków, Prague or Budapest, American will also fly to Africa for the first time. 

From 4 June 2020, the airline will be the only US carrier with non-stop service to Casablanca, Morocco. The connection will be operated three times per week on a Boeing 757.

From 4 June 2020, American Airlines will be the only US carrier with non-stop service to Casablanca, Morocco — Shutterstock Last week in travel: best and worst airports in US revealed
From 4 June 2020, American Airlines will be the only US carrier with non-stop service to Casablanca, Morocco — Shutterstock
 

“Our customers and team members have been asking when we’re going to start service to Africa, and I couldn’t be more pleased to make this announcement for service beginning in 2020,” said Vasu Raja, American vice president of network and schedule planning.

“We look forward to working with Royal Air Maroc when they join oneworld in January, which will allow for even more connections further into Africa to places like Marrakesh, Lagos and Accra.”

“This is only the beginning.”

Island in Sweden offers free stays for creative people

If you are of an artistic mind and strive for some friendly space to immerse into your creative ideas, you can head to the Swedish island of Vifärnaholme. 

The private location, which is a four-hour ride from Stockholm, is dubbed as Ideas Island for letting people spend their creative time there for free. And now, the private island has just opened applications for next summer. 

“Application for Summer 2019 is now closed but you may still submit your application for Summer 2020,” the island’s website states. 

“Applications are open all year around. Ideas Island accepts guests from May to early September. All weeks are given away around FebruaryMarch each year.”

According to the island’s Facebook page, it’s “a place made to inspire and motivate people with great ideas to make those ideas happen. Created to give creative people the time and space needed to sit down and focus on their ideas while at the same time feeling great.”

While visitors have to pay for their own travel and food, the use of the island is completely for free. However, the ones who can afford it are asked to donate $1,000 to Ideas Island’s chosen charity. 

“This place is like oxygen for the mind, it inspires to think, exchange ideas and to imagine the future,” wrote one guest, Bastian Döhling, about his experience.

Darth Vader-shaped hot air balloon roams the skies over Bristol

The largest annual meeting of hot air balloon enthusiasts had an unusual attendee this year. Among more than 130 balloons overall, the skies over the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta also welcomed the floating head of Darth Vader from the Star Wars saga.

The iconic hot air balloon was originally made in Bristol. However, this was the first time it flew in its hometown. Previously, the balloon toured around various cities in the world. Last week, a crowdfunded campaign managed to get the Sith Lord home. 

 

Luke Skywalker’s actor Mark Hamill appreciated his dead father’s head floating above England in a tweet he posted on Tuesday, 8 August. 

“After a horrible, no good, terrible week, there’s nothing quite like a giant floating #DarthVader balloon to distract from reality & raise your spirits,” he tweeted. 

Dart Vader is especially important for Bristol as it is the birthplace of David Prowse, the actor who played the character in the original Star Wars trilogy.