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Best and worst airports in the world: In the same city

Written by Dmytro Makarov

First ever Fodor’s Travel Awards cover categories important to today’s modern traveler, including foodie airports, best booze cruises, and biggest social media travel influencers.

The awards, chosen by the Fodor’s editorial team of travel experts, aim to highlight travel standouts—and some duds—in categories that matter to today’s modern traveler.

Los Angeles has earned the distinction of being home to both the Best U.S. Airport (Hollywood Burbank Airport) and the World’s Worst Airport (LAX), according to the results of the first-ever Fodor’s Travel Awards, announced today.

Not Just Another Travel Rewards Program

Fodor’s editors are well aware that there are many travel awards in the world – so the team set out with a distinct mission to go against the grain of traditional travel awards in staid categories.

“Most travel awards programs take themselves very seriously. But there are so many fun quirks and nuances to travel, as well as needs and goals that vary from person to person,” said Jeremy Tarr, editorial director of Fodor’s Travel. “We designed the Fodor’s Travel Awards to be more inclusive, more honest, and way more fun and relevant to everyday travelers and tourists.”

While some categories are lighthearted (Best Airline For A Budget Bougie Experience, anyone?) Fodor’s editors took each decision seriously, oftentimes fiercely debating winners and runners-up.

The result is a definitive collection of expert recommendations in categories that range from Best Airport For Foodies(Newark Liberty) to Best Airline for Flying with Pets (American) to Best Airline for Plus-Sized Passengers (JetBlue) to The Best Cruise to Replace Your Dating App (have you heard about the Kesha Cruise?) to Best Travel Pot (as in cannabis – and it would be Lord Jones CBD), and many more.

LA: A City With A Tale of Two Airports

Travel journeys almost always involve airports, so Fodor’s editors made them a prime element of the Fodor’s Travel Awards.

“Airports are like living creatures – sprawling, complicated, chameleon-like things that are constantly expanding and renewing themselves,” Tarr said. “What is today’s best airport can quickly become next year’s worst.”

In an unplanned coincidence, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) took the award for Best U.S. Airport, while Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) took the title of World’s Worst Airport.

Fodor’s editors cited Hollywood Burbank’s accessibility and mellow, hassle-free experience as primary reasons it took top honors.

Burbank is an airport free of most of the hassles that take the fun out of travel plans,” said Fodor’s managing editor Rachael Levitt. “It’s an agreeable airport in a perfect location, which is why it’s at the top of our list of airports to love.”

Meanwhile, LAX got demerits for extreme difficulties getting in and out of the airport, a problem exacerbated by several major construction projects currently taking place. Ironically, most of the construction projects are for features that will ultimately improve getting around the infamous LAX “horseshoe.”

“One day the construction will end. And, one day, there will be a people-mover that will connect the yet-to-be-open Crenshaw Metro Line to the airport,” Tarr said. “But until then, LAX has earned a spot at the top of our Worst Airports list – and we’re loathing it.”

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Dmytro Makarov