Ranked: The Best Airports in North America

Forbes 9/25/2019

AAA World Article

After several years of solid improvement, overall passenger satisfaction with North American airports has stagnated, rising a single point on a 1,000-point scale since last year, according to the J.D. Power North America Airport Satisfaction Study for 2019.

The overall customer satisfaction score this year is 762, up 1 point from 2018. These lackluster results can be blamed in part on the numerous expansions at airports around the country, which have brought scaffolding and cranes, road closures, confusing signage and delays.

“With major terminal construction projects now underway in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and many other airports, it is becoming impossible for travelers not to experience some form of disruption,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power. “While these projects are absolutely necessary to address surging demand, they are currently causing passenger delays and confusion. This translates into a rushed passenger experience and less money spent on food, beverage and retail — and it’s slowing the progress of the airport satisfaction we’ve seen in the past several years.”

There are some bright spots, however. Top-performing airports such as Detroit Metropolitan, Portland International and Indianapolis International all have one thing in common: relatively new facilities that accommodate more passengers, incorporate local food and beverage offerings and offer easy access. Airports that can handle larger numbers of passengers while also providing upgraded experiences saw improved satisfaction scores this year.

And let’s hear it for the TSA. Getting through airport security – a perennial drag on airport satisfaction scores — has bumped up 5 points due to better TSA processing and more widespread adoption of biometric screening technologies that move passengers through the checkpoints faster.

Here are the top airports in North America, according to the study:

Mega Airports
  1. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  2. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
  3. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
  4. (tie for 3rd) Orlando International Airport
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  6. Hartsfield/Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  7. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  8. Denver International Airport
  9. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston, Tex.)
  10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Large Airports
  1. Portland (Ore.) International Airport
  2. Dallas Love Field
  3. Tampa International Airport
  4. John Wayne Airport (Orange Co., Calif.)
  5. Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  6. Vancouver International Airport
  7. Sacramento International Airport
  8. Nashville International Airport
  9. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  10. William P. Hobby Airport (Houston, Tex.)
Medium Airports
  1. Indianapolis International Airport
  2. Jacksonville International Airport
  3. Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  4. Southwest Florida International Airport (Fort Myers, Fla.)
  5. Palm Beach International Airport
  6. San Antonio International Airport
  7. Pittsburgh International Airport
  8. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  9. Albuquerque International Sunport
  10. General Mitchell International Airport (Milwaukee, Wis.)

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