There are few parts of travelling worse than sitting in the airport, waiting for your plane to take off. From the stuffy, recycled air, to the usually low quality and always overpriced food, airports are one of the worst things in any travel agenda, a necessary evil that plagues even the best-scheduled itinerary.

But, as it turns out, not all airports were created equally. Indeed, some are much, much better than others, leading us to list, below, the 5 best airports in the country, places that may not be destinations in-and-of-themselves but will certainly soothe some of your travelling woes.

5. Nashville International Airport

One of the larger airports on the list, Nashville gets points for maintaining a high on-time arrival/departure score without sacrificing size or style. This relatively recent behemoth boasts three concourses replete with food courts, play areas, and shopping centers, the perfect place to relax after a hectic connection or a difficult flight. Plus, the steady stream of piped-in country music will make sure you never forget which city you're staying in.

4. Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport

While flights into Minneapolis are more often delayed than their compatriots (a product, no doubt, of the blustering, snowy winters the twin cities are known for), this airport gets bonus points for the sheer Midwestern charm it exudes. From the shopping and eating facilities (some of the best in any airport in the country), to the children's play-areas complete with replicas of planes and control towers, a layover in Minneapolis can be, dare-I-say fun, an anomaly that certainly ranks it among the best airports in the country.

3. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

If there's one thing that's great about the Austin airport, it's the atmosphere. From real, Texas-style barbecue, to the presence of local chains in the terminals, to the unmatched quantity of live-music, the Austin airport has the best vibe in the country, a place that totally represents the local character residents know so well. The high on-time rate is also a plus, ensuring that your stay in Austin is not only enjoyable, but also brief.  

2. Salt Lake City International Airport

Recently ranked as the best airport in the country for on-time departures, Salt Lake City earns most of its points in efficiency and punctuality. But those points are nothing to scoff at. On the contrary, flights leaving from Salt Lake City last year departed on-time just under 90% of the time, with arrivals following close-behind at an 88.6% ratio. In other words, while this airport might be otherwise unremarkable, their unmatched ability to get you in and out in a hurry places it as one of the best in the nation.

1. Portland International Airport

And, the best airport in the country, the perfect combination of food, ambience, and timeliness, goes to Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, one of the coolest, highest quality, and most efficient places in the country. From its new, cutting-edge architectural design to the spacious, comfortable interior, Portland keeps you waiting in style, making sure all of its passengers-to-be are happy before their big flight. The on-time arrival/departure score is also high (the second best in the country, in fact), providing just another reason to travel here. In other words, because of the excellent balance it strikes between beauty and efficiency, Portland is the best airport in the country, one every traveler should make a point to stop through in the upcoming year.