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The Best and the Worst Airports to Access

If you want great access to an airport, go overseas—that's the main finding of a study by Golden Gateway Alliance, a Manhattan-based airport advocacy organization. Tied for dead-last in terms of access is Denver and a certain New York airport.
February 17, 2015, 8am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Surprisingly, it was not LaGuardia that ranked #30 with Denver (which is getting a new rail link next year). The release of the report comes eerily close to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal last month for a direct rail link to La Guardia airport which has been questioned by transit advocates as a worthy investment.

"Even though New York is supposed to be a transit-friendly city, its metro airports were socked in the Global Gateway Alliance survey by cities like Atlanta and Phoenix," writes the New York Post's transportation reporter, Rebecca Harshbarger.

JFK tied with Denver’s airport for last place due to the 47-minute trip it takes from Penn Station to get there via the LIRR and Air Train.

Interestingly, MTA's Air Train JFK webpage shows the time from Penn Station to Jamaica Station (where the Air Train terminal is located) via LIRR express train as 35 minutes, yet my MTA trip planner (weekday, 3 PM) shows 21-23 minutes.

LaGuardia and Newark Airports didn't do much better though—they tied for second-to-last with Los Angeles, Jakarta, Istanbul, and Seoul.

Laura Keeney, aviation reporter for The Denver Post, writes that "DIA's score suffered due to an average transit time of 53.5 minutes and having only one mode of mass transit — RTD bus — to access the airport."

This could soon be a moot point. Regional Transportation District rail service to the airport begins in 2016. That service, airport spokeswoman Laura Coale said, will connect passengers between Denver Union Station to the airport in 35 minutes.

The top-rated airport in United States, good enough for #3 in the world, is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. "MARTA takes passengers directly into the domestic terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson — however, MARTA does not reach the airport’s international terminal," writes Kelly Yamanouchi who covers airlines and the airport for The Atlanta Journal‑Constitution. "MARTA riders generally must take a shuttle bus to get from the domestic terminal to the international terminal on the other side of the airport."

And #1 in the world for transit access......No, it was not Shanghai, with a new Maglev that tied with Atlanta and Beijing for #3. It's the Madrid and Amsterdam airports. Read the 10-page report here [PDF], which includes lots of great pictures.

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Published on Monday, February 16, 2015 in New York Post
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