Travelers say these are the best American airports

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The concept of “southern hospitality” appears to be alive and well at airports. Southern US cities are strongly represented near the top half of the list in JD Power’s 2021 North American Airport Satisfaction Study.

Southern airports rank first on both survey lists – for mega airports and for large airports. The region’s airports also account for two of the top four rankings in the Mega Airports list, and the top four in the Large Airports list.

However, in general, airports across the country are struggling to maintain their reputation for customer satisfaction, with scores dropping significantly as 2021 progresses, says J.D. Power.

The sliding level of satisfaction came as a result of travelers finding “food, beverage and retail options very limited as airports struggle with an ongoing labor shortage,” says J.D. Power.

The best airports that buck this trend and get high satisfaction scores (on a scale of 1000) are:

Huge airports

  1. Miami International Airport: 828
  2. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York): 817
  3. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport: 815
  4. Orlando International Airport (Florida): 812
  5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: 808

big airports

  1. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport: 844
  2. Tampa International Airport (Florida): 843
  3. Raleigh-Durham International Airport (North Carolina): 841
  4. Dallas Love Field: 829
  5. Salt Lake City International Airport: 826

For the study, mega airports were defined as those with 33 million or more passengers annually. Large airports are defined as those with 10 million to 32.9 million passengers per year.

When compiling the ratings, J.D. Power considered six factors. Listed in order of importance, they are:

  • station facilities
  • Arrival / departure from the airport
  • Baggage Receipt
  • security check
  • Check-in / Baggage Check
  • Food, Beverage & Retail

According to J.D. Power:

“Food, beverages and retail services are the keys that turn a good airport experience into a great one. The award-winning airports Miami International and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International also scored the highest in the food, beverage and retail factor in their respective sectors.”

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