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These Major Airports Are Bringing Travelers Closer to God One Layover at a Time

Travelers searching for a place to pray in hectic airports are in luck – as the majority of large-hub airports have dedicated chapels.

Sixty percent of the largest U.S. airport hubs host dedicated chapels, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center.

Of the 30 large hubs that qualified as “large” in 2013, 18 — 60 percent — have chapels or prayer rooms. The list of “large” hubs ranged from the nation’s busiest, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which saw more than 45 million boardings in 2013, to Portland International Airport (PDX), which saw nearly 7.5 million boardings in 2013.

“Our count only includes those airports the Federal Aviation Administration classifies as a ‘large hub,’” the Pew Research Center said in a press release. “These are airports that handle 1 percent or more of the nation’s annual passenger boardings.”

The 12 large-hub airports that do not have worship space are some of the nation’s most important and busiest airports, the research organization said. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) were among the “large” hubs without places of worship.

The Pew Research Center noted that four of the 18 major airports with chapels offer no formal services, while the rest hold at least one type of organized worship. Many airports offer more than one kind of service, including Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), which holds weekly Catholic Mass, Protestant worship and Christian prayer services, as well as daily Jewish and Muslim prayer services.

While most airport chapels are interfaith spaces, some airports provide areas for specific religious groups. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has four designated places of worship: a Catholic church, a Protestant chapel, a mosque and a synagogue. JFK’s synagogue is purported as the sole one in a major airport in North and South America.

Logan International Airport (BOS) opened the first U.S. airport chapel, Our Lady of the Airways, 60 years ago.

Washington-based Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.

[Photo: iStock]


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