Affected by an air travel industry laden with flight delays and cancellations caused by weather, air traffic issues and staff and service cutbacks, customer satisfaction with airports is down significantly, according to the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.
The study, now in its eighth year, measures overall airport satisfaction in three segments: large (30 million or more passengers per year), medium (10 million to 30 million passengers per year) and small (fewer than 10 million passengers per year). Six factors—assessed through 27 specific attributes—are examined to determine overall customer satisfaction: airport accessibility, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check process, terminal facilities, security check and food and retail services.
The study, which coincided with a period of notably high rates of flight delays between April 2007 and May 2008, finds that overall satisfaction is 675 on a 1,000-point scale in 2008—down 14 points from 2007. Prior to 2007, customer satisfaction with airports increased steadily between 2002 and 2006. More than one in five passengers report experiencing a delay. In addition, customer satisfaction with airports is considerably lower than satisfaction levels in other aspects of the travel industry in which the company conducts studies: hotels (758), rental cars (750) and airlines (687).
In particular, customer satisfaction with the security check aspect of the airport experience has declined considerably since 2007. Philadelphia International (PHL) ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among large airports, improving by five rank positions since 2007 and performing particularly well in the terminal facilities and baggage claim factors.
Chicago Midway International (MDW) ranks highest among medium-size airports, and performs particularly well in three of the six factors: airport accessibility, terminal facilities and baggage claim.
Among small airports, Dallas Love Field (DAL) ranks highest, improving by one rank position since 2007 and performing particularly well in the airport accessibility, security check and terminal facilities factors.