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The Best and Worst Airports in North America, According to Travelers

by multimill
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Fliers have had a good time at airports across the States this year, even when they maybe shouldn’t have.

A record number of travelers crowded planes and facilities, the ongoing pilot shortage reduced the number of flights, and the unpredictable weather resulted in countless delays and cancellations, but passenger satisfaction with North American airports actually improved in 2023.

Overall customer satisfaction rose three points this year to reach 780 on a 1,000-point scale, according to J.D. Power’s 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Improvements in terminal facilities, baggage claim, and food, beverage, and retail drove the uptick.

Customer Satisfaction Medium Airports

Customer Satisfaction at Medium Airports.

J.D. Power

“It has not been an easy year for North American airports, but major capital improvements they’ve made over the last several years and new investments in getting food, beverage, and retail operations back up and running at full capacity have helped them manage the crush of passengers,” Michael Taylor, J.D. Power’s managing director of travel, hospitality, and retail, said in a statement.

Based on more than 27,000 traveler surveys collected from August 2022 through July 2023, the study looks at mega-airports, large airports, and medium-sized airports. Each location is evaluated on six factors: terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage, and retail.

Customer Satisfaction Large Airports

Customer Satisfaction at Large Airports.

J.D. Power

Many of the top-performing airports had recently undergone construction or redevelopment work. Case in point: New York’s LaGuardia Airport has just emerged from a nine-year, $8 billion rebuild and has climbed from dead last position in 2019’s list to 14th in 2023.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport scored highest in the mega airports (800 points), Tampa International Airport landed at the top of the large airports for a second consecutive year (832 points), and Indianapolis International Airport ranked highest among medium airports for the second year in a row (843 points).

Customer Satisfaction Mega Airports

Customer Satisfaction at Mega Airports.

J.D. Power

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a direct correlation between satisfaction and the amount of money passengers spend at the airport. “Delighted” fliers, who rate their airport experience as 10 out of 10, spend an average of $44 in the terminal. Conversely, “disappointed” travelers spend just $29. It’s worth shelling out an extra $15 next time you fly, then.

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