The North American Airport Study has revealed surprising trends regarding passenger satisfaction when it comes to the entire airport routine entailed by travelling.
The report, compiled by market research company J.D. Power and Associates, was published on Wednesday, December 16.
Experts conducted their study by reviewing more than 18,800 assessments made by passengers who had passed through at least one airport terminal between September and October.
Several aspects of the airport experience were taken into account: airport security checks, check in, airport services and amenities, shopping centers and accessibility features (adequate infrastructure connecting the terminal to metropolitan areas, convenient parking, facilities for disabled individuals).
It was determined that flier satisfaction is relatively high nowadays, especially among the younger generation (Generation X and millennials), having been measured at 725 points out of 1,000.
This shows that progress has been made since 2010, when the same study estimated the passengers’ contentment when accessing airport services at around 690 points, on a scale from 1 to 1,000.
According to Jeff Conklin, J.D. Power’s senior director of the utilities and infrastructure practice, this shows that airport operators are now much more preoccupied with ensuring that fliers are satisfied when opting for their particular portal, by offering a full range of top-notch services and facilities.
This shift has been encountered especially among average-sized airports, whose median score was at around 752 points, whereas for larger buildings overall customer satisfaction was assessed at around 719 points.
One possible explanation for this disparity is the fact that major airports are marked by significant hustle and bustle, as a result of a steady flow of passengers travelling to and fro, whereas smaller aerodromes aren’t as congested and nerve-racking.
Some of the highest ranking medium hubs were Southwest Florida International and Dallas Love Field, which both scored 792 points. In contrast, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport fared the worst, with its rating being almost 100 points lower, at 698 points.
When it came to larger hubs, Portland International was for the third consecutive year the most beloved airport, obtaining 791 points, while Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) received just 670 points, still surpassing LaGuardia Airport (655 points) and Newark Liberty International Airport (646).
When it came to specific factors influencing flier satisfaction, it appears that airports have focused especially on revamping facilities, by introducing more fine dining restaurants instead of just fast food and casual dining establishments.
They have also paid more attention to other services that travelers might need, such as spas, barbershops, movie download kiosks etc. As a result, contentment as far as airport amenities are concerned has climbed, from 687 to 728 points.
Researchers also surveyed other elements that have an impact on the overall airport experience: for instance, being able to check luggage and conduct check-ins without wasting more than 5 minutes corresponds to a satisfaction rating of 797, whereas each 5-minute delay reduces the score by 6 points.
Similarly, spending less than 5 minutes at screening checkpoints also results in elevated contentment (779 points), which drops severely when the process lasts up to 20 minutes (690 points).
The gatehouse is also extremely important so as to ensure travelers’ comfort: cleanliness, coziness and tidiness are associated with scores of up to 745 points, while an slovenly and grubby appearance makes flier satisfaction plummet by almost 200 points.
On the other hand, scores can be improved by as much as 130 points when waiting areas have enough seating spaces and power sockets, and when pre-boarding announcements are made with clarity and professionalism.
As report authors explain, unsatisfied passengers tend to lament about their experience with 13 other individuals, whereas delighted fliers are much less vocal, sharing just around 5 positive remarks with their peers.
Therefore, gaining an insight into all the factors that can impact flier satisfaction could allow airport operators to introduce changes which would result not just in a larger number of pleased passengers, but also in more intensive use of the building’s services, which would therefore generate more income.
Image Source: Flickr