December 19th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

We can all argue about who’s going to have the worst travel experience this holiday, but not all flights are created equal, and some airports are better than others. J.D. Power confirms this fact in its North American Airport Satisfaction Study, released last Thursday.

The study, now in its 11th year, measures overall customer satisfaction with domestic airports, drawing from the responses of 38,931 United States travelers in six criteria. These are, in order of importance:

1.Terminal facilities;
2. Airport accessibility;
3. Security check;
4. Baggage claim;
5. Check-in and baggage check;
6. Food, beverage, and retail.

The good news is that, despite a 5-6% increase in traveler volume, customer satisfaction has continued to rise across the board in large and medium airports.

“Many airports, especially the nation’s largest airports, were never built to handle the current volume of traveler traffic, often exceeding their design limits by many millions of travelers,” said Michael Taylor, director of the airport practice at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Yet airports are overcoming infrastructure limits by affecting the things they can influence. Airports are successfully applying technology to improve check-in (+5 points year-over-year), security screening (+3 points) and the food, beverage and retail shopping (+10 points) experiences.”

The findings also confirm my suspicion that trips to and from New York and Los Angeles have the potential to be among the worst ones. Major airports in both of these world-class cities (LAX, JFK, and LaGuardia), ranked among the lowest of the larger airports. I wouldn’t go as far as to agree with Donald Trump who referred to them as “third-world” institutions, but there are a few places I’d rather spend a few hours. Luckily I’ll be going flying out with Virgin, who many would say usually does a good job to make the journey pleasant.

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