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Tampa International ranked best midsize airport in America

TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
Published Nov. 14, 2019

Locals have long professed their love for Tampa International Airport, but one ranking has officially moved TPA up to first class.

The Wall Street Journal called Tampa International the best among midsize airports in its annual survey ranking the best large and midsize airports in the country. The results were released Wednesday.

Tampa took first place in the midsize category and had the fifth-highest score among all ranked airports – both midsize and large. The airport didn’t score first in any of the multitude of categories, but consistently high marks put the airport above the rest.

Tampa earned its highest marks for convenience. The category measured wifi speeds, Yelp ratings, maximum walking distance, nonstop destinations and reader satisfaction.

The airport ranked 16 out of 20 when it came to wifi speeds, and ranked fifth in restaurant reviews with a 3-star average. It earned top-four finishes for its 91 nonstop destinations and a short quarter-mile walk to the gates. The airport’s highest marks came from survey respondents, who placed Tampa second among similarly-sized airports.

Related: Related: Why is Tampa International Airport so well-loved? Well, it was designed that way.

While landing first among midsize airports, the rankings show that there’s still room for improvement — most notably in the reliability category. Delays at the airport last an hour on average, and wait-times for a taxi cab often exceeds 10 minutes. The airport was hit hard on its arrival scores, but the paper noted that the oft-turbulent weather was taken into consideration.

Survey respondents recommended the use of economy parking and ride-share services. Visitors who rent a vehicle are hit with a 33% tax for the convenience, whereas a ride-share to downtown runs just $20.

The great news? An average trip through TSA security screening takes about 5 to 6 minutes.

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