Travel | September 21, 2022 10:32 am

This Is the Best Airport in North America

The J.D. Power 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study suggests that we aren't that happy with air travel

Boeing 717 - Delta Gate at MSP Airport. The airport just topped JD Power's annual airport satisfaction survey
The MSP airport just topped JD Power's annual airport satisfaction survey
Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

According to the J.D. Power 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, we’re back to flying at almost a pre-pandemic level, but not very thrilled with the state of flying (or airports) at the moment.

The study, released this week, finds overall satisfaction down 25 points (on a 1,000-point scale) due to fewer flights, more crowded terminals and sparse/expensive food and beverage offerings.

“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 have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated — and it is likely to continue through 2023,” said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “In some ways, this is a return to normal as larger crowds at airports tend to make travelers more frazzled, but in cases where parking lots are over capacity, gates are standing room only and restaurants and bars are not even open to offer some reprieve, it is clear that increased capacity in airports can’t come soon enough.”

The stats back this up: 58% of airport travelers described the airport terminal as severely or moderately crowded (much like the 59% who said this in 2019), while 24% of travelers said they did not make any food or beverage purchases at the airport because they were too expensive (up slightly from pre-pandemic levels). Parking is definitely getting worse: Satisfaction with surface parking lots to decline 45 points from 2021, and 14% of travelers said parking was more expensive than they expected, also up from last year.

Still, there were some positive notes in the report: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport was the top “mega” airport in customer satisfaction, with Tampa International Airport scoring highest amongst “large” airports and Indianapolis International Airport in medium markets.

The study, now in its 17th year, culls data from 26,529 completed surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who rank categories such as terminal facilities, airport arrival/departure, baggage claim, security check, check-in/baggage check and food/beverage/retail.