Top 15 U.S. Airports with the Best Fast Food

SAVING & SPENDING - TRAVEL
Fast food restaurants are an airport staple, thanks to their speediness and familiar flavors.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Let’s face it, air travel isn’t what it used to be. When you’re running through the airport during a tight layover, fast food can be a godsend.

Some airports are better than others when it comes to restaurant options and how long you’ll have to wait in line. So which 15 of the 60 busiest U.S. airports have the best ratio of passengers to eateries, according to data from travel site Upgraded Points?

Let’s take a closer look so you can step up your travel game.

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15. Minneapolis International Airport

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Coming in at 15 is MSP, which sees 13,983 customers per chain every day. That’s 45.3% lower than the national average, which means less time in line for you.

Options include classics like Subway, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s. There’s also a Smashburger and a Shake Shack for burger aficionados.

14. Philadelphia International Airport

Skórzewiak/Adobe plane landing in philadelphia

Next is PHL, which greets 13,808 fast-food fans at its chains daily. That’s 46% fewer folks standing in front of you.

In addition to juggernauts like Burger King, restaurants include Tony Luke’s, Geno’s Steaks, and Passyunk Steaks — where you can satisfy your Philly cheesesteak craving on the fly.

13. Albuquerque International Airport

Skórzewiak/Adobe plane landing in albuquerque usa

The 13th best airport for fast food is ABQ, which welcomes 12,916 visitors to its restaurants per day. That’s 49.5% under the country’s average.

Drop by Panda Express for a quick comfort meal, or enjoy local flavors at Comida Buena or Tia’s, which serve Southwestern fare fast.

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12. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

pict-japan/Adobe detroit metropolitan wayne county airport

Just behind ABQ is DTW, where in a day 12,859 folks frequent fast food joints — 49.7% below the pack.

Dine on chicken at Chick-fil-A and Popeyes, grab a sandwich at Subway, or get the Big Mac and fries you really want at McDonald’s.

11. Miami International Airport

Mariakray/Adobe miami international airport

Upgraded Points reports that 12,624 travelers stop at MIA’s fast food eateries, which is 50.6% below the national average.

Go with the familiar at Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, or the 24-hour Subway, or go local at Half Moon Empanadas — all made from scratch. You can’t go wrong at 305 Pizza, either.

10. Eppley Airfield

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In the #10 spot at 51.7% below the national average is OMA, where 12,347 visitors stop for fast food — and get it fast — everyday.

Grab a sub at Blimpie, burgers and root beers at A&W;, a slice at Godfather’s Pizza, or local Omaha tacos at Hugo’s Tacos.

9. Indianapolis International Airport

Chad McDermott/Adobe airport travel with luggage

At 53.4% under the U.S. average ratio of passengers to fast food joints is IND. That’s 11,908 fast foodies a day.

McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, and Starbucks are the big names here, though pre-ordering a burger from Bub’s is an option for some Hoosier flavor.

8. Pittsburgh International Airport

潔 丹野/Adobe terminal at pittsburgh airport

Only 11,115 diners patronize fast food restaurants daily at PIT, sitting comfortably at slot 8 with 56.5% fewer folks in front of you.

Stop by Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, or Starbucks. Visit PGH Pizza Co. for local pizza and Chai’s Pittsburgh Fusion for local Asian cuisine.

7. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Lost_in_the_Midwest/Adobe statue of a cowboy

Thanks to its extremely large size, DFW has a diner-to-fast-food-restaurant ratio that’s 58.6% lower than the national average.

In fact, 10,579 folks grab a to-go meal at one of DFW’s fast food establishments per day, the airport with the widest selection of any airport surveyed.

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6. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

New Media Systems/Adobe bwi airport

Coming in sixth on the list is BWI, where every day 10,413 hungry people stop at a fast food restaurant. That ratio is 59.3% lower than the U.S. average.

BWI has plenty of restaurants like Arby’s, Quiznos Subs, and two McDonald’s, as well as healthy, local options like Nalley Fresh.

5. Washington Dulles International Airport

Nate Hovee/Adobe jet age terminal building

Jumping to 62.1% below the country’s average, IAD sees just 9,692 fast foodies daily.

Tame your hunger at tons of places such as Wow Bao, Wendy’s, Extreme Pita, Jersey Mike’s, two &Pizzas;, two Chick-fil-As, two Subways, two Potbellys, four Dunkin’ Donuts, five Starbucks, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and more.

4. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

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A mere 7,940 passengers stop at CLE for a bite of fast food, putting it at 68.9% under the national average.

Grab a Jamba Juice, a burger from Shake Shack, a sandwich from Potbelly or Subway, or a yummy fusion burrito from Currito: Burritos Without Borders.

3. Ontario International Airport

oasisamuel/Adobe lester b. pearson international airport

You’ll get your fast food super fast at ONT, where 7,847 travelers grab a to-go bag daily. That’s 69.3% below the rest of the country.

Your fast food options here include Subway, Chick-fil-A, two Yo-Kai Express machines (an autonomous restaurant concept), and two Dunkin’ Donuts.

2. George Bush Intercontinental Airport

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In second place is IAH, with a ratio of 70.7% under the U.S. average. Upgraded Points reports that 7,484 folks stop for fast food during their layovers here.

Dubbed “a fast food enthusiast's paradise,” IAH has it all, from Auntie Anne’s and Jack in the Box to Wendy’s and Whataburger — and so much more!

1. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Rick Lohre/Adobe cincinnati airport aerial view

CVG is the winner, with a fast-food-restaurant-to-diner ratio that’s 72.9% below the national average. That’s 6,916 fast foodies a day placing an order with the shortest lines of all.

At “the absolute leader in fast food speed and accessibility,” enjoy Subway, Blaze Pizza, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or local favorite, Skyline Chili.

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Bottom line

Dmitry Naumov/Adobe seats and table

Running through the airport to make a 45-minute connection is never fun, but sinking your teeth into your burger and fries once you’re on the plane always makes it better.

Stopping at any of these airports means you’re likely going to be able to get that order in time. Honorable mention goes to ATL, however, for having the most overall food options in the country, with an impressive diversity of cuisines.

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

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