Airline passenger numbers are way down. Many airports still feeling sort of empty, with many shops and restaurants closed or operating on reduced schedules. And buying a plane ticket right now comes with a lot of “what ifs” and few perks.
So, it is an interesting time to a look at the findings of J.D. Power’s 2020 North American Airport Satisfaction Study.
First, the “winners”
The survey put airports up against each other in three categories: “mega” airports with 33 million or more passengers per year; large airports with 10 to 32.9 million passengers per year; and medium airports with 4.5 to 9.9 million passengers per year.
The airports are scored on a 1,000 point scale that takes into account passenger satisfaction with factors that include terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail, in order of importance.
As with everything else right now, the coronavirus pandemic has put a twist into this year’s airport satisfaction rankings.
The overall customer satisfaction score for North American airports is up this year, to a record-high 784, which is 22 points up from 2019.
Good news, right? Sort of.
“Compared to the pre-COVID-19 environment when most airports were running significantly over capacity, the lack of crowds and long lines is actually creating a convenient experience for travelers right now,” says Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, in the study notes.
“Obviously, this lower passenger volume is not sustainable for most airports. Airport managers are doing all they can to provide a safe and clean environment to facilitate a rebound in travel,” he adds.
Here are top five airports in each category. You can see the full rankings here.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (805)
Miami International Airport (801)
McCarran International Airport (797)
Denver International Airport (793)
John F. Kennedy International Airport (793)
Dallas Love Field (844)
John Wayne Airport, Orange County (837)
Tampa International Airport (837)
William P. Hobby Airport (823)
Portland International Airport (814)
Indianapolis International Airport (866)
Palm Beach International Airport (833)
Southwest Florida International Airport (829)
Albuquerque International Sunport (826)
Pittsburgh International Airport (826)
What about the airports at the bottom of each list?
In the mega category, Newark Liberty International Airport was at the bottom of the list, with a score of 733, just below Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which had a score of 758.
Among large airports, New York’s LaGuardia Airport (in the middle of a much-heralded make-over) ranked lowest, with a score of 712.
And for medium airports, Hawaii’s Kahului Airport was at the bottom of the list, with a 745 score.
Baseball is back. (Sort of). And Alaska Airlines has a fun promo running with the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants.
Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants fans – or anyone – can enter to win one million miles as part of Alaska’s Million-Mile Home Run Sweepstakes. Register with your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number, or sign up to get one free.
As a bonus, each week of the season Alaska Airlines will also pick one winner to receive air travel and tickets to 2021 Spring Training.
We also found an easy to enter sweepstakes from Bojangles. Prizes include $2,500 in cash, a $500 hotel gift card, a $500 gas card, a $500 rental car gift card, and $500 to spend at Bojangles.
The robots are part of an installation titled “Electro-Symbio Phonics for Phoenix,” by Nam June Paik.
What you’ll see: a mother, father, and child robot in an athletic pose with arms raised nearly touching the ceiling. Their heads, appendages, and torsos consist of 63 televisions blitzing with fast-paced video clips of sports highlights, popular culture, and desert imagery.
Ready to reconsider cruising?
Do you think you – and the world – might be ready to embrace cruising again in a year or so? Then you might want to go all-in on Viking’s new 2021-2022 Viking World Cruise. The trip will last 136 days, with visits to 27 countries and 56 ports.
The ship sets sail in Fort Lauderdale on December 24, 2021. After visiting ports of call in Central America, transiting through the Panama Canal, and going up the West Coast of North America, the ship will cross the Pacific Ocean and visit Hawaii. From there it’s off to New Zealand and Australia, Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean before ending in London.
Too long a trip for you? There’s a shorter, 119-day sailing. The 2022 Viking World Horizons which departs from Los Angeles on January 10, 2022, and visits 22 countries and 49 ports before ending in London.
Prices (which include lots of extras, such as business class airfare and transfers to and from the ship) start at $49,995 per person for the 2021-2022 Viking World Cruise and $45,995 for the 2022 World Cruise Horizons (based on double occupancy).
The collection includes nearly 900 artworks, 35 exhibition spaces in six buildings and the Phoenix Aviation Archive.
Look for the art in both terminals and at the Rental Car Center. There’s also a treat at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station, which is home to a restored vintage World War I aircraft, the SPAD XIII.
2. The PHX Navigator Buddies
PHX is one of a growing list of airports where teams of therapy dogs and their handlers regularly visit the terminals to hang out with travelers and help de-stress the journey. Here they’re called the PHX Navigator Buddies.
3. The Fitness Trail at PHX
The Sky Harbor Fitness Trail at PHX is located post-security in Terminal 4 and is measured out to just a little over one mile from Gate A30 to Gate D8.
The trail is part of FitPHX, a city of Phoenix initiative intended to help get Phoenix residents into better shape. In addition to getting some exercise, travelers who walk the trail are rewarded with views of the downtown Phoenix skyline, beautiful Camelback Mountain and more.
4. Animal relief areas at PHX
PHX goes all out with the pet relief areas for pups and has seven pre and post-security cute-as-a-puppy places where dogs can take care of business. There are even animal relief areas at the PHX Sky Train stations.
5. The souvenirs at PHX Airport
We’ve found some charming – and quirky – souvenirs in the shops at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Here are just a few of our favorites.
5 Things We Love About Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is part of an ongoing series here at StuckatTheAirport.com.
If you’d like to sponsor one of the installments, get in touch.
Phoenix is home to the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery and right now passengers traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are being treated to an exhibit featuring nine hand-crafted guitars, including both acoustic and electric style.
Exhibition highlights include Scott Walker’s hand-painted “patina” guitar (above), which has wood body that resembles oxidized metal. Also on display: an unusual 26-string harp-guitar by William Eaton and an electric mandolin by Joe Vallee, whose instruments are collected by prominent musicians like Steve Miller.
Visitors to the PHX Airport Museum exhibit will also find displays of the guitar-making process. Parts of a guitar are presented in an exploded view showing how a guitar is constructed. And the various stages of shaping the wood components of a guitar are explained.
Phoenix Airport Museum’s exhibition, Shaping Sound: The Art of Guitar Making, is on view in two display cases at Terminal 4, level 2 near ticketing through May 2020.
The 30-year old Phoenix Airport Museum has more than 900 pieces in its collection. The museum presents exhibits featuring both items from the collection and from area artists in several galleries throughout the airport.