Santa Barbara Ranked In Top 5 West Coast Airports

While East Coast airports expeirence bad weather, long delays, and close regional proximity, West Coast airports have plenty to offer those looking for love and romance

Airports are a great place to meet other singles. And making a ‘hot connection’ before — or between flight connections — is now easier than ever. With so much wasted time due to flight delays (in some cases, 20-30% of flights are delayed), sitting alone at the bar or eating junk food is no longer the best option: has arrived on time.

Can it be love at first flight? Well, maybe not. But does allow our members a free and exciting way to spend their terminal time a bit more wisely.

Which Airports Are Best?

Not all airports were created equal. Especially when it comes to atmosphere and entertainment. Our survey of East Coast airports emphasized poor weather and long delays. With West Coast weather being downright awesome, we needed to look at intangibles like atmosphere much more than East Coast airports.

The larger airports tend to have lousy on-time departure records, and that’s a good thing — more time to mix and mingle. That also means that larger airports tend to have more social amenities, restaurants and bars (and we’re not just talking about a Starbucks at each terminal). There are also some intangibles like extraordinary amenities that move some airports to the front of the line. If we include Yelp reviews, it helps to paint a more accurate picture of the best airports to let romance take flight (I’ll try to keep the puns to a minimum).

North Miami-based — an online site that promises “you’ll never be bored at the airport again” — has researched a wide range of airports throughout the country — along with a survey of 80k members (response rate: 25%) — and identifies the Top 5 West Coast Airports that offer the best chance of making a “hot connection” with fellow travelers; but we also considered other variables and considerations like nearby attractions, special amenities, entertainment and more.

Considerations include the following criteria: (1) airport size (can mean longer delays); (2) the number and quality of food options, bar establishments, entertainment venues and social amenities; (3) the average Yelp ratings based on public reviews; (4) intangible considerations like extraordinary amentities or rare demographic groups; and, (5) our internal survey of member responses to the question: Which airport do you feel has given you the best opportunity to meet strangers of the opposite sex?

Here is our Top 5 List, based on these overall considerations:

#1: Los Angeles International Airport: Out-of-This-World Experience

Welcome to La La Land. Ranked as the 6th busiest airport in the world, with 62 million passengers annually, LAX is the largest in the West. Nearby airports, including Bob Hope Airport, John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Airport and Palm Springs International Airport pale in comparison. In addition to its size, Encounter, the iconic LAX restaurant that looks like something out of an intergalactic sci-fi movie, also includes a futuristic Cocktail Lounge with some of the best signature martinis in town, including Ultra Lounge (classicwith Ketel One vodka), The Jet Set (Bombay Sapphire, Campari and sweet vermouth) and The Cosmos (Absolut Cosmopolitan). Symbolized by the landmark building’s space-like exterior, the restaurant’s other-worldly features include moonstone quarry walls and a crater-shaped bar with bar guns that emit laser lights and futuristic sound effects. [reservations: (310) 215-5151].

While the airport only earns 2.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, with more than 1,900 total reviews, LAX does boast free Wi-Fi and a ton of shops and amenities. The good news is that the airport has it’s share of delays, which is a good thing for those looking to hook up. Our survey revealed that LAX was identified as a great place to meet people from all over the world, and the Encounter was prominently featured by many of our respondents as a unique hang-out destination. While the airport offers eight Starbucks, it’s much more — with Los Angeles-themed restaurants, including Pink’s Hot Dogs, Gladstone’s 4 Fish, L.A. Roadhouse Route 66, Malibu Al’s Beach Bar and Sam Adams’ Taste of L.A. Welcome to La La Land.

#2: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport: Gamble on a Hookup: Quick, name another airport where you can lose your money gambling before your flight. Our members had three things to say about McCarran: gambling, gambling, gambling. As the principal airport serving Las Vegas, the airport is only 5 miles south of downtown Vegas. Small, covering only 2,800 acres, the airport ranked #22 in the world for passenger traffic, with almost 40 million passengers annually. The small airport does offer some decent Southwest fare for the foodie in you, including Don Alejandro’s Texas Grill and Moe’s Southwest Grill, featuring sit-down menus before entering security. Bottom line: McCarran boasts more than 1,225 slot machines throughout the airport terminals. There are even slot machines at the baggage claim. With 3.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, with more than 1,400 reviews, it’s not much of a gamble for a great hook up (although it may be an expensive one).

If things work out, you can take the party 5 miles to the heart of Sin City. Talk about doubling-down?

#3: Reno-Tahoe International Airport: Sun, Fun, Gaming: For many of the same reasons Las Vegas McCarran Airport ranks in the Top 5, Reno-Tahoe International is located just three miles southeast of Reno. Ranked as the #2 busiest airport in Nevada, after McCarran, It is also the closest airport to the vacation and ski resort destination of Lake Tahoe. Filled with skiiers, snowboarders, vacationers and gamblers, what’s not to like about this airport for hookups? The airport celebrated 75 years of service in November 2003. Over the last 10 years, more than $70 million has been put into modernizing and expanding the airport, and is ranked as one of the top airports in the nation for increasing service rapidly.

With 3.5 out of 5 starts on Yelp’s 151 reviews, the majoirty of’s members mentioned the flow of a fun crowd of snow bunnies, vacationers and the more than 200 gaming machines, including 18 Nickel Slots, 67 Penny Slots, 36 Quarter Slots, 22 Dollar Slots and much more.

#4: Honolulu International Airport: Getting Lei’d: One of the busiest airports in the United States, more than 21 million passengers pass through annually. The principal hub of Hawaiian Airlines, the largest Hawaii-based airline, it also serves Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, Philippines and Japan — some of the most beautiful women in the world. With a beautiful, lush garden area, couples can enjoy a quiet walk or just work on a quick tan. And there’s no rush. Ever heard of “Island Time”? Well, it applies at the airport, as well. With 3 out of 5 Yelp stars, expect everything to run just a little slower than normal, and that’s a good thing for our purposes. Our members favorite feature? The lush garden and the variety of options for passengers waiting for their flights. Some of these options include free Hawaiian entertainment in the lobby, the Cultural Gardens, and the various art and exhibits located throughout the terminal.

#5: Santa Barbara Airport: Quaint Beauty: The airport itself is eye candy. With less than one million passengers annually, and only 43 daily flights, Santa Barbara Airport is one of California’s hidden gems for airport hookups. With its red tile roof, winding stairway and Mediterranean design, the airport is one of the most beautiful in the West. You might even mistake the terminal building for a boutique hotel. Half of the airport’s acreage is welands preserve. For those younger folks, keep in mind that it’s adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara. This airport wasn’t mentioned often by our members, as it is the smallest on the list, but we also considered its 4 out of 5 Yelp rating, as well as its beautiful location and recently restored Earle Ovington Terminal. It’s proximity to some of the most beautiful wine country in California ain’t bad either.

More About and Airport Dating

Since media attention by The New York Times in December 2012, the website jumped to about 70,000 members from countries including the United States, Mexico and Germany. The brain-child of CEO Steve Pasternack, the idea for the site was born when a delayed flight left him stranded at Miami Airport: “I noticed a lot of people at the bar looking for something to do, and I thought it’d be great if I could get them to meet each other.”

Are airport rendezvous the next thing? Well, Rachel Greenwald, dating strategist and New York Times bestselling author of the book “Have Him at Hello,” told CNN that niche dating sites have “become increasingly specialized in the last five years or so” and “many young professionals in their 20s and 30s are constantly traveling as they build their careers …so airport dating could be very efficient.”


The first dating website whereby users connect using their flight details, is quickly taking off with travelers who are looking for love or other interesting connections at hubs all around the world. The niche platform is a pioneering dating and social networking website that connects travelers at airports. Since being featured on CNN, FOX-TV, The New York Times and others, has surpassed 80,000 members.


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