J.D. Power airport satisfaction survey: Guess how area facilities fared

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, MC CARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - MAY 22: Arrival display board at airport terminal showing international destinations flights to some of the world's most popular cities in Mc Carran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada on May 22, 2015.

While passenger satisfaction with the nation’s airports has reached an all-time high in a recent survey, as local business travelers might have guessed, the region’s facilities didn’t fare so well.

J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study found that, while overall customer satisfaction scores reached a record mark of 749 out of 1,000 points, airports in the New Jersey/New York area consistently came in near the bottom of the heap.

Among the so-called “mega” airports, the nation’s largest, J.D. Power found that Newark Liberty International ranked dead last, with a score of 686 out of 1,000. By contrast, Orlando International in Florida, the top-rated mega airport, scored 778, and most of the 18 airports in the category scored between — appropriately — 747 and 767.

Things weren’t much better at New York’s JFK International, which scored a below-average 727, good merely for the best rating among the four sites in the worst tier.

Among the “large” airports, the next category in the survey, the news was even worse for area travelers. Not only did La Guardia finish last, with a 654 satisfaction rating that makes Newark’s number look good, but the only other airport in the bottom tier was Philadelphia International, at 715 out of 1,000. Those compared with a the large-airport average score of 745 and John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California’s top score of 796.

One of the major factors in the dissatisfaction cited by J.D. Power was construction efforts.

“Despite the most creative efforts to address traveler frustration, major city airports that are in the thick of massive construction efforts—notably Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Los Angeles International and Chicago O’Hare—are still fighting the headwinds of traveler disruption and access challenges that are handicapping their overall satisfaction scores,” the data analytics firm said in its news release.

J.D. Power’s travel practice lead, Michael Taylor, added that airports generally are facing issues of passenger capacity, with parking lots full and record travel volume.

“The trifecta of a steadily improving economy, record passenger volume and billion-dollar renovation projects unfolding in airports across the country has created a challenged environment for customer satisfaction,” he said.

J.D. Power’s survey is based on traveler satisfaction in six areas: terminal facilities, airport accessibility, security check, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage and retail. Nearly 35,000 people responded to the survey, which is in its 12th year, between January and August.

For more on the survey, click here.