PIT Climbs to No. 5 on T+L List of Top 10 Domestic Airports

And yes, trolls, we’re still building a new terminal  

By Alyson Walls

Published July 12, 2018

Read Time: 2 mins


With new flights, concessions, amenities and a fresh approach to getting things done, Pittsburgh International Airport is racking up national and international props.

This week, PIT landed at No. 5 on Travel+Leisure’s 2018 list of Top 10 Domestic Airports, up from the No. 8 spot in 2016. This year, we bumped Austin from atop their weird perch. And watch out PDX, we’re coming for you and your funky carpet next!

To the more-informed-than-anyone online trolls who constantly question why, in spite of all these awards, we would be building a new modern terminal: Duh, we want to be No. 1! Have you seen No. 2 Indianapolis?

The awards and accolades we have received are not due to the current state of our 26-year-old facilities, which were built for a different time and aviation structure, and in dire need of updates. (Ask anyone about our cramped security checkpoints or the vast stretches of empty gates). All of those needs are addressed in the Terminal Modernization Program.

As noted by T+L readers, travelers are increasingly gravitating toward destinations and experiences with a strong sense of place. Along with customer service, that’s what we’ve been focusing on for the past three years. It is evident in new shops, artwork and restaurants throughout the Airside Terminal, and in an overall philosophy that will remain intact throughout modernization, even if the Landside Terminal does not.

Travelers also are looking for standout cultural and entertainment offerings. This summer, we expanded our Performing Arts Series featuring local musicians to two days per week in the Center Core, and have been frequently rotating artwork to showcase more regional artists, local museums and other cultural amenities.

Now about that No. 1 airport. Travelers said Portland International excelled in bringing together a seamless curb-to-plane experience, standout local vendors and a community-minded sensibility. As one reader put it: “Where else can you sample local liquors, watch free short films, peruse Pendleton blankets, and enjoy a rotating art exhibit before a flight?”

OK, OK, that’s good stuff. PIT might not have free movies or Pendleton blankets (whatever they are), but we’re solid on the other amenities. We’re not calling you on the carpet just yet, PDX, but we’re gaining a foothold, and No. 1 is certainly within reach.

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