Your UA hub rankings

Old Nov 24, 18, 7:55 am
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Your UA hub rankings

Just for fun, I wondered if folks had their own ranking of the mainland UA hubs (so excluding NRT and GUM) that they preferred. Below is my list:

1) EWR - great Polaris lounge, appreciate the ease of use of shopping/eating at the OTG restaurants. New waiting areas next to gates have lots of power & can order food. UC in Terminal A is good but the UC situation in C needs to improve
2) SFO - favorite from an in-terminal food standpoint, spacious (if aged) UC in the rotunda. Like the arrivals lounge as well
3) LAX - best domestic UC; easy to navigate; Terminal 8 is kind of wasted space right now
4) ORD - lots of UCs, decent selection of food vendors, terminals can get a bit crowded
5) DEN - spacious but almost too much so; not a heck of a lot of spots to stop in the main terminal area; UCs are showing age
6) IAH - a bit spread out; TBH is the UA hub I transit the least so have very little in terms of strong opinions
7) IAD - still in a temporary terminal 30 years later...need I say more?
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
Just for fun, I wondered if folks had their own ranking of the mainland UA hubs (so excluding NRT and GUM) that they preferred. Below is my list:

1) EWR - great Polaris lounge, appreciate the ease of use of shopping/eating at the OTG restaurants. New waiting areas next to gates have lots of power & can order food. UC in Terminal A is good but the UC situation in C needs to improve
2) SFO - favorite from an in-terminal food standpoint, spacious (if aged) UC in the rotunda. Like the arrivals lounge as well
3) LAX - best domestic UC; easy to navigate; Terminal 8 is kind of wasted space right now
4) ORD - lots of UCs, decent selection of food vendors, terminals can get a bit crowded
5) DEN - spacious but almost too much so; not a heck of a lot of spots to stop in the main terminal area; UCs are showing age
6) IAH - a bit spread out; TBH is the UA hub I transit the least so have very little in terms of strong opinions
7) IAD - still in a temporary terminal 30 years later...need I say more?
nice nutshell but a little too exuberant on EWR
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Old Nov 24, 18, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by manstein58 View Post

nice nutshell but a little too exuberant on EWR
Depending on criteria to be used, EWR can be ranked very low during bad weather and so is ORD in winter. IAD is better than EWR for handling weather related problems. I will rank DEN higher if there are improved UCs and Polaris Lounge.
Just my two cents.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 10:11 am
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IMHO - I can't make a favorite airport out of the variables. Each has plusses and minuses w/ no clear winner...

Food: IAH SFO EWR ORD LAX IAD (LAX ahead of IAD because you can reach T6 via walkway)

To/from city: EWR/ORD/SFO/DEN/CLE >> IAH/IAD/LAX (obviously I like airports that have trains)

Connection ease (just gate to gate, excl. IRROPS): LAX SFO IAH EWR/ORD/IAD

UC situation: LAX SFO ORD IAH DEN IAD

That being said, I would feel comfortable calling IAD my LEAST-FAVORITE hub.

Topic of "Favorite" and "Least Favorite" hub is perfect for a poll...
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Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Nov 24, 18 at 10:23 am
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Old Nov 24, 18, 11:30 am
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NRT was my favorite. Now: ORD > SFO > EWR > DEN > IAH > LAX > IAD. No opinion on GUM as I don't fly through there.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 11:39 am
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Picking the “best” hub is like picking which form of torture is least objectionable. I don’t like any of UA’s hubs, because despite their individual attibutes, to certain extent they all have layout problems, security issues, unpleasant employees, club issues, and access issues. None of them offer what I’d call a stress free, pleasant traveling experience.

My favorite UA airports are (in no particular order) SAN, PDX, LAS, and SAT. DCA used to be on that list until they took the pmCO gates, which are amongst the worst in the system. Which is a shame, because the UC there is rather nice.

Part of this is the lack of money and effort we put into airports in the US. We just don’t care, and it shows.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 12:40 pm
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It's funny that with all the bad rap EWR seems gets in various threads, it still manages to rank so high in this thread.
I was always partial to EWR, and thought the design was unique and well thought out. but that may be mainly due to my long history with it, and having worked on Second Street in Elizabeth, NJ going back to November 1995.

My absolute favorite thing about EWR that would easily rank it my #1 : the ability to walk form terminal to terminal, including even from the rental car lots to the terminals.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 1:03 pm
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#1 SFO. All the others are the same to me.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 1:42 pm
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1. SFO
2. DEN
3. EWR
4. ORD
5. IAH
6. LAX
7. Port a potty
8. IAD
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Old Nov 24, 18, 3:40 pm
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IAD based. My faves are solely based on likelihood of making my connection first and foremost:

worst
EWR - I avoid EWR like a communicable disease, since any turn there is immediately likely to cause me severe IRROPS risk. Esp w UAx and any small plane routing IAD-EWR-XXX-EWR-IAD. Almost no chance that gets me to ROC and back without pain.

IAD - afternoon storms again cause problems, but for O/D flights (cuz it's home) biggest gripes are loss of Global lounge, trifling gates, subway to nowhere (I always take bus, just to drive pass flight Ops). Cramped, dated, and the C/D trip to A for UX. Positive are great routes to/from Cali 10pm to/ 5pm return lets you do a full day (ish on both coasts). Europe, and PEK/NRT nonstops.

DEN/ORD/IAH
I like all of these OK. Turns have their own challenges - deicing in Den, afternoon storms in ORD/IAH have caused problems. Turns at Denver seem lowest risk cuz of layout. But for the most part these are all equal-ish for me. I turn most in IAH to add BIS miles for trancons when I have the time and inclination.

I love SFO and LAX as destinations and connections to Asia and the West. GS in La are great and regularly collect me for a ride. The two big lounges in SFO and Especially LAX are great. LAX I always get a pint glass at bar and then Coke Freestyle Diet Dr Pepper/ cherry vanilla. Plus the food at LAX is usually quite good.

NRT upstairs club is lovely for Asian connections.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 3:47 pm
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IAH/SFO - they have centurion lounges - so they are already above everything else
IAH has a Marriott in the airport, trains inside and outside of security and other than copying EWR on that god awful OTG stuff in the new C is generally pleasing at gates - Nice PL
SFO - is great unless there is fog - nice PL
DEN - nice central lounges on both ends of the gates (have only laid over here) never flown into or out of from town
ORD - if you are flying Int'l nice PL, if not - hope your are in B, cause if not don't bother with the over crowded postage stamp UC in the C gates


EWR/IAD - if there was a basement it would be too good for these excuses for airports
IAD - 1980 called and they want their nasty stained carpet back
EWR - A gates are the only thing worth a crap in this sorry excuse for a hub, UC are abysmal, pray you are flying Int'l and can use PL

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 24, 18 at 4:30 pm Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 3:58 pm
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1) DEN - great layout, great staff
2) LAX - good layout, good staff
3) IAH - it's home base and doesn't give me too many problems other than staff
4) SFO - could be higher if not for the delays, kinda weird layout, great staff
5) ORD - marginal layout, marginal staff
6) IAD - the layout is so full of stupid, at least they have great lounges for long layovers
7) EWR - what a dump, full of miserable people, and a stupid layout

DEN/LAX/IAH I'll freely/gladly connect at, SFO/ORD depends on the season (no summer for SFO, no winter for ORD), IAD is fine for connections, but I'd double connect to avoid the sEWeR.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 4:18 pm
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I'm biased in favor of SFO. It's comfortable, stylish, and easy to navigate. Except for the ATC issues, which put it at the very bottom of the list (with EWR) for flight delays.

I also like IAH. It's easy to get around and rarely delayed.

IAD is just a dump. The concourses are too small and it gets super crowded during busy periods (same at EWR and ORD).

EWR is IMO a miserable experience in virtually every possible respect - from access, to security lines, to overcrowded UCs, to packed concourses. Oh, and let's not forget the surly airport staff.

DEN I don't like the long drive from the city nor the long walks in the terminal. ORD is overcrowded and I've had too many weather delays. LAX, the only things I like are the weather and the *A lounge at TBIT.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 4:28 pm
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I realize that this likely doesn't align well with others, but from best to worst:
  1. DEN: Home airport, easy to get around, not many delays (in general), good food options if you know where to look
  2. IAD: Love access to partner lounges, generally pretty easy to get through (despite people movers and trains)
  3. SFO: Either you love it or you hate it. I generally like it and it was my home base for a while. Never had too many issues here
  4. LAX: Likely to have "gate occupied" delays, modernization effort has helped, like walkability to TBIT for *A lounge access
  5. ORD: Crowded and prone to delays, don't like having to take train between international and domestic areas (particularly when it doesn't work)
  6. IAH: Smells like fried food everywhere. Sprawling layout. Tough for connections.
  7. EWR: Unfriendly people, way too crowded, almost a guaranteed delay (particularly with any sort of weather), Terminal A (need I say more?)

Last edited by GBadger; Nov 24, 18 at 4:35 pm
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Old Nov 24, 18, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
DEN I don't like the long drive from the city nor the long walks in the terminal.
I've heard this before, but I don't get it. The drive from downtown to the airport is 25 minutes. That's on par with the drives to SFO, IAH and LAX, an shorter than the drives to IAD, ORD and EWR from the respective "downtowns". I realize that traffic can be a factor, but that's true in any of those trips.

Regarding the walks, yes, the distance can be long, but if you use the moving walkways you'd be hard-pressed to have it be more than 5-6 minutes between gates.
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