The North American Airport Satisfaction Study ranks travelers’ experiences in both large and medium-sized airports.
Some 5.8 million Americans plan to fly to their Christmas and New Year’s holiday destinations this year.
Depending on where they’re flying, the experience could be great — think Portland, OR, International Airport — or miserable at some of the nation’s most congested airports in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Newark, according the North American Airport Satisfaction Study released Wednesday by J.D. Power.
The study, now in its 10th year and based on responses of 21,000 North American travelers from July through October 2015, ranked large and medium-sized airports in six areas: terminal facilities, airport accessibility, security check, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check, and terminal shopping.
Here are the large airport rankings:
1. Portland International Airport
2. Tampa International Airport
3. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)
4. Orlando International Airport
5. Salt Lake City International Airport
6. Denver International Airport
7. San Diego International Airport
8. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
9. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
11. Charlotte / Douglas International Airport
12. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
13. Chicago Midway International Airport
14. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
15. Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport
16. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
17. San Francisco International Airport
18. Miami International Airport
19. Toronto Pearson International Airport
20. Washington Dulles International Airport
21. George Bush International Airport (Houston)
22. Baltimore-Washington International Airport
23. Honolulu International Airport
24. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
25. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York)
26. Logan International Airport (Boston)
27. Philadelphia International Airport
28. O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)
29. Los Angeles International Airport
30. LaGuardia International Airport (New York)
31. Newark Liberty International Airport
J.D. Power said the rankings help airports measure how well they’re doing as the industry makes a cultural shift to improving travelers’ experiences.
“Most airports have really made a tremendous shift over the past six years and are now focused on managing the end-to-end experience for their travelers,” Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, said in a press release.
“It’s no longer just about getting travelers from Point A to Point B as efficiently as possible; it’s about making the airport experience enjoyable,” he said.
Terminal facilities — everything from restaurants and retail shops to restrooms and seating near gates — had the biggest effect on traveler satisfaction.
“Travelers now are substantially more satisfied with retail experiences in their airport,” Jeff Conklin, vice president of the utility and infrastructure practice at J.D. Power, said in a news release. “Airports that have responded to this demand by offering a variety of food, beverage, merchandise, and other attractive services and amenities are realizing significant gains in overall customer satisfaction.”
Other key findings:
- Time spent checking in or in security screening can make or break airport satisfaction.
- Millennials and Gen-X travelers who spend more on food and beverages, merchandise and services and less time in terminals are generally more satisfied than Boomers and pre-Boomers, who spend less money and more time in terminals.
- Gate cleanliness is critical.
- Travelers who combine business and pleasure and leisure travelers are more satisfied than business travelers.
- Airport accessibility is important, and satisfaction is highest among those who use ride share, and lowest among those who catch a ride with a friend, family member or colleague. The 10 highest-performing airports in both the large and medium-sized airports all allowed drop-off space at the curb.
- Dissatisfied travelers are very vocal and are likely to share details of their experiences with others.
» Photo via Flickr / Creative Commons