The nation’s favorite large airport, according to the poll of 39,000 North American travelers? It’s Portland International (PDX), for the second year in a row, scoring 786 on a 1,000-point scale.
In its 11th annual survey of traveler satisfaction with U.S. airports, J.D. Power and Associates found that customers are a little happier overall with the airport experience than they were last year – but the company suggests that may not last, as some facilities are embarking on huge construction projects that will impede passenger access.
Tampa came in second (775) and Las Vegas McCarran ranked third (759). The lowest satisfaction score among the 31 large airports in the study went to New York LaGuardia (649), just below Newark Liberty International (669). Also ranking in the bottom five were Philadelphia, Chicago O’Hare and Boston Logan.
The average score for the group was 724, and San Francisco International barely topped that at 725, while Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson rated 733. Los Angeles International was sixth from the bottom at 702.
Among medium-sized airports, the top three, in descending order, were Indianapolis, Buffalo and Ft. Myers/Southwest Florida. Cleveland Hopkins was dead last with a 704 score, just below Maui’s Kahului and Connecticut’s Bradley International, both at 724; and Oakland International, at 726. Ranking slightly above the median score of 760 were San Jose at 761 and Orange County/John Wayne at 765.
J.D. Power noted that the overall increase in the average satisfaction score — 731 this year vs. 725 in 2015 —came despite increased passenger traffic of 5 to 6 percent nationwide.
But the polling firm warns that passenger satisfaction could be damaged by big construction projects in the works at some major airports. “This heavy construction will make it more difficult for travelers to access the airport and, once there, it will likely make it even more difficult to navigate the crowded terminals,” the company said.
We’ve already seen evidence of problems like this at New York LaGuardia, which has started a multi-billion-dollar reconstruction. Other major infrastructure projects in the works include Los Angeles International and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. (In fact, J.D. Power noted that passenger satisfaction at ATL dropped nine points in the past year.)
Here are the complete listings:
In many cases, it’s more about the airport terminal than the airport overall. For example, the new TBIT International terminal at LAX is awesome, but the rest of the airport leaves a lot to be desired. And anyone who has flown Southwest via SFO’s slouchy (now under renovation) Terminal 1 should know that it’s a far cry from the world class Terminal 2 or United’s nice T3E boarding area. Same goes for JFK- some terminals (like Delta’s new T4) are nice, others not so much.
Readers, do you agree with J.D. Power’s poll results? Which airport do you consider the best or worst, and why?
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