I got lucky enough to go through the top two busiest airports a couple times in this last week. Oh boy. As far as I can see, they are textbook examples of how not to have an inviting airport.
So, without further adieu...
1. The MAX train that comes right into the airport. With MAX, you can easily get downtown or a number of other destinations.
2. Parking in the economy lot? Bus shelters are frequent, every couple blocks, as are the buses that take you to the terminal (every 7-9 minutes!)
3. People at the ticketing counter are nice, and helpful. It almost seems like they want to help you!
4. Even early in the morning, you have a choice of places to get something to eat. You can choose between a meal in a bag, fast food, sit down or sit down nice, all at Portland street prices.
5. Shopping? Like every other airport, they expect you're bored, have room in your carry-on, and have money to burn. But! They have a bigger Powell's Books in the "Oregon Market" as well as smaller ones in the concourses. All have used books, and super cheap paperbacks.
6. Need to do work? Or web surf? Or play games? Unlike other airports that hide their power outlets or kill the juice to visible ones (!!!), PDX knows that you need your laptop fix and works to make it as easy as possible. There is a Service Center (or two, in C) in each concourse, with workspace, telephones, copy machines, power outlets. WiFi is free, and available in most areas of the airport. Let me just repeat that in case you were dozing: WiFi is free at PDX.
7. But wait, there's more! They have these little living rooms areas with comfie chairs, big screen TVs, power outlets. Get comfortable and relax!
8. Waiting for someone coming in from a flight? There's a new comfortable waiting room, where you can sit comfortably, and, shock, actually see the folks coming through the shute from the concourse. Incredibly humane!
9. Good coffee.
10. Good beer. 'Nuff said!