Increasing demand, labor shortages, inflation, and flight cancellations have taken their toll on airport customer satisfaction, according to the new 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power in Troy.
Overall satisfaction is down 25 points (on a 1,000-point scale) this year as travelers encounter fewer flights, more crowded terminals, and sparse food and beverage offerings, according to the report.
“The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage, and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated — and it is likely to continue through 2023,” says Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power.
“In some ways, this is a return to normal as larger crowds at airports tend to make travelers more frazzled, but in cases where parking lots are over capacity, gates are standing room only, and restaurants and bars are not even open to offer some reprieve, it is clear that increased capacity in airports can’t come soon enough.”
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus came in a tie for third place in customer satisfaction with a score of 791 in the mega airport category. It was tied with John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport ranks highest in passenger satisfaction among mega airports with a score of 800. San Francisco International Airport ranks second at 796.
Visit here to see where other airports around the country rank.
Other key findings of the 2022 study:
- More than half (58 percent) of airport travelers describe the airport terminal as severely or moderately crowded, nearly in line with 2019 when 59 percent of travelers said their airport was severely/moderately crowded.
- Inflation hits the airport: Nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of travelers say they did not make any food or beverage purchases at the airport because they were too expensive. That’s up from 20 percent in 2021 and 23 percent in 2019. Similarly, traveler satisfaction with the reasonableness of food and beverage pricing declines this year.
- Nowhere to park: Some big declines in traveler satisfaction this year are found in the parking lot, where a shortage of space has caused satisfaction with surface parking lots to decline 45 points from 2021. Meanwhile, 14 percent of travelers say parking was more expensive than they expected, up from 12 percent in 2021 and 11 percent in 2019.
The 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study measured overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large, and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage, and retail. Mega airports are defined as those with 33 million or more passengers per year; large airports with 10 to 32.9 million passengers per year; and medium airports with 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers per year.
Now in its 17th year, the study is based on 26,529 completed surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences (including connecting airports) during the past 30 days. Travelers evaluated either a departing or arriving airport from their round-trip experience. The study was fielded from August 2021 through July 2022.