Modern airports are focused on much more than travel. With fine dining options, luxury store fronts, exhibits and attractions, and even full-service spas, airports are zeroing in on providing a complete customer experience, in addition to travel.
Which airports provide the best customer experience? Airports Council International, the trade association of the world’s airports, conducts yearly passenger surveys to find out.
In 2015, ACI surveyed more than 550,000 from around the world about their travel experiences, ranking airports on categories like check-in, security, on-site amenities, and food and retail option.
Angela Gittens is the director general at ACI World. Gittens notes that airports are evolving and are often in competition with one another for passenger traffic. “From duty-free and restaurants to ambiance, cleanliness, courtesy of staff, amenities, efficiency and more, air travelers are expecting big things from airports through which they travel,” Gittens said.
Indianapolis International has won customers over, ranking first out of North American airports for the fourth consecutive year. The airport serves more than 7 million passengers a year, treating them to luxury amenities, ranging from an extensive art program, to local eateries, an apiary, a giant solar farm, and a roaming robot that interacts with customers in real time.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority’s director of public affairs, Angela Cain, attributes the airport’s success to the facility’s aesthetic appeal and the staff’s “Hoosier hospitality.” She added, “We are grateful to the hard-working Indianapolis Airport Authority staff, as well as our many business partners, for the customer service excellence they provide every day to our travelers. We wouldn’t win this award without them.”
There were ties for both second and third place among North American airports. In second place were Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Tampa, Dallas Love Field, Jacksonville and Ottawa. Third place winners were Austin, Detroit, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airports.
For North American airports serving less than 2 million passengers, Maine’s Portland International Jetport took the prize.
Among the world’s largest airports, serving more than 40 million passengers a year, there was a tie for the top spot between Seoul’s Incheon Airport and Singapore’s Changi Airport. Incheon boasts a skating rink and golf range, while travelers have access to a rooftop pool, four-story slide, and butterfly garden at Changi.
CEO of Wayne Country Airport Authority, which operates the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Thomas Naughton, said, “These awards are particularly meaningful, because they are based on real-time feedback from our customers, while they are traveling.”
The full list of the ACI 2015 Airport Service Quality Award winners is available on its website.
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