By Talia Avakian
September 25, 2018
Credit: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

The facilities and services an airport offers can make a big difference when it comes to travelers' experiences.

Market research company J.D. Power last week released its 2018 North America Airport Satisfaction Rankings, highlighting the airports passengers are most and least satisfied with across North America. The report ranks mega airports (those with more than 32.5 million annual passengers), large airports (between 32.4 million and 10 million annual passengers), and medium sized airports (between 3 million and 9.9 million annual passengers).

More than 40,000 travelers ranked airports across six categories: terminal facilities, accessibility, security checks, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage, and retail offerings.

For mega airports, Las Vegas McCarran International and Orlando International tied in first place, followed by the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County.

Credit: Courtesy of JD Power

John Wayne Airport, in southern California, took first place in the large airport rankings, followed closely by Dallas Love Field. Oregon’s Portland international Airport and Nashville International Airport came in third and fourth, respectively.

Credit: Courtesy of JD Power

Buffalo Niagara International had the highest passenger satisfaction for medium airports, and Indianapolis International and Southwest Florida International ranked second and third.

Credit: Courtesy of JD Power

The report also found that airports are seeing a record high in overall passenger satisfaction thanks to improvements across several categories. The biggest improvements were in security and food, beverage, and retail offerings, with more airports offering local goods and staffing security checkpoints more efficiently in an attempt to reduce wait times. Customers were most satisfied overall with airports' check-in procedures, as more airlines have added self-check-in kiosks to speed up the process.

Not all airports showed improvement over last year, however. Newark Liberty International, in New Jersey, ranked last in the mega airports category due to accessibility difficulties and large numbers of passengers, according to J.D. Power's Travel Practice Lead Michael Taylor. Meanwhile, LaGuardia Airport — frequently the target of passengers' ire — ranked last in the large airport rankings due to ongoing construction.