Although traveling has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years as generations become increasingly dependent upon sharing their lives and adventures on social media, many jetsetters still dread going to the airport. Between the long waits at security checkpoints, time spent hanging around the carousels at baggage claims, and the terrible food served in the terminals, there are numerous complaints from airline passengers.
While the general feeling about airport travel seems overwhelmingly negative, passenger satisfaction has actually reached an all time high in the United States, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Airports throughout the nation have continuously upgraded their facilities over the last few years, causing more delays in service, but travelers still reported higher satisfaction scores in nearly all of the following categories: security check; check-in and baggage check; food, beverage, and retail; terminal facilities; baggage claim; and accessibility.
The largest contributions to higher passenger satisfaction were the check-in and the food, beverage, and retail experiences—showing that the construction enhancements and new amenities are not going unnoticed. Meanwhile, the addition of self-service kiosks at check-in has reduced much of the frustration caused by waiting in long lines and provided the extra benefit of allowing passengers to move at their own pace for tagging luggage and printing boarding passes. These simple factors of decreasing frustration during the check-in process and improving food and retail experiences have led to the highest-ever overall customer satisfaction in the 13 years since the J.D. Power survey was established.
Decreasing frustration during the check-in process and improving food and retail experiences have led to the highest-ever overall customer satisfaction.
In a separate study conducted by travel site Upgraded Points, the criteria for choosing the best and worst airports across the states included not only the overall satisfaction factors from the J.D. Power survey, but also the timeliness of flights, ease of access to the nearest city center, and airport amenities. While San Francisco International Airport and Sacramento International Airport ranked in the top five, Hollywood Burbank Airport scored poorly and ranked in the worst 10 airports across the country.
And now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for:
The best airports in California
1. John Wayne Airport (SNA)
2. Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
3. Ontario International Airport (ONT)
4. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
5. Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)
6. San Diego International Airport (SAN)
7. San Jose International Airport (SJC)
8. Oakland International Airport (OAK)
9. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)