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Passengers at this US airport have the longest trek to their gate

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While travel disruptions and long security lines are things most travelers keep in mind when planning their arrival at the airport, many may not consider the distance from check-in to their gates.

With some airport terminals spanning over a mile in length, the walk can take more than 20 minutes – which means some late arrivers may be in for a hurried jog.

Forty percent of surveyed Americans are “annoyed” by a long walk to their airport departure gate, according to a February 2024 survey conducted by KURU Footwear.

With busy summer travel just around the corner, KURU Footwear sought to measure the top 10 largest and smallest U.S. airports by land area (excluding those focused on private jets). Researchers analyzed airport maps and Google Maps to determine the walking distance in each terminal to the nearest and farthest gates.

Unsurprisingly, the busiest airports, known as major connecting hubs, had the longest walking distances for travelers, like Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport. Thankfully, most of these major airports offer concourse trains and moving walkways to make traveling between terminals easier.

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Some travelers will avoid the hassle of big airports altogether, with 41% of survey participants saying they have specifically booked travel to a smaller airport “for convenience.”

“Interestingly, 36% of Americans prefer to fly out of a larger airport, while 19% prefer smaller airports,” Victoria Schmid, spokesperson for KURU Footwear, told USA TODAY in a statement. “Forty-five percent say they don’t care about the size of the airport at all when booking travel, but choose it based on convenience to them (i.e. distance from their home or destination). Many airports in the U.S. are expanding and under construction to become bigger and accommodate larger crowds as travel continues to boom in a post-pandemic world.”

Read below to see the airports with the longest and shortest walking distances.

Airports with the longest walks

  1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas – 2.16 miles
  2. Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia – 1.62 miles
  3. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas – 1.52 miles
  4. Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado – 1.45 miles
  5. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, New York – 1.38 miles

Airports with the shortest walks

  1. Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky – 0.11 miles
  2. Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York – 0.12 miles
  3. Harrisburg International Airport in Middleton, Pennsylvania – 0.13 miles
  4. Lihue Airport in Kauai, Hawaii – 0.18 miles
  5. Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank, California – 0.20 miles

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at kwong@usatoday.com.

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