Airports across North America have achieved a record high in overall passenger satisfaction according to the 2018 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, which was conducted by J.D. Power.

Taking into account six factors – terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/ baggage check; and food, beverage and retail – the study, which is now in its 13th year, measured overall traveller satisfaction within mega, large, and medium airports in North America. Passenger satisfaction overall scored 761 (on a 1,000 point scale), which was 12 points higher than last year’s study.

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and Orlando International Airport came out on top overall, each with a score of 781. Among medium-sized airports Buffalo Niagara International Airport ranked highest with a score of 814 while Indianapolis International Airport ranked second and Fort Myers/ Southwest Florida International ranked third.

“North America airports have been doing a tremendous job managing passenger volume, adding amenities, and keeping travellers moving despite some noteworthy challenges, but they will be put to the true test over the next few years,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power.

He added: “Several multi-billion-dollar airport construction projects – such as those in Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago – are reaching phases in which passenger disruption and increased traffic will be incredibly hard to avoid. How well these rapidly expanding airports manage throughout these infrastructure projects will provide valuable insight into what’s in store on a nationwide basis.”

Key findings of the study found that the record high for overall passenger satisfaction was driven primarily by a 17-point increase in satisfaction with food, beverage and retail, and an 18-point increase in satisfaction with security check.

The increase in passenger satisfaction at security check is largely attributable to improved communication and cooperation between airport and Transport Security Administration (TSA) staff. Meanwhile the highest-scoring component of the airport experience was found to be check-in/ baggage check, which has been consistently rising since airports began implementing self-service kiosks and bag tagging. As well as removing the frustration of waiting in line for someone else to facilitate this process, automating the process was also found to reduce queue times and allow passengers to move at their own pace.

Header image: Orlando International Airport

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