Hey, guess what? Airports are doing pretty great these days! That's according to J.D. Power, at least, which just released it's latest survey of airport customer satisfaction. "Overall passenger satisfaction with North American airports has reached an all-time high," the organization says, "as airports of every size have found creative ways to address the challenges of constant construction projects and increased passenger capacity demand."
Per the survey, the satisfaction score jumped by 18 points this year, to 749 on a 1,000-point scale. "Improvement is driven primarily by a 25-point increase in satisfaction with security check," the survey reports, "thanks largely to fewer TSA staffing issues this year, and gains in two factors: check-in/baggage check (+19 points) and food, beverage, and retail (+15 points)."
The survey also finds that more airports are successfully using technology to alleviate customer challenges. Phone-charging stations and apps that help travelers find parking spots also improved the overall experience.
As for challenges, the survey found that large-scale construction projects are causing major disruptions. Specifically, projects in Newark, LaGuardia, Los Angeles, and Chicago O'Hare are causing major headaches.
It's hard to overstate the impact of TSA improvements here. The agency hit a low point last spring, as it dealt with debilitating delays at checkpoints across country. It was a sink-or-swim moment for the government, airports and airlines alike. Fortunately, all three stakeholders stepped up and made improvements to checkpoints and procedures, and those fixes have held. It's amazing how much better the airport experience becomes when travelers aren't waiting in checkpoint lines for hours on end. Can't make use of an airport's amenities when you're standing in line, right?
Looking ahead, it's easy to see this trend of improved customer satisfaction sticking as well. The TSA is experimenting with new scanning technology that could drastically improve the checkpoint process. That alone could lead to a hugely improved airport experience. New technology could also speed up the boarding process and smooth out some baggage issues. Who knows, maybe someday going to the airport won't be a hassle at all ... maybe?
Readers, do these results match with your experience? Do you think airports have become more efficient or hospitable? Share your experiences below.