MSP flies highest in J.D. Power ranking of nation’s largest airports

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport finished for the first time atop the latest J.D. Power survey of passenger satisfaction at the nation’s largest airports, the market research firm said Wednesday.

MSP ranks highest in the “mega airport” category with a score of 800. It was closely followed by San Francisco International Airport at 796 and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, both at 791.

“Minneapolis has been on an upward trend for several years,” said Mike Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “They do a great job of giving a Minneapolis identity to the airport. One of the key things to reach number one in our study is for people to feel, ‘Wow I can’t find this anywhere else but here.’ “

MSP ranked second to Detroit in the survey in 2019, the last year when airport traffic was at a comparable level.

Brian Ryks, chief executive of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates the Twin Cities airport, said in an email that travelers are experiencing expanded check-in areas, additional security lanes, new baggage carousels, improved wayfinding and digital signage directing them to store and restaurants and more quickly to ground transportation.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in the last few years on the major project to modernize the Terminal 1 arrival and departure lobbies,” Ryks said.

J.D. Power announced the survey findings after the Airports Council International conference wrapped up Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, with an appearance by Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian. Delta, the dominant carrier at MSP, is building a Sky Club on Concourse G; it will open next spring.

J.D. Power annually measures overall traveler satisfaction by asking passengers about terminal facilities; airport arrival and departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in and baggage check, and food, beverage and retail.

The market researcher’s latest study found that overall satisfaction was down 25 points on a 1,000-point scale as travelers encountered crowded terminals and fewer food and beverage options.

The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water is increasingly frustrating passengers, Taylor said. He predicts those factors will likely continue through 2023.

Mega airports are defined as those with 33 million or more passengers per year; large airports are those with 10 million to 32.9 million passengers per year, and medium airports handle with 4.5 million to 9.9 million passengers per year.

Tampa (Fla.) International Airport ranks highest among large airports with a score of 846. John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., (826) ranks second, and Dallas Love Field (825) ranks third.

Indianapolis International Airport ranks highest among medium airports with a score of 842. Pittsburgh International Airport (839) ranks second while Jacksonville (Fla.) International Airport (826) and Southwest Florida International Airport (826) outside Fort Myers each rank third in a tie.

Now in its 17th year, the study is based on 26,529 completed surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences, including connecting airports, during the past 30 days.

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