Construction at ATL Airport

A new study found that issues related to major expansion projects at airports in North America have led to limited overall passenger satisfaction growth.

According to the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, overall passenger satisfaction is stagnating as it rose only by one point year-over-year (762 out of 1,000) despite several consecutive years of growth.

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The one-point growth was attributed to lower-than-average facility access scores and more passengers complaining about construction-related delays as record passenger volumes force airports to implement significant expansion plans.

“With major terminal construction projects now underway in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and many other airports, it is becoming impossible for travelers not to experience some form of disruption,” J.D. Power’s Michael Taylor said in a statement. “While these projects are absolutely necessary to address surging demand, they are currently causing passenger delays and confusion.”

“This translates into a rushed passenger experience and less money spent on food, beverage and retail—and it’s slowing the progress of the airport satisfaction we’ve seen in the past several years,” Taylor continued.

The silver lining to the findings is that once the airport construction is completed, the facilities will have more modern amenities, ample room to accommodate increased passenger volume and localized food and beverage offerings.

The improved TSA processes and new biometric screening technologies are also going to speed up security line times, which should reduce frustration among passengers.

In terms of the airports with the highest satisfaction rankings, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport topped the list, followed by Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and Orlando International Airport.