Airports often bring out the worst in people, between the crowds, delays and general stress of traveling — but according to a new survey, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high when flying through U.S. airports, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.
Traveler satisfaction scored a 749 out of 1,000 points, an 18-point increase from last year’s survey, despite increasingly packed terminals. The improved score comes primarily from higher satisfaction with security checks, check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage, and retail, the survey reports.
“Capacity has become a huge challenge for North American airports, with many reporting 100% of available parking spots being filled and large airports, such as Orlando International, setting passenger volume records each month for more than three years straight,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. But, he says despite these difficulties, airports are responding with both new technology and personal skills to win over travelers. “These range from smartphone apps that tell travelers where to find a parking spot to therapy dogs—and in one case, a therapy pig—mingling with travelers to relieve stress and improve the overall airport experience.”
The survey ranked airports across the U.S. based on several key factors: accessibility, check-in and baggage check process, security screening, shopping, terminal facilities and baggage claim. Airports were broken down into three categories based on size. “Mega” airports were defined as those handling more than 32.5 million annual passengers. The “large” category included airports with 10 million to 32.4 million passengers and “medium” airports are those with between 3 million and 9.9 million passengers.
So which airports topped the list? Orlando International Airport won the first-place spot for “Mega” airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., won the “Large” category and Sacramento International Airport was ranked number one for “Medium” airports.
Orlando International Airport received a score of 778 out of 1,000, beating out the runner up, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which received a 767 score.
Earning a much less coveted spot, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey received the lowest ranking among “Mega” airports, earning a score of 686. LaGuardia Airport, in New York City, ranked worst among “Large” airports, with a score of 654, and Bradley International Airport in Hartford County, Conn. for “Medium” airports, earning a 742 score.