New airport rankings from J.D. Power show key American Airlines hubs at both the top and the bottom, with Miami International Airport scoring the highest and Philadelphia International the lowest.
The J.D. Power 2021 North American Airport Satisfaction survey report, which ranks airports on a scale of 1,000 based on on-line questionnaires sent to 13,325 people identified by online survey companies, gave Miami a ranking of 828 and Philadelphia a ranking of 758.
The survey released Wednesday, rated airports in six categories, in order of importance: terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure (access); baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
Philadelphia International’s biggest problem is access getting to the airport, said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “It’s a hassle to get there,” he said. “There is traffic on the way (and) it takes longer to get there. That sets up a lot of anxiety. You’re (already) anxious when you arrive. TSA seems to take forever.”
Taylor noted that PHL does “have some bright spots,” particularly in food and beverage/retail. He said the airport is working to improve access.
PHL spokeswoman Florence Brown said Wednesday, “Significant lane closures may have impacted passenger travel to the airport, given that I-95 is one of two major roadways to PHL.” She said traffic problems may have also have been exacerbated by shortages in police staffing for traffic management and by consolidated banks of flights by American Airlines during the pandemic, which also created bottlenecks.
In a prepared statement on its website, the airport said the survey results “emphasize the great need for infrastructure improvement at PHL,” connecting airport access to its planned $1.26 billion capital program as it works to improve its aging infrastructure.
“The federal government’s plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure presents a particular opportunity for PHL to receive a critically needed influx of funding to modernize terminals . Airport supporters are encouraged to contact their federally elected officials to ask that PHL is prioritized in the upcoming infrastructure bill,” the airport said.
“Since its opening in 1940, PHL has built, renovated and connected a series of seven passenger terminals to build capacity and enhance the passenger experience,” it said. “The newest terminal, A-West, was built in 2003, while all other terminals (A-East, B, C, D, E and F) have undergone renovations to improve and enhance specific areas like security, ticketing and baggage claims.”
Miami International also cited the J.D. Power survey on its website, which today includes the headline “#1 in Customer Satisfaction Among Mega Airports by J.D. Power “as one of its rotating headlines.
“We can all be proud that Miami-Dade County is home to the best mega airport for customer satisfaction in North America,” said Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, in a prepared statement. “MIA’s top priorities are maintaining the safety and security of our travelers and providing excellent customer satisfaction.”
Taylor said Miami “has been an airport success story” due to terminal upgrades.
“The physical facilities have gotten better,” he said. “They did all the blocking and tackling. The TSA has done a good job there, and they have the highest rated food and beverage in their category,” with an emphasis on local restauranteurs in the airport, something Philadelphia also has.
The survey ranked airports in two categories: mega airports, with 33 million or more passengers per year, and large airports, with 10 million to 32.9 million passengers per year.
Miami was listed as a mega airport, while Philadelphia was listed as a large airport.
Among the other mega airports, New York Kennedy was second with 817 points and Minneapolis was second with 815 points. Chicago O’Hare was last among the 20 mega airports with 772 points.
Among large airports, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International finished first, due to its newly opened terminal, with 844 points. Tampa was second with 843 points and Raleigh-Durham was third with 841 points.
Among other American mega airport hubs, Dallas had 805 points and Charlotte had 796 points. The segment average was 798 points.
Taylor said Charlotte was hurt by continuing airport construction, an impediment to airport access. Charlotte “does well in bag claim and in TSA check in, (and) retail is not bad.”
He noted that CLT has many of its food and beverage and retail outlets in the common area. But connecting passengers, who are the principal users of CLT, tend to focus on getting to their gates before buying food. “Some people may not want to walk back” to the common area, despite its rocking chairs, he said.