Travelers Say These Are the Best U.S. Airports

Happy family at the airport
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The concept of “Southern hospitality” apparently is alive and well at airports. Southern U.S. cities are strongly represented near the top half of the list in J.D. Power’s 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

Southern airports take the top spot on both of the two survey lists — for mega airports and large airports. The region’s airports also account for two of the top four rankings on the mega-airports list, and the top four spots on the large-airports list.

However, overall, airports across the nation are struggling to maintain their reputation for customer satisfaction, with scores declining significantly as 2021 has progressed, J.D. Power says.

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

The airports that are best bucking this trend and earning high satisfaction ratings (on a scale of 1,000) are:

Mega 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

Large 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 per year. Large airports were defined as those with 10 million to 32.9 million passengers per year.

In compiling the rankings, J.D. Power looked at six factors. Listed in order of importance, they are:

  • Terminal facilities
  • Airport arrival/departure
  • Baggage claim
  • Security check
  • Check-in/baggage check
  • Food, beverage and retail

According to J.D. Power:

“Food, beverage and retail services are the keys that turn a good airport experience into a great experience. Award recipient airports Miami International and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International also score highest in the factor for food, beverage and retail in their respective segments.”

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