Whenever someone starts talking about the "good ol' days" of air travel, remind them about eating at old school airports.
Back then, a meal at the airport meant horsing down a candy bar from the gift shop and wrestling with a vending machine for a can of soda.
Nowadays, large, medium and even some smaller airports provide legitimately good restaurants, with enough interesting offerings and atmosphere to make that three-hour layover just a little less hellish.
There's still room for culinary upgrades - as noted below, some airports haven't yet figured out that sitting on planes makes us hungry and irritable - but the best places to eat in the country's busiest airports (ranked by passenger traffic, per FAA statistics) generally range from good to great.
Discover the "Best eats at the 20 busiest U.S. airports" on CNN Travel.