J.D. Power – North American Airports effectively Navigating construction, capacity challenges

J.D. Power – North American Airports effectively Navigating construction, capacity challenges

This year’s study found that passenger satisfaction has reached an all-time high, since airports are effectively managing the challenges of ongoing construction and increased capacity through tech investment and creative outreach initiatives.

More specifically:

  • Overall satisfaction reaches all-time high: Overall customer satisfaction scores have reached an all-time high of 749 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is up 18 points from last year’s all-time high. Improvement is driven primarily by a 25-point increase in satisfaction with security check, thanks largely to fewer TSA staffing issues this year, and gains in two factors: check-in/baggage check (+19 points) and food, beverage, and retail (+15 points). Self-service bag-check kiosks and other bag-tagging technologies have played a significant role in improving the baggage check process.
  • Tech investment helps overcome logistical hurdles: With nearly every airport in the country dealing with challenges of high passenger capacity and ongoing construction projects to address increased demand, technology is helping to directly address these issues. For example, Sacramento International Airport has developed a smartphone app that tells travelers where they can find a parking spot, and virtually every airport in the country has invested heavily in improving phone-charging stations and internet access in their terminals.
  • Dogs, horses and pigs! Oh, my!: Many airports have also found success in improving customer satisfaction through creative use of high-touch traveler outreach initiatives. Phoenix Sky Harbor, for example, deploys a team of therapy dogs for passengers to pet while they wait to board; San Francisco International features a pet therapy pig that roams the terminal looking for pets and selfies; and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport has more than 30 stress-relieving ponies on staff with which travelers can interact.
  • Big city construction projects remain obstacle to satisfaction: Despite the most creative efforts to address traveler frustration, major city airports that are in the thick of massive construction efforts—notably Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Los Angeles International and Chicago O’Hare—are still fighting the headwinds of traveler disruption and access challenges that are handicapping their overall satisfaction scores.

Orlando International, John Wayne, and Sacramento rank the highest in the Mega, Large, and Medium airport categories.

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