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Atlanta airport wins most top rankings in business travel survey

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is the best airport for business travelers to make a connection and get good food and helpful amenities, a survey says.

February 04, 2013|By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles International Airport was ranked eighth among best airports for business traveler services in a survey of 930 travel agents, managers and others who book travel for Travel Leaders Group, one of the nation’s largest travel companies. Above, LAX's Terminal 1 in December.
Los Angeles International Airport was ranked eighth among best airports… (Mark Boster, Los Angeles…)

The busiest airport in the world, serving nearly 2,500 landings and departures a day, has been ranked as the best airport for business travelers to make a connection and get good food and helpful amenities.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport won most of the top rankings in a survey of 930 travel agents, managers and others who book travel for Travel Leaders Group, one of the nation's largest travel companies.

Los Angeles International Airport was ranked eighth among best airports for business traveler services.

Airport features business travelers look for include good wireless Internet access, ample places to recharge a phone or laptop battery, on-site conference rooms, comfortable lounges and plenty of food choices, said Kathy Gerhardt, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis travel company.

The Atlanta airport has all of those features, and then some, said Louis E. Miller, general manager of aviation at the airport.

For example, the 130-acre terminal has 125 eateries, plus about 90 retail outlets, a pet bathroom area and a business that rents travelers small rooms with daybed sofas for a quick nap. "It's like a city here," Miller said.

On an average day, about 250,000 travelers shuffle in and out of the airport, and 95% of them are simply making a connection to another destination.

But Gerhardt said the sheer size of the airport may explain why Atlanta came in third in a separate survey question asking business travelers to rank the worst airports to make a connection. Chicago's O'Hare International and New York's John F. Kennedy International airports were first and second, respectively.

"Even I still get nervous making connections in Atlanta despite being through there a million times," she said.

Moscow hotels ranked priciest

For the ninth consecutive year, Moscow hotels ranked as the most expensive in the world for business travelers, followed by Lagos, Nigeria, and New York City.

The ranking, based on an annual survey by Hogg Robinson Group, a travel, expense and data management firm in Britain, concluded that hotel rates around the globe grew an average of 1.4% last year, compared with a 1% increase in 2011.

(In the U.S., hotel rates jumped 4.2% in 2012, to an average of $106 a night, according to STR, formerly known as Smith Travel Research.)

But business travelers on a tight budget might want to stay clear of Moscow, where a room last year cost a whopping average of $414 a night, according to Hogg Robinson Group. A hotel stay last year cost $361 a night in Lagos and $350 a night in New York, according to the survey.

The cheapest hotel rates among major business centers were in Hyderabad, in southeast India, where rates dropped to about $140 last year from about $162 in 2011, according to Hogg Robinson Group.

American Airlines to get new look

The future of American Airlines is still unclear. Will it merge with U.S. Airways of Tempe, Ariz., or try to go it alone when it exits bankruptcy in the next few weeks?

But whatever happens in Bankruptcy Court, the Fort Worth carrier will definitely have a new look.

This month, American unveiled a new logo and livery, featuring a silver mica color for its planes and red, white and blue stripes on the tails.

The airline also announced recently that new uniforms worn by its crews will be created by the same designers who made dresses for celebrities such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston.

American has hired designers Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco to make the newest uniforms for the airline in more than 20 years. The new outfits will be rolled out in 18 to 24 months.

The uniforms probably won't be as flashy or expensive as the KaufmanFranco gowns worn by Eva Longoria or Christina Aguilera, but the airline's flight attendants are still excited about the prospects.

"We've been in the same uniforms for a long, long time, and having met with the design team, I am convinced that they will bring us up to date with a stunning and practical look," said Laura Glading, president of the Assn. of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 17,000 flight attendants at American Airlines.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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