Despite challenges, travelers give U.S. airports high marks


J.D. Power finds customer satisfaction is surprisingly high

Despite a huge increase in air travel over the summer that taxed the capacity of both airlines and airport, travelers have lots of nice things to say about U.S. airports.

A J. D. Power customer satisfaction survey shows overall passenger satisfaction improved in 2023. In something of a surprise, overall satisfaction improved by 3 points on a 1,000-point scale. J.D. Power credit improvements in terminal facilities, food, beverage and retail service and baggage claim.

“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,” said Michael Taylor, managing director of Travel, Hospitality and Retail at J.D. Power. 

“While airports are doing a good job coping with the current issues, there is still more they could do to improve passenger experience while also improving their own bottom lines. Happy passengers spend a lot more money at the airport, so ongoing efforts to spread passenger volumes throughout the day and deliver superior service at all customer touchpoints will be critical.”

Most satisfying airports

Travelers might want to know which airports have improved the most. The survey puts Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport highest on the satisfaction list of North America’s largest airports. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport ranks second and Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas ranks third.

Tampa International Airport ranks highest among large airports for a second consecutive year. John Wayne Airport in Orange County ranks second and Salt Lake City International Airport ranks third.

Indianapolis International Airport ranks highest among medium airports for a second consecutive year. Southwest Florida International Airport ranks second and Ontario International Airport ranks third.

Six factors

The rankings are based on six major factors:

  • Terminal facilities

  • Airport arrival/departure

  • Baggage claim

  • Security check

  • Check-in/baggage check

  • Food, beverage and retail

J.D. Power notes the improved performance comes at a difficult time or both airlines and airports. A pilot shortage and unpredictable summer weather resulted in more delays and cancellations. 

Despite these challenges, top-performing airports in the study all saw substantial gains in terminal facilities, food and beverage and retail service, and baggage claim.

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