What are America's favorite airports?

A new analysis rated airports for their terminal facilities, food and beverage and retail service, and baggage claim.
Inside the terminal of Detroit's airport.
Posted at 2:16 PM, Sep 20, 2023

With the Transportation Security Administration reporting traffic volume surpassing pre-pandemic levels, airports are busier than ever. 

While travelers don't want to spend too much time at airports, some airports rate highly for their amenities. 

Among airports that handle more than 33 million passengers a year, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport ranks as the No. 1 airport in customer satisfaction, J.D. Power reports. Among North America's busiest airports, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport ranked No. 2 while Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas ranked No. 3. 

Among large airports, those that handle 10 to 32.9 million passengers a year, Tampa International Airport ranks No. 1, followed by John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and Salt Lake City International Airport. 

Indianapolis International Airport ranks No. 1 among midsize airports that handle 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers annually. Indianapolis was followed by No. 2-ranked Southwest Florida International Airport and Ontario International Airport in California.

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Joby's pre-production prototype aircraft is shown.

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The rankings analyzed terminal facilities, food and beverage and retail service, and baggage claim. 

Newark Liberty International Airport had the worst customer satisfaction among mega airports, while Philadelphia International Airport ranked as the worst large airport. Kahului Airport in Hawaii ranked at the bottom among midsize airports. 

"It has not been an easy year for North American airports, but major capital improvements they’ve made over the last several years and new investments in getting food, beverage and retail operations back up and running at full capacity have helped them manage the crush of passengers," said Michael Taylor, managing director of travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power. "While airports are doing a good job coping with the current issues, there is still more they could do to improve passenger experience while also improving their own bottom lines."

One example of how major capital improvements improved customer satisfaction was at New York's LaGuardia Airport, which was dead last among large airports in 2019. J.D. Power noted that the airport has since improved its passenger flow, parking and terminal facilities.

J.D. Power said travelers who are satisfied tend to spend more in the terminal. Those who rate their airport experience a 10 out of 10 spend an average of $44 inside the airport. Those who rate their experience between a 1-5 out of 10 only spend about $29, J.D. Power said. 

The full rankings are available on J.D. Power's website.