You may have noticed (although I doubt it) that this blog seldom links to rankings or surveys by various magazines or other groups about favorite airlines, hotels or airports. There's a good reason for that: trustworthiness. Consumer Reports surveys of readers on auto reliability are one thing, because they are very large samples of a diverse universe. But even the CR surveys have what many experts on scientific surveying see as a potentially fatal flaw: They are a self-selected group, not a true random sample of all travelers. And in the case of today's report that PHL is ranked third-worst airport in the country, consider who would be in the self-selected group: Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, which represents the "1 percent" of travelers and everyone else, if any publication ever did.
That said, maybe the T+L readers are right. Some employees of airlines, other companies and the TSA at PHL ARE surly, just as they are all over town. If you've flown in and out of the other 25 airports in the survey in the last year, you're qualified to join the magazine's readers in saying which are best and worst. Perhaps other airports really have improved significantly over the years.
In the meantime, US Airways proudly reported in a news release today that almost 91 percent of its flights in April were on time, and that follows the airline's best first-quarter perfomance ever. US Airways' executives determined a few years ago, when it and PHL really were among the worst in their categories, that one key to profitability was running a good airline. The airline is making money now, and by objective standards running a good airline. Maybe T+L readers just haven't tried US recently.