Tips on Travel: Best/worst airports, best/worst food & drink, top destinations and more

BELLEVUE, Wash — recently asked more than 6,000 of the company’s most frequent travelers for their perspective on business and leisure travel just in time for the busy summer travel season. Expedia Elite Plus members, those with the highest ranking in the Expedia Rewards customer loyalty program, shared their insights on best and worst airports, where to find the best and worst food and which travel perks are most important.

The 6,000 respondents in the Expedia High Fliers survey collectively traveled more than 25,000 times, spending almost 100,000 days** on the road or in the air last year. When asked, they were more than eager to share their feedback on which airports and destinations made them happiest, angriest and hungriest.

Airport Smack down
Some of America’s most beloved airports also rank among the most despised: both Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) and Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD) topped the list of favorite and least favorite airports. New York-area airports fared poorly; both John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) made the least favorite top five, while Newark Liberty International (EWR) was cited as offering the worst food and beverage options. JFK did crack the top five among “Best Food & Beverage,” however. The 2014 High Fliers’ choices include:

Favorite Airports: Least Favorite Airports:
1) Atlanta (ATL) 1) Atlanta (ATL)
2) Denver (DEN) 2) Chicago (ORD)
3) Chicago (ORD) 3) Houston (IAH – Bush)
4) Dallas (DFW) 4) New York (JFK)
5) Orlando (MCO) 5) New York (LGA)
Best Food & Beverage: Worst Food & Beverage:
1) Atlanta (ATL) 1) Los Angeles (LAX)
2) Chicago (ORD) 2) New York (LGA)
3) Dallas (DFW) 3) Atlanta (ATL)
4) New York (JFK) 4) Las Vegas (LAS)
5) San Francisco (SFO) 5) New York (EWR)

Business or Pleasure?
Sixty-three percent of High-Fliers said that going on vacation is more important now than it was two years ago. Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco share top billing as stellar destinations for food and drink, and rank highly for serious travelers as both business and leisure destinations.

Best Destinations for Leisure: Best Destinations for Business:
1) Las Vegas, NV 1) New York, NY
2) Hawaii (The Big Island) 2) Chicago, IL
3) San Francisco, CA 3) Washington, DC
4) New York, NY 4) Las Vegas, NV
5) Orlando, FL 5) San Francisco, CA
Best Destinations for Food & Drink:
1) New York, NY
2) Las Vegas, NV
3) Chicago, IL
4) San Francisco, CA
5) New Orleans, LA

When asked the most important factors when making travel arrangements or while traveling, High-Fliers cited:

1)  Hotel room cleanliness (89%)
2)  Good customer service (81%)
3)  Privacy of online information (80%)
4)  Saving money for leisure travel (73%)
5)  Free wireless internet (63%)
6)  Hotel location (66%)
7)  Loyalty programs (42%)
8)  Ability to manage travel itineraries via mobile device (32%)
9)  Ability to get travel alerts on mobile device (31%)
10) Hotel Upgrade Option (28%)

** Based on the U.S. Travel Association’s 2010 data reporting that the average American leisure trip is 3.8 days.