If major airports had fast Wi-Fi networks that didn't slow to a crawl at peak hours, travelers wouldn't have to worry about how their cellular data connections provided by wireless carriers work at those locations. However, airport Wi-Fi is often spotty, and a 4G LTE signal can be your best option when you're about to board a flight or head for the baggage claim.\nPeople who travel rarely might not care about the quality of cellular data connections in airports. On the other hand, if you travel a lot, a new report by RootMetrics that identifies the wireless carriers with the best network connectivity at each of the 50 largest airports in the United States is worth a look.\nRootMetrics, a Seattle-based company\u00a0that performs real-world tests of wireless devices in various locations,\u00a0spent a full day at each airport, measuring performance in lobbies, gate areas and baggage claims while using off-the-shelf smartphones.\n RootMetrics\nThe company\u00a0found that Verizon, the largest carrier, had the best overall performance in the 50 airports, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint.\u00a0The five airports with the best overall data connectivity (RootMetrics did not test voice call performance) were Memphis International, Pittsburg International, O'Hare International, Southwest Florida International and Dallas Love Field. The worst? San Diego International.\nDespite the heavy concentration of tech-savvy passengers in Silicon Valley, the area's two airports \u2014\u00a0San Francisco International and Mineta San Jose International \u2014\u00a0were ranked forty-fifth\u00a0and thirty-first\u00a0respectively.\nIn overall testing, Verizon was far ahead of the pack, T-Mobile was a strong second, followed by AT&T, and then Sprint at a distant fourth. "Verizon's airport wins were fueled by excellent reliability and speed," according to RootMetrics.\nT-Mobile's solid airport performance is somewhat surprising, because it ranked at the bottom in RootMetrics' recent national performance tests, which were released last month. I asked RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore about the apparent discrepancy, and he said his company tests performance in metropolitan, suburban and rural areas. On average, T-Mobile, which has the smallest network of the four major U.S. carriers, doesn't perform as well as its competitors. The carrier does quite well, however, in densely populated metro areas, where most of the major airports are located.\nSprint is at the bottom of the list. RootMetrics awarded it a top score at only one airport (Chicago's O'Hare), compared to 31 top scores for Verizon, 17 for T-Mobile, and 10 for AT&T. Sprint managed a median download speed of 20 Mbps at just one airport.\nOther highlights of the report:\n\nThe busiest U.S. airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, earned the No. 7 spot for mobile performance while Chicago's super busy O'Hare ranked third, which shows carriers can deliver optimal performance in very crowded environments.\nVerizon had the fastest airport median download speed, 101.2 Mbps, at Chicago's Midway International Airport.\nT-Mobile received high ratings for reliability. RootMetrics testers were able to connect to the Web via T-Mobile's networks and then successfully complete a task using an app at 47 of the 50 airports included in the survey. However, users of both Verizon and AT&T were more likely to connect to the Web before attempting to use an app.