The Ultimate List of Best-to-Worst Wisconsin Airports

Written by Justin Sexton
Published: September 26, 2023
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Aerial photograph of the Chippewa River Damn with Lake Wissota in the distance in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin

Aerial photograph of the Chippewa River Damn with Lake Wissota in the distance in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin.

©Matthew A Reddy/

What pops up in people’s minds when they think of Wisconsin? The closing segment of That’s 70s Show with the phrase “Hello Wisconsin!!!”? Maybe. Wisconsin is the home of many different things. The Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned sports franchise. Their self-named non-profit organization allows fans to have partial shares of the team. Aside from football, they have pro baseball and basketball teams like the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks and their baseball team, The Brewers.

Outside of sports, Wisconsin is known for being the home of dairy products and brews. They produce roughly twenty-five percent of the dairy products across the country. People always fly out to visit the sports attractions, their two hundred different breweries, two of the four great lakes in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, and the twenty-two Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. This list will cover eight Wisconsin Airports from best to worst. The airports will be ranked from best to worst at the end of the article.

Appleton International Airport

The small hub of an airport is located in Greensville, Wisconsin. Appleton International Airport was first opened in 1965. Nowadays, Appleton is the third busiest airport in the state. The airport is the home to Midwest Airlines and the privately owned airline company, Air Wisconsin. One of the main reasons that the airport is busy is that Appleton is close to the home of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. There is another airport on the list that’s closer to the Packers field, keep reading to see which airport it is.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

Many reviews of Appleton Airport tell potential flyers that the airport is one of the cleanest in the state. The airport has a beautiful wall of plants that provide a natural art scene to the industrial hub. It’s a great airport for Packers fans to go to as Appleton is thirty-six minutes away from the football stadium.

Although there are only four airlines at Appleton, they are relatively popular airlines to fly on. Those airlines are Delta, United, Allegiant, and American Airlines.

There is plenty of parking at the airport and a friendly rental car customer system. It’s super easy to understand the terminal directions in the airport to find your flight. The airport Wi-Fi is fast and efficient.

Room For Improvement

Customers who fly with Southwest, Alaska Airlines, and even Spirit wouldn’t be able to visit the airport unless they use one of the four airlines mentioned in “The Positives’ section of the Appleton Airport review. There aren’t too many food court options compared to the other major airports in Wisconsin. However, they have a good amount of vending machines available.

The most notable complaint about the airport is the time it takes to handle luggage after arrival. Some people cited that they waited over thirty minutes to get their luggage. A flight delay can affect the flow of the airport greatly since there are only four different airlines available. There are also a total of seven gates at the airport. Appleton DOES NOT fly internationally; they only fly domestically.

Green Bay Austin Straubel International

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Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport is located in the Metropolitan Green Bay area. It’s the fourth busiest airport out of the eight commercial airports in the state. The airport has two concourses with six gates each.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

Packers fans rejoice! The Austin Straubel International Airport is only eleven minutes away from the legendary Lambeau Field. Due to its convenience for the franchise, it garnered the nickname of “The Gateway to Lambeau.”

Austin Straubel is larger than Appleton International and provides five airlines compared to their four. The five airlines are Delta, United, Frontier, Sun County Airlines, and American Airlines. Austin Straubel DOES fly internationally. They have people fly out to London, Canada, Tokyo, and other locations.

They have also added new electrical outlets and upgraded their amenities to provide even greater service for their customers. Their TSA service is quick and efficient on most days outside of fans leaving Packers games. Outside of football season, the airport is not busy. People can show up on the hour of their flight and won’t miss their flights.

Room for Improvement

During football season, the airport can be VERY busy. Unless you’re a Packers fan, the stores don’t have much merch outside of the football team. Green Bay’s airport food court options are severely limited.

A minor drawback is their parking. Albeit the parking lot is close, the harsh winters can cover cars in snow. Therefore, making it inconvenient for people who do not want to brush a copious amount of snow off their cars.

Central Wisconsin Airport

HELLO WISCONSIN!!! The Central Wisconsin Airport is located in Moisnee, WI. Moisnee is directly in central Wisconsin. It’s an hour and a half from Lambeau Field, two hours from the city of Madison, and two and a half hours from Milwaukee. Central Wisconsin is located three and a half miles away from their business district, so it’s very convenient for people who are flying in for major business meetings.

It also serves as a hub for many tourists to fly into the state for several attractions. The airport is ten miles from the Granite Peak Ski Area and several parks. The airport opened in 1969 as a way to serve as a commercial airport between Wausau and Stevens Point.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

The airport has a popular bar that’s constantly busy. Hey, Wisconsin is known for its brews. The car rental office is in a separate building but it is near the gates. Central has a good rental system that people use to drive cars to Minnesota. Many travelers appreciated the modernity of the airport. Although it’s smaller compared to the other previous airports on this list, they have more quality food options. Their staff does a great job in ensuring their travelers with great customer service whenever flights are delayed or canceled due to inclement weather.

Room For Improvement

There are only three airlines available: Delta, Avelo, and American Airlines. One thing to note is that Unless you fly using those airline companies, there’s no point in looking into Central Wisconsin as an airport to fly into. There were negative issues about their Wi-Fi as some customers had to pay for the Wi-Fi. Central Wisconsin only does domestic flights

Chippewa Valley Regional Airport

The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport is located in Western Wisconsin. It opened its airways in 1929 and serves as an alternate landing space for flights bound for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

It’s a helpful airport that serves as a connecting airport to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. They also fly out to Fort Meyers, Las Vegas, and Orlando. The flights are extremely cheap as well. Their shuttle service is easy and efficient to use.

Room For Improvement

There is only one type of airline provider that flies out of Chippewa and that’s Sun Country Airlines. Another complaint from past guests has been the customer service. The airport isn’t dog-friendly or pet-friendly. Numerous reports were made about how difficult it can be to get refunds from the airport if needed.

Dane County Regional Airport

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Just six miles northeast of downtown Madison, the Dane County Regional Airport is the second busiest airport in the state of Wisconsin. With almost a century-long history, Dane County Regional provides plenty of natives and visitors with a plethora of experiences to make their arrival or departure a great one. It has sixteen gates on one concourse. Construction is going on in the airport to make it look better on the inside. Dane County is also home base to three cargo companies.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

So far in this list, Dane County provides the most airlines. Some of their carriers include Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Air France, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Sun Country Airlines, and many more.

They also offer free Wi-Fi and EV (electric vehicle) charging stations. It’s also easy to navigate the airport as it’s another small airport in the state. There are plenty of stores compared to the other airports on the list for travelers to get some souvenirs. Not to mention, the stores are open until 9 PM at night. The rental car lines are directly in front of baggage claim, making it easy to either pick up or return the rental. The ride-share pickup spots for Uber and Lyft are easy to find as well.

For a small airport, it’s spacious for travelers. Visitors can people watch, read, take a nap, and more without feeling like they’re in a crowded airport. It’s a great airport for people who don’t want to drive to Miluwakee to fly out of Wisconsin. Parking is relatively cheap at six dollars per day if one chooses economy parking.

Room For Improvement

There is a growing need for more food spots in the airport. Not only that, there is a lack of electrical charging outlets. There aren’t many direct flights since O’Hare airport is near it. It is a solid airport for Southwest Wisconsin natives who don’t want to make the trek down to Chicago for a flight. There can be recurring Wi-Fi issues, but it is free. At least people won’t waste money on possibly terrible service if they go to this airport.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

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This special airport is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The airport opened its gates in 1920 and was renamed the airport after fellow Milwaukee World War II Brigadier General Billy Mitchell. Milwaukee Mitchell has two concourses with thirty-eight gates. The airport is located in Southeast Wisconsin off Lake Michigan and just north of Illinois.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

They have free Wi-Fi for it being an active airport. There are EV Charging stations for electric vehicles. An advantage they have over the other airports is the variety of airlines they have. Some of the airline carriers they have are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Allegiant Airlines, Sun Country, Southwest, Spirit, Air Canada, and United Airlines.

A huge plus is that Milwuakee Mitchell has over one hundred sixty international destinations that travelers can fly to. An additional plus to the airport is that they offer direct flights to several cities.

Although the lounging situation could be better, they have a good amount of food places and stores to check out. However, a unique solution they have for that. There are Adirondack chairs positioned in a certain part of the airport so travelers can sit and enjoy all the planes flying in and out of the site.

Milwaukee offers nice rentals that run on gas and electricity. They have a smooth process to get a rental and return it back.

Room For Improvement

Parking is a bit pricier compared to the other airports on the list. Their economy price is eight dollars a day. During the start of the Great Resignation in 2022, the airport became short-staffed. Hence, there can be delays with check-ins and security. Most days there aren’t humans at the parking garages for assistance. Make sure to have your credit/debit card with you or it’ll be a hassle to leave the parking garage.

La Crosse Regional Airport

La Crosse Regional Airport is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It’s a relatively small airport that only serves that area of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. They help connect flights to airports in the region.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

La Crosse has many different amenities from a kids’ play area, service pet areas, and several food courts. They’re known for super friendly customer service. It’s a quaint airport that helps customers make the most of their experiences.

Room For Improvement

They’re limited in the number of flight services. La Crosse only does domestic flights. They help connect flights to the O’Hare airport out in Chicago, Illinois through American Airlines.

Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport

This northern Wisconsin airport is located two miles from the city of Rhinelander. It’s a relatively slow airport and it’s the only airport in Wisconsin not to have Air Traffic Control.

The Positives Of This Wisconsin Airport

They help connect Delta flights to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. They have friendly customer service and their security is quick with checking luggage.

Room For Improvement

They don’t hold any other flight carrier aside from Delta. Their food options could be better as the options are minimal.

Best-To-Worst Wisconsin Airports Summary

1Milwaukee Mitchell International AirportMilwaukee, WI
2Dane County Regional AirportMadison, WI
3Green Bay Austin Straubel InternationalGreen Bay, WI
4Appleton International AirportGreensville, WI
5Central Wisconsin AirportMoisnee, WI
6Chippewa Valley Regional AirportEau Claire, WI 
7La Crosse Regional AirportLa Crosse, WI
8Rhinelander-Oneida County AirportRhinelander, WI

The last two airports on the list are connecting airports to two other airports. That’s why they’re ranked where they are at. Chippewa Valley Regional Airport is ranked sixth because it only has one airline available. Yet they fly out to a couple of different locations. Central Wisconsin only has three airline carriers compared to the top four on the list, so that’s why Central Wisconsin is the fifth best.

Appleton has four airlines, which places them at fourth. A major influence in the rankings is the number of airline carriers the airports have. The Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport doesn’t fly internationally, and because of that, the name can be very misleading for potential customers.

The top two airports are very interchangeable. The Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is popular enough for people to drive from Chicago to fly there due to being less busy than the O’Hare Airport in the Windy City. The Dane County Regional Airport has plenty of amenities as if they’re a larger airport along with slightly cheaper parking than Milwaukee Mitchell (six dollars versus eight dollars). Both airports offer international flights, so that’s a plus.

One thing to note with all the airports on this list is to be understanding of delays and cancellations during the fall and winter seasons. The much smaller airports do get impacted more by delays than the larger airports, but it’s important to understand what they can and cannot control to provide the best service.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © csillamaroti/

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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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