Agents Rank Top Airports for Business Travel

Nearly everyone likes lists. Most people (we're making a bit of an assumption here) enjoy some aspect of flying — the convenience, the free peanuts when you get them, having an empty seat next to you.

Seriosusly, flying and business are a reality for many. A nationwide survey of agents representing Travel Leaders Group identified the bests and worsts among U.S. airports for business travel. A few of the findings:

Atlanta ranks as the top preferred domestic airport if clients have a connecting flight, while Chicago O’Hare ranks as the top domestic airport to avoid if making a connection. Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson also was identified as the top airport for amenities, dining and providing the best services for business travelers; Minneapolis/St. Paul ranked second in amenities, dining, and for helping to keep kids entertained and occupied.

Best U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and agents were asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they prefer?” Respondents were allowed to choose up to three airports.
1 Atlanta 40.5%
2 Charlotte 25.2%
3 Dallas/Ft. Worth 24.3%
4 Houston Intercontinental 18.2%
5 Detroit 17.5%
6 Minneapolis/St. Paul 16.7%
7 Chicago O’Hare 14.1%
8 Phoenix 10.1%
9 Denver 8.0%
10 (tie) New York (JFK) 7.9%
10 (tie) Salt Lake City 7.9%

Worst U.S. Airports for Connecting Flights:
When asked, “If your clients are flying and need to connect through a hub airport, which hub do they try to avoid?” the top responses were as follows.  (Again, those polled were able to choose up to three different airports.)
1 Chicago O’Hare 56.3%
2 New York (JFK) 39.4%
3 Atlanta 33.0%
4 New York (LGA) 13.7%
5 Newark 12.2%
6 Miami 11.5%
7 Denver 10.3%
8 Philadelphia 10.0%
9 Dallas/Ft. Worth 9.4%
10 Los Angeles 9.1%

Top U.S. Airports for Business Travel Services:
When asked, “Which airport(s) would you and your clients say offers the best services for business travelers?” nearly 700 agents responded with the following list of Top 10 airports:
1 Atlanta 42.2%
2 Chicago O’Hare 29.8%
3 Dallas/Ft. Worth 20.5%
4 Minneapolis/St. Paul 18.3%
5 New York (JFK) 15.2%
6 Detroit 12.7%
7 Houston Intercontinental 10.3%
8 Los Angeles 9.0%
9 New York (LGA) 7.5%
10 (tie) Newark 6.3%
10 (tie) San Francisco 6.3%
10 (tie) Washington D.C. (Dulles) 6.3%

Top U.S. Airports for Amenities:
Today, airport amenities can range from spas and yoga rooms to art exhibits and putting greens. When asked, “What do you and your clients consider the top airport for amenities?” agents listed this top five:  Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Las Vegas.

The top five for dining matched the above question, with the exception of San Francisco subbing for Las Vegas at No. 5.

Finally, for top airports when traveling with kids, the winners were: Orlando,  Minneapolis/St. Paul, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth.
 

National Experts Weigh In: RTW Making a Difference

In the economic development world, Site Selection magazine is a major player. People pay attention to its annual rankings and those in the business of helping identify new company locations regard it highly.

It’s no surprise that the publication would feature a story on Indiana’s right-to-work law. And the reaction of the site selection community is expectedly strong; after all, Indiana is the first state to make the RTW move in the last 11 years.

Below are a few very encouraging quotes from the article; find it in full here.

"It changes to the positive my perception of Indiana’s business climate," writes a site consultant. "My marketplace is north Texas. I can give personal testimony that my state has attracted many relocated facilities from the Midwest for two reasons: the absence of a personal and corporate income tax and Texas’ right-to-work laws. I would expect Indiana to be able to keep more of their existing employers now rather than watch them leave for greener pastures."

Also weighing in is Robert Price, director of Atlanta-based Herron Consulting: "This issue is also closely followed overseas," he notes. "Many of our offshore clients are aware of the implications of U.S. right-to-work laws, and the significance of these laws in the site selection decision process has not waned. Some states are exhibiting greater confidence in their ability to make difficult decisions as they come to terms with the ‘new economy,’ and the change in Indiana reflects this."

"This really puts pressure on the other states in the Midwest," says site selection consultant Bob Ady, president of Mount Prospect, Ill.-based Ady International Co. "Site selection is a question of differentiation, and this is a major differentiator for Indiana and its neighboring states and throughout the Midwest."

All things being equal, would Ady steer a client to an Indiana site today — or higher up on a finalist list of Midwestern states? "Yes," he says, "though we just make recommendations. It’s up to the companies in the end. I’m working right now with an international company that is now specifically considering Indiana, where it wasn’t previously. Right-to-work has already had an impact."
 

Not All Aging is Created Equally

OK, it’s no secret that America is aging. But U.S. Census numbers reveal sharp differences in where younger populations are locating. Interesting numbers emerge from taking a close look at the recent Census counts.

Due to baby boomers “aging in place,” the population age 45 and over grew 18 times as fast as the population under age 45 between 2000 and 2010. All states and metropolitan areas are showing noticeable growth in their older and “advanced middle age” populations which, for the first time, comprise a majority of the nation’s voting-age population.

Although all parts of the nation are aging, there is a growing divide between areas that are experiencing gains or losses in their younger populations. In 28 of the 50 states, and 36 of the 100 largest metro areas, the population below age 45 declined from 2000 to 2010. Yet in 29 metro areas, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, and Atlanta, the under-45 population grew by at least 10 percent over the decade.

Areas experiencing the fastest senior (age 65+) growth are located in the Sun Belt, while areas with the highest concentrations of seniors are located primarily in Florida, the Northeast, and the Midwest. Yet baby boom generation “pre-seniors,” now just turning 65, are growing rapidly in all areas of the country due to aging in place. College towns such as Austin, Raleigh, Provo, and Madison are among those where pre-seniors are growing fastest.

Suburbs are aging more rapidly than cities with higher growth rates for their age-45-and-above populations and larger shares of seniors. People age 45 and older represent 40 percent of suburban residents, compared to 35 percent of city residents.

Metropolitan suburbs differ sharply in the degree to which they are attracting young adults and children. The suburbs of 34 metropolitan areas, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, registered declines in their child and under-45 populations in the 2000s, leaving high concentrations of “advanced middle aged” and older residents. An even larger number of cities experienced losses in these younger populations. 

Georgia Feeling Ripped by Rippers

The U.S. Chamber’s blog had an interesting post today about the problematic nature of counterfeiting and piracy and their impact on legitimate economies. Namely, it seems Georgia is especially plagued by these problems. (Is that why they call it Hot-lanta?):

The U.S. Chamber has sponsored a Gallup study which took a look at the impact of counterfeiting and piracy in Atlanta. The survey found that nearly 1 in 5 consumers have purchased an illicit product in the past year; 41 percent in the 18-24 age group have purchased an illicit product in that period; more than 80 percent say the ability to easily obtain them influenced their purchase decision; and a majority greatly underestimate the economic impact of these crimes. Despite the high incidence of these crimes, a vast majority of respondents favor tougher laws and penalties against these crimes.

The prevalence of counterfeiting and piracy in Atlanta should alarm consumers, the business community, and governments alike. Where these crimes exist, consumer health and safety, workers’ jobs, companies’ reputations, and government revenues are at stake. 

Regarding the 1 in 5 consumers part, that’s not surprising. In fact, consider me guilty as charged. But the only reason I purchased that bootlegged street copy of "You Don’t Mess with the Zohan" was that I simply could not wait until its official DVD release. What’s a guy to do?

Beijing Olympics Serve as Educational Tool

Catching bits and pieces of Olympic television coverage (and who couldn’t watch at least a little on any of the many "family" of NBC networks) over the weekend prompts the following:

  • I consider myself a fairly intelligent 45-year-old who pays attention to what goes on around him. But who knew there really were 205 countries eligible to participate in these Olympic Games. Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, both different from Papua New Guinea? Mauritania and Mauritius? Where are Comoros and Turkmanistan? Maybe our children going back to school in this and coming weeks could gain a world history lesson.
  • The U.S. is certainly guilty in other areas, but a $300 million price tag for the opening ceremonies? Think of the other ways some of that money could have been spent.
  • There is a rule in place that gymnastics (maybe all) competitors have to be at least 16 years old. Most of the Chinese female gymnasts, however, appear to have been babies during the 1996 Atlanta Games rather than the 1992 event in Barcelona.
  • That said, the Games are capitivating. It’s not just national pride, but watching the underdogs, from wherever, competing against the big countries is what it’s all about.
  • Michael Phelps might erase former IU Hoosier Mark Spitz from the record book, but 41-year-old Dara Torres swimming — and successfully — against women half her age is truly amazing.
  • This is supposed to be about business. So, we’ll end with no matter what you think about China and its politics, rest assured that the country will continue to grow in prominence and in its place in the international business world.

Also, read the China Business Review’s take on the overall impact the Olympics will have on Beijing and the nation.