Traveler satisfaction with North American airports climbed this year despite numerous challenges from an ongoing pilot shortage to record passenger volumes.
According to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study released Wednesday, overall satisfaction improved by 3 points to 780 on a 1,000-point scale. The rise was propelled by improvements in three key areas, including terminal facilities, food and beverage and retail service and baggage claim.
The study, currently in its 18th year, examines overall traveler satisfaction with mega (33 million or more passengers a year), large (10 to 32.9 million passengers a year) and medium (4.5 to 9.9 million passengers a year) North American airports across six factors, including terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
The big winners among North American airports were Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (800) Tampa International Airport (832) and Indianapolis International Airport (843), which ranked highest among mega, large and medium airports, respectively. 2023 marks the second straight year that Tampa and Indy have won their respective categories.
2023 marks the second straight year that Tampa was named the best large airport in North America. (Photo Credit: 6381380/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
Other top-performing airports included Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (796); Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport (787); John Wayne Airport in Orange County (829); Salt Lake City International Airport (825); Southwest Florida International Airport (839) and California's Ontario International Airport (834).
Some other key findings included that satisfied travelers spent more money at the airport, with those classified as "delighted" (rating their airport experience as 10 out of 10) spending an average of $44 in the terminal. Meanwhile, those classified as disappointed (1-5 out of 10) spent just $29 by comparison.
Crowds also remain a headache for many, with more than half (60 percent) of travelers saying they experienced severe or moderate crowding within the terminal, signaling a 2-percentage-point increase from 2022.
"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," Michael Taylor, managing director of travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power, said in a statement.
"While airports are doing a good job coping with the current issues, there is still more they could do to improve passenger
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