Denver airport customer satisfaction rebounds in new ratings

Travelers passing through Denver International Airport reported better experiences with check in, security, dining and the overall airport facility, according to an annual airport ratings released today.

Denver’s ranking rose from 14th last year to tie for seventh place with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Orlando International airports in the “mega” category of the J.D. Power’s 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. The category includes airports that see 33 million passengers or more per year.

The study is based on 27,000 survey responses from United States or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one airport in those countries between August 2022 and July.

Travelers rated airports in six categories: terminal facilities; airport arrival or departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in or baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.

Denver received a rating of 777 out of 1,000 points, which was slightly above the average score of 772 and an improvement from the airport’s 2022 score of 759.

DIA’s lower rating in 2022 came with traveler frustrations over the airport’s security checkpoints, which are known for backing up into baggage claims on busy days and were particularly snarled with ongoing terminal construction.

But better customer ratings of security was the biggest piece of Denver’s higher score this year, said Michael Taylor, managing director for travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power.

“Anything that happens at the beginning of the process generally has positive effects on the rest of the process,” Taylor said. “The terminal facility, food and beverage and check-in scores went up, but security probably had the biggest impact on the score.”

A portion of the airport’s north main checkpoint was closed as part of $2.1 billion terminal renovation, but airport officials replaced the lost screening lanes and implemented new programs to improve wait times, like a free reservation service to book security screenings in advance. The Transportation Security Administration also resolved staffing shortages this summer.

U.S. and Canadian airports saw overall improvements in customer satisfaction, according to the study. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport was the highest-ranked mega airport with a score of 800 and Tampa International was the best large airport with a score of 832. Indianapolis International Airport was the highest-ranked medium airport and the highest-scoring airport overall with a score of 843.

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