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For so many, their first encounter with Austin culture is our airport, and that’s good by us. After all, we know that Austin’s airport rocks! In fact, Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) as the fifth-best airport in the country, out of nearly 16,000. We may be used to topping a lot of lists these days, but just getting on a list for the top five airports is really something!

Photo: Flickr user Duane_Brown, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Duane_Brown, creative commons licensed.

Here’s our competition:

  1. Portland International Airport (Oregon)
  2. Tampa International Airport (Florida)
  3. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  4. Dallas Love Field
  5. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Unfortunately, ABIA dropped from 3rd place in 2013… But there’s always next year. Maybe we can even knock Portland off their high horse. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Travel + Leisure readers were asked to rate airports on these five categories: location/access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping and design. With this criteria, it’s easy to see why ABIA ranked so highly.

Aside from a little traffic on Highways 71 and 183, drivers can get onto the airport property easily. Another plus: Security. ABIA has three security checkpoints that always seem to move faster than most other national hubs.

The food options are also crucial. Airports should represent their cities, and ABIA totally nails Austin’s spirit, at least in food. You can get Salt Lick barbecue in our airport, and in the mornings breakfast tacos are just a short walk from anywhere in the terminal. Of course, there’s a couple shops full of all the Austin ephemera you could possibly ask for. Travelers are bound find something Weird to stuff in their carry-on bags.

Of course, ABIA is also decked out with art everywhere, just like our city. There are even custom graphics on the baggage claim carousels here, and that leaves a great first impression on out-of-town visitors to our city.

What do you love about Austin’s airport? Let us know in the comments below.
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Photo: Flickr user Aaron Escobar, creative commons licensed.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said ABIA was ranked 3rd in 2014.

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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