Boarded a plane last night and now am in Atlanta. I had one stop over in LaGuardia, NYC. Now I feel qualified to rate airports.
In my former job, I was required to fly a lot. I have been in many airports. I believe I have hit all the major domestic ones; Chicago's O'Hare, Atanta's Hartsfield, Boston's Logan, LA's LAX, San Francisco's SFO, Dallas- Fort Worth, San Diego, Denver and now LaGuardia. Ok, that's the majority of my airport travels. If I left out a major airport like JFK, it probably means I haven't been there.
My judging is unfair, I think, 'cause some of these airports I have only been transient in. O'Hare is one of my favorite airports. Yet, I have only transferred planes in O'Hare. Never had to wait on security lines or deal with parking etc... DFW, is my least favorite and have only transferred planes there.
I do judge all airports on the brightness and cleanliness of the waiting areas. I also judge on bathrooms and shops. O'Hare becomes another favorite of mine for these reasons. Maybe not the cleanest of the bunch but there are bathrooms every couple of gates. The bathrooms are all automatic. Seatcovers on the toilets automatically rotate with a wave of the hand in front of the sensor. Shops are also every couple of gates. Can get Advil, coffee, and a bagel with little walking. DFW is too dingy for me. I hate the train from terminal to terminal.
I find it strange that there is no standard among security. For instance in Orange County's John Wayne airport, there are foot sensors there that test if your shoe will set off the alarm. At LaGuardia, they look at the width of your shoes to see if you should take them off. In Boston, if your shoes are tennis shoes you most likely do not have to take the shoes off. LAX you have to take them off - no question.
Maybe it depends on your TSA agent.
At Logan, Boston, a TSA agent was deciding whether they should confiscate a plastic toy I was bringing to a friend's child. The toy was held in the box with plastic ties. There where no sharp edges or objects on the toy even a plastic knife, sword, etc. The TSA agent searched it for what seemed 10 minutes and in reality was maybe two. When he finally gave me back the toy, another agent came over from another security station and made a crack that I shouldn't be allowed to have it.
However, Boston's TSA agents missed a metal file attached to my finger nail clippers and LAX's picked them up and confiscated them.
A girl and I were talking in LAX about what TSA agents do with all the things they confiscate. The girl I was talking to was a smoker and had her lighter confiscated numerous times. She indicated one lighter was rather valuable. We both agreed someone probably divvied up the good stuff and the rest was thrown away.
In Atlanta there are smoking booths inside the terminal / gate areas. Are matches any more safe than lighters?