Airline satisfaction is down, according to a new study by J.D. Power. As passenger numbers ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels—91%, to be exact—and labor shortages continue, this has resulted in flight cancellations, delays and crowded terminals.
The 17th-annual study, “J.D. Power 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study,” ranked mega, large and medium airports in the United States and Canada by six criteria with a possible score of 1,000: terminal facilities, airport arrival and departure, baggage claim, security check, check-in and baggage check, F&B and retail.
In the study, “mega airports” are defined as those with 33 million or more passengers per year; “large airports” are those with 10 to 32.9 million passengers a year; “medium airports” are characterized as those with 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers per year.
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Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) ranked highest in mega airports in passenger satisfaction, with a score of 800. Minneapolis is home to the largest event space in the Upper Midwest, the 1.6 million-square-foot Minneapolis Convention Center, including a 3,400-seat auditorium and 55,000-square-foot ballroom.
Beyond the convention center, Minneapolis is home to eye-catching venues for both tight-knit and sizable groups. Mill City Museum, for example, was once a flour mill and is now not only an architecturally aesthetic venue, with brick, steel and wood facades, but is also a place where groups can learn the history of the milling industry.
Another is Create Dining Studio, which adds to the dining experience by allowing diners to interact with chefs and watch their food be cooked and prepared. The venue also hosts cocktail classes, whiskey tastings, wine tastings and winemaker dinners.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ranked second with 796 points, and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) tied for third, at 791 points.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) took the top spot among large airports with a score of 846.
Tampa is home to the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk, which runs from Hillsborough River to the Garrison Channel. With the option to walk, bike or scooter down the walk, groups will have access to many attractions, bars and restaurants. And the one- or three-day Riverwalk Pass allows groups to save on the best attractions on the path. This is near the 600,000-square-foot Tampa Convention Center, which can be accessed via streetcar, trolley or water taxi, the convention center being one of its 17 stops.
Following TPA are John Wayne Airport (SNA) with 826 points, and Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), ranking third at 825 points.
Among medium airports, Indianapolis International Airport (IND) ranked first, with 842 points. In 2025, Indianapolis will have added $1.7 billion worth of new developments to the city.
This includes an expansion of Indiana Convention Center, which will add more than 190,000 sq. ft. to the convention center and connect to a new 800-room Signia by Hilton property, and will add another Hilton property nearby; and Eleven Park, which will feature a 20,000-seat stadium to be used by the United Soccer League’s Indy Eleven and a boutique hotel.
With 839 points, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) came in second. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) tied for third with 826 points.
Of the 20 ranked mega airports, the five lowest-ranked airports are Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ; 755), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS; 754), Los Angeles International (LAX; 753), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD; 751) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR; 719).
There were 27 airports ranked in all for the large category, of them the last five are St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL; 765), LaGuardia Airport (LGA; 761), Kansas City International Airport (KCI; 760), Honolulu International Airport (HNL; 758) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL; 729).
Among medium airports, there were 18 ranked. The worst-ranked in this category are Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA; 791), Bradley International Airport (BDL; 789), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE; 780), Kahului Airport (OGG; 767) and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR; 763).
While satisfaction of individual airports is varying, overall satisfaction with airports in North America has dropped 25 points to 777 points. In 2021, passenger satisfaction was at a record level, when passenger volume was at one of its lows. Fifty-eight percent of those travelers described the airport as severely or moderately crowded; in 2019, 59% described it as such.
With inflation at an all-time high, 24% of respondents reported not making any purchases of food or beverage because they were too expensive. Although, this isn’t much different from pre-pandemic levels, where 23% of respondents made the same remark.
Shortages of space in the parking lot caused satisfaction in this area to decrease 45 points from 2021; in addition, 14% of travelers reported parking was more expensive than anticipated, a slight increase from 12% in 2021.