Philadelphia International Airport ranked 22ndout of two dozen airports in a customer satisfaction study from J.D. Power.
Another airport used by Delaware business and leisure travelers, Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport ranked 13th, or slightly below the average score for large airports.
The report notes that North American airports have been able to “shrug off the potentially disruptive effects of record passenger volumes and massive construction projects to achieve a record high in overall passenger satisfaction – up by 12 points to 761 from last year’s score of 749.”
Across-the-board improvements were seen in the five factors used in the survey – check-in; food, beverage and retail; accessibility; terminal facilities; and baggage claim.
The report noted that TSA screening has improved, with improved technology at check-in from self-service kiosks also improving satisfaction scores.
Airports are now a key factor in economic development of a region, with governmental units plowing money into construction projects and amenities aimed at improving customer satisfaction and more flights from airlines.
In the battle for ratings and passengers, airports look for top local chefs and restaurant operators, a contrast to the airport fare of the past. Another factor is the lack of food service on most flights.
Philadelphia International Airport has long been criticized for high in-terminal parking charges and limited runways that can lead to flight delays On the plus side, PHL is a major hub for American Airlines and has attracted low fare carriers that have put downward pressure on pricing.
BWI has benefitted from fewer flight delays and has also introduced perks such as valet parking.
BWI is also a hub/focus cityfor Southwest Airlines, which also earns high customer satisfaction ratings.
Other Southwest focus airports earn high marks, despite their status as older secondary airports. Southwest works to speed up the boarding process with no assigned seating, the use of one type of jet and checked luggage at no extra charge. The checked luggage features reduces competition for overhead bins that slows down boarding.
Southwest trimmed service from Philadelphia several years ago, after aggressive fare competition from USAirways, now American that squeezed its margins. Fares returned to high levels after Southwest ended flights from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and secondary Boston-area airports. Southwest servesLoganand other Boston area airports from Baltimore-Washington.
Southwest still flies to popular destinations, such as Orlando, Chicago and Dallas from PHL.
J.D. Power placed airports in three categories – mega, large and medium-sized, with Philadelphia. The top ranked large airport was John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA, with slot-machine laden Las Vegas McCarren as the top mega airport. The medium-sized airport with the highest score was Buffalo, NY.
The report notes that North American airports have managed to shrug off the potentially disruptive effects of record passenger volumes and massive construction projects to achieve a record high in overall passenger satisfaction – up by 12 points to 761 from last year’s score of 749.
“North America airports have been doing a tremendous job managing passenger volume, adding amenities, and keeping travelers moving despite some noteworthy challenges, but they will be put to the true test over the next few years,” saidMichael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “Several multi-billion-dollar airport construction projects—such as those in Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago—are reaching phases in which passenger disruption and increased traffic will be incredibly hard to avoid. How well these rapidly expanding airports manage throughout these infrastructure projects will provide valuable insight into what’s in store on a nationwide basis.”
Full rankings can be found at the link below.
The J.D. Power study is based on responses from 40,183 North America travelers who traveled through at least one domestic airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences (including connecting airports) during the past three months.