Hartsfield-Jackson 9th among larger airports for satisfaction

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Hartsfield-Jackson International ranked ninth among the largest airports in North America for customer satisfaction, according to a new study.

Travelers were polled on 19 “mega” airports, which have more than 33 million passengers annually, as well as smaller airports, in the J.D. Power 2020 North America airport satisfaction study. The highest-ranked of the “mega” airports was Phoenix Sky Harbor, while the No. 1 airport in the “large” category was Dallas Love Field, and the top ranked medium-sized airport was Indianapolis.

Those three airports that took the top spot in each category have “an open, airy experience that feels more like a well-designed shopping mall than an airport,” according to J.D. Power. “These airports also do a good job of conveying local flavor,” including food and design.

The study was based on a survey of 26,058 travelers from August 2019 through July 2020. It measures traveler satisfaction with terminal facilities, the arrival and departure experience, baggage claim, security, check-in and baggage check, as well as food, beverage and retail.

With far less crowded terminals and shorter waits for security and concessions, overall airport customer satisfaction has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began, reaching a record high total score of 784 out of 1,000 points in the study this year.

Hartsfield-Jackson scored higher this year than last year, up to 787 from 773, but fell in the rankings from 6th to 9th because many other airports also increased their scores.

“Compared to the pre-COVID-19 environment, when most airports were running significantly over capacity, the lack of crowds and long lines is actually creating a very convenient experience for travelers right now,” said J.D. Power travel intelligence lead Michael Taylor in a written statement.

But, he noted, the low levels of traffic are not sustainable for most airports, and airport managers are trying “to provide a safe and clean environment to facilitate a rebound in travel.”