(CNN) — Air travel is increasing and passenger satisfaction is declining. This should come as no surprise to anyone passing through the airport in the summer.
JD Power’s 2022 North American Airport Satisfaction Survey, released Wednesday, shows overall satisfaction down 25 points on a 1,000-point scale from its 2021 score. Newark Liberty International Airport scored the worst among the mega airports.
The overall satisfaction score for North American airports in 2022 was 777.
U.S. passenger numbers are approaching pre-pandemic levels. On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration screened 2,371,992 passengers at an airport checkpoint. That figure is 94% of the same weekday in 2019.
But travelers face fewer flights, more crowded terminals and limited food and drink options, says a new JD Power study.
“Rising demand for air travel, a nationwide labor shortage, and steadily rising prices for everything from jet fuel to bottled water combine to make airports extremely congested and overwhelmed by passengers,” said Michael Taylor. It created an increasingly frustrating scenario.” , JD Power’s Travel Intelligence Lead, said in a statement.
Taylor expects this unfortunate situation to continue through 2023.
The 25-point drop follows a record-high level of satisfaction with North American airports (802 on a 1,000-point scale) in last year’s survey, which included passenger surveys from late 2020.
But as that study moved into 2021 and the third and fourth waves of the study progressed, traveler satisfaction steadily declined as passenger numbers gradually recovered.
The 2022 survey was conducted from August 2021 to July 2022 as air travel continues to recover.
Passengers wait in line inside a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport on November 24, 2021.
It is based on over 26,500 surveys from US or Canadian residents who have passed through at least one US or Canadian airport in the last 30 days. Travelers rated either the departure or arrival airport for their round-trip journey.
Now in its 17th year, the study examines traveler satisfaction with airports in three categories: mega airports, large airports and mid-sized airports.
Satisfaction is evaluated on six factors in descending order of importance: terminal facilities, airport departures and arrivals, baggage claim, security checks, check-in/baggage inspection, food and beverage, and retail.
So, which airports are the most satisfying for travelers? And what methods are they missing?
Satisfying mega airports in North America
Among the mega airports (serving more than 33 million passengers annually) evaluated in this study, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport ranked highest in customer satisfaction with an 800 out of 1,000 score.
According to Taylor, the airport’s updated terminal facilities helped it earn the top spot in satisfaction. Last year’s construction and refurbishment showed in this year’s results, he said.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, shown here in August 2022, has the highest traveler satisfaction score among mega airports in North America.
Responding to a question about summer airport performance in late August, Bangs said, “MSP has outperformed other airports of similar size despite having a number of ongoing construction and upgrade projects this summer. We’ve been enjoying more delays and cancellations than we’ve seen,” she said.
San Francisco International Airport (796 points) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (791 points) also topped the satisfaction survey.
At the bottom of the mega airport list is Newark Liberty International Airport with a score of 719 out of 1,000.
Airports that are under construction or undergoing major renovations typically score poorly for terminal facilities, Taylor said.
Travelers wait at Newark Liberty International Airport on July 1, 2022. The airport has been plagued with cancellations and delays this summer.
Gina Moon/Getty Images
Newark’s $2.7 billion overhaul of Terminal A is set to begin later this year, with big plans to improve the food, beverage and retail offerings at the new terminal.
“But these improvements won’t be available to passengers for some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the new airport terminal,” Taylor said in an email.
Also at the bottom of the list are Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (751) and Los Angeles International Airport (753).
Highest and Least Satisfied Large and Midsize Airports in North America
Among the large airports serving between 10 million and 32.9 million passengers annually, Tampa International Airport ranked highest in customer satisfaction with 846 points out of 1,000.
John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California (#826) and Dallas Love Field (#825) also ranked high.
At the bottom of the list of large airports was Philadelphia International Airport (729).
Among mid-sized airports serving 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers annually, Indianapolis International Airport ranked highest with 842 out of 1,000 points.
Pittsburgh International Airport (839th) and Jacksonville International Airport (826th) ranked second and third for satisfaction.
California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport ranks last on the list of mid-sized airports with a score of 763 for traveler satisfaction.
Top image: Newark Liberty International Airport on May 30, 2022. (Photo by Yaroslav Sabitov/Shutterstock)