Frequent flight cancelations. Crowded terminals. A lack of parking. Expensive airport food (if you can find an open restaurant). It’s been a rough year for airport travelers, an annual airport satisfaction survey concludes.
The J.D. Power 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study says travelers are less satisfied with their airport experiences this year than they were in 2021. Overall customer satisfaction is down 25 points based on a 1,000-point scale.
"The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated—and it is likely to continue through 2023," Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, said in a prepared statement.
"In some ways, this is a return to normal as larger crowds at airports tend to make travelers more frazzled, but in cases where parking lots are over capacity, gates are standing-room only and restaurants and bars are not even open to offer some reprieve, it is clear that increased capacity in airports can’t come soon enough."
Travelers check in for their flights at LAX at Delta Airlines, Terminal 2 at LAX Friday, May 28, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
More than half of travelers who participated in the survey said airports were severely or moderately crowded, while 24% said they skipped buying food or drink at airports because it was too expensive. But it’s not all bad news for airports: Some fared far better than others in customer satisfaction.
The global data and analytics company ranks airports in three categories: mega airports (33 million or more passengers per year), large airports (those with 10 to 32.9 million passengers per year) and medium airports (4.5 to 9.9 million passengers per year).
Researchers base their scores (on a 1,000-point scale) on six factors: terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage and retail.
Best and worst ‘mega’ airports in North America
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minnesota topped the list of best airports with a score of 800 based on customer satisfaction. San Francisco International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County weren’t far behind, with scores of 796 and 791, respectively.
Best and worst large airports
Tampa International Airport in Florida was ranked as the best large airport in North America based on customer satisfaction. With a score of 846, Tampa came in ahead of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and Dallas Love Field in Texas. Those airports had satisfaction scores of 826 and 825, respectively.
Airports in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Kansas City, Missouri, ranked last in the survey.
Best and worst medium-sized airports
Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana ranked first in the medium-sized airport category with a score of 842, but two of the top four are in Florida. Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania and Jacksonville International Airport ranked second and third, respectively, with scores of 842 and 839.
Kahului Airport on the Hawaiian island of Maui and Hollywood Burbank Airport in California came in last based on customer satisfaction.
The study includes 26,529 surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canada airport in the past 30 days. Data was collected from August 2021 through July 2022.