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The Worst Airport In America

Recently J.D. Power released its 2018 North American Airport Satisfaction Study. Overall passenger satisfaction is at an all-time record high of 761 on a 1,000 point scale. John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA earned the highest airport score with 815 points. However, some airports, despite their constant projects and efforts to improve, upgrade and modernize futuristically are placed at the bottom due to a host of factors. As an example, Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago, Boston, and NYC area airports all have multi-billion dollar construction projects that unfortunately inconvenience passengers despite construction efforts to provide modern convenience. In other words, long term progress is affecting current progress.

Six different factors were taken into consideration:1) terminal facilities 2) airport accessibility 3) security check, 6) food, beverage, and retail. Data was compiled between September 2017-2018 among 40,183 polled who traveled through at least one North American airport prior to being surveyed. The results were as follows:

10) Boston 747 points

9) Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International 744

8) Louis Armstrong New Orleans International 743

7) * tie between 7 & 6

6) Honolulu 736 (tie) Philadelphia International 736

5) * tie between 5 & 4

4) Chicago O’Hare 735 (tie) LAX 735

3) KCMO International 733

2) Newark Liberty International 701

1) LaGuardia 678

For many traveling to the US for the first time, the airport is the first interaction with America. Many of the nation’s major airports aren’t too welcoming. Between the crowds, congested traffic, taxi/rideshare rodeo, many US airports resemble that of inner activity of an ant hill. LAX handles on average 84 million travelers annually. As mega airports, serious impediments are inevitable. Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport handles 104 million annually. O’Hare airport handles 80 million, while Dallas Ft Worth (DFW) handles 67 million. But what gives Newark such a black eye? One such issue is the poor selection of food choices coupled with astronomical prices. Given the high rate of travelers, there are bound to be a host of problems, namely flight delays. Fall and winter season snow storms, commonly referred to as “Nor’ easters” only makes the inner workings more burdensome.

A 2017 survey revealed that only 66.7% of incoming flights during the summer (June-September) arrived on time over a ten year time span (2007-2016). This clearly suggests a pattern and culture of inefficiency. In a 2016 article appearing in Travel & Leisure Magazine, Newark was awarded the highest “misery score”. The misfortunate airport had among a host of other negative ratings, the lowest waits to take off, and the longest disembarkation times. The airport is labeled by some as simply dirty and ugly. Some travelers who’ve experienced repeated horrific experiences with Newark, have opted to commute to JFK, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia airports. However, these airports don’t fare much better.

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