20 Best U.S. Airports for Tech Travelers

20 Best U.S. Airports for Tech Travelers

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20 Best U.S. Airports for Tech Travelers

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Top 20 Tech-Friendly Airports: #11 to #20

#11 Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport isn't big on electrical outlets (2.65 per gate, on average), and it provides less than one USB port and less than one work desk per gate, on average, but its free Wi-Fi service is terrific. We measured average download speeds of 11 mbps and uploads of 7.25 mbps in our Wi-Fi tests. Verizon cellular service was exceptional, too, averaging 11 mbps for downloads and 7.5 mbps for uploads.

#12 Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

Some of the seats in the gates at Raleigh-Durham International have power outlets, and some of the tables have USB and power outlets beneath the tabletops. But like Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, RDU ranks high on our list because of its Wi-Fi. Though the AT&T service isn't free, it's fast; we measured average speeds of greater than 14 mbps throughout the airport--the fastest airport Wi-Fi service we saw in our tests.

#13 Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Nashville's airport provides 20 minutes of free Wi-Fi per user, after which you have to buy a day-pass from Boingo. Still, Boingo's service is solid at BNA, averaging 2.8 mbps for downloads throughout the airport, and you can pay as you go for $4.95 per hour. Delta and Southwest have tricked out their gate areas in the B and C concourses, respectively, with freestanding charging stations that include USB ports.

#14 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Many of the gates at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport have free charging stations, including Samsung "power poles," Clear Channel sit-down charging stations, and Delta charging stations. The airport also offers "power seating": Many of the tables in the food courts and in some of the restaurants have power outlets nearby, so travelers can recharge their devices as they eat. MSP also has a few business centers for users who need a desk and some quiet.

Delta has announced plans for an iPad installation in the G concourse at MSP similar to its installations at New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports. Passengers will be able to sit at an iPad kiosk or restaurant-style table and order food from 12 different restaurants in the terminal. Work on the new installation is slated to begin in 2012, and should take 18 months to complete.

Delta and restaurant management partner OTG also plan to introduce a "media bar"--a virtual newsstand where passengers can rent an iPad and load it up with publications, movies, music, and apps to enjoy during their flight. Upon reaching their destination, travelers will be able to return their iPad by dropping it into a prepaid postage box.

#15 Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

Surprise! The tech-friendliest airport in Chicago isn't the giant O'Hare. It's the smaller Chicago Midway, which features groups of powered workspaces with power outlets at three gates. These workspaces are especially good for working travelers who want a flat surface for their laptop and who have a smartphone in need of charging before the flight, too.

#16 Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)

Cleveland makes our Top 20 on the strength of its Wi-Fi service, which is both free and fast. In our tests the service delivered average download speeds of 8 mbps, and average upload speeds of 6.8 mbps--more than enough speed to stream movies, and perhaps do a little video chatting with the folks back home.

Cleveland International's other stats weren't as impressive. The airport averages just 2.9 outlets per gate and 0.7 USB ports per gate. And pity the person who comes to CLE needing a desk to work at: They're in short supply.

#17 Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX is the nation's third busiest airport, a sprawling affair with eight domestic terminals and one international terminal. We counted an average of 5.3 outlets per gate, many of them on the 51 Samsung charging poles located at gates throughout the airport. LAX also sports a fair number of Neptune Networks internet kiosks, which charge users 25 cents per minute.

#18 Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

At Sea-Tac we found just 2.7 electrical outlets (on average) per gate, and not many USB ports, either (0.4 per gate). You will find Smarte Carte rapid phone charging stations (at $3 for a charge) in all terminals, and the airport's Wi-Fi service is more than respectable, with averages of 5.7 mbps for downloads and 4.5 mbps for uploads in our tests.

#19 Kansas City International Airport (MCI)

Kansas City International is well-outfitted for tech travelers, especially at Southwest's gates. The airline has installed plenty of big, comfy chairs that have a little wooden table attached, plus power and USB ports. You'll also find a healthy number of Southwest's standing bars, equipped with up to ten two-plug outlets, which are perfect for a quick charge and an email check before your flight.

Overall, Kansas City International averages 4.2 outlets per gate and 4.9 USB ports per gate. The airport's Wi-Fi service averaged a workable 1.4 mbps for downloads, and its cellular service clocked in at an above-average 3.35 mbps for downloads.

#20 Portland International Airport (PDX)

Despite its painfully slow (but free) airport Wi-Fi, Portland International edges out Las Vegas International for the final spot in our Top 20, simply by showing up in all categories. PDX averages 5.6 outlets per gate, and it has charging stations, USB ports, and work desks in every terminal, though we'd like to see more of them. The airport also has business centers with desks and outlets in every terminal, and the local T-Mobile and Sprint cellular service proved to be surprisingly fast, averaging 4.2 mbps for uploads and 3 mbps for downloads, respectively.

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