For now, the glamor of air travel has been tarnished by labor shortages at airlines and airports around the world, not just in Canada.
Despite the obvious challenges of recent times, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) still delivers an above-average experience for overall customer satisfaction among North American airports in 2022, according to new research from the consulting firm Michigan-based consumer, JD Power.
In the “Large Airports” size category, YVR ranks 11th with 794 points out of a possible 1,000 points — just behind international airports in San Antonio (802 points) and Sacramento (798 points), but ahead of Nashville (790 points) and Washington Dulles (789 points). With 846 points, Tampa tops the list of “large airports,” which had a size category average of 784 points.
YVR’s 2022 ranking represents a drop from its pre-pandemic 2019 ranking of sixth place with 801 points in the same size category.
However, YVR is, in fact, the only Canadian airport to rank above average not just for the “large airport” size category, but for any category in the 2022 study.
Calgary International Airport (YYC) ranked just below the “large airport” average, with 780 points and a ranking of 17th. Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is further down the list, with a ranking of 22nd out of 766 points. Philadelphia International Airport has the lowest customer satisfaction score of the “major airports” with 729 points.
In the 2019 rankings, YYC was right on point with that year’s average “large airport” score of 765 points, while YUL was below average with 750 points.
No Canadian airport is classified in the “medium airport” size category.
Canada is represented in the “mega-airport” ranking by Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), which ranked 16th in this size category with 755 points — below the category average of 769 points. YYZ is behind Denver (759 points) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental (758 points), but ahead of Boston Logan (754 points) and Los Angeles (753 points). Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had the highest “Mega Airports” ranking, with 800 points. YYZ fell from its 2019 ranking of 14th, but climbed to 745 points.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) ranked 13th with 764 points in 2019 – down from 16th in 2019, but up from 740 points.
To determine overall customer satisfaction, the study looked at six factors, namely terminal facilities, airport arrival/departure, baggage claim, security screening, check-in/screening luggage and food/beverage/retail.
“Large airports” are classified as airports with 10 million to 32.9 million passengers, while “mega airports” have 33 million or more passengers and “medium airports” have between 4.5 million and 9 .9 million passengers.
YVR ended the pre-pandemic 2019 year with an all-time high of 26.4 million passengers, and was previously expected to see over 30 million passengers per year in the early 2020s. YVR only hosted around seven million passengers for each of the 2020 and 2021 annual totals, but the 2022 figures so far are very promising, with the airport now seeing around two million passengers per month.
YVR is currently on track to reach approximately 20 million passengers for all of 2022, which is a much faster pace of recovery than expected.
“The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, nationwide labor shortages and steadily rising prices for everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water has created a scenario in which airports are extremely congested and passengers are growing increasingly frustrated — and it’s likely through 2023,” Michael Taylor, head of travel intelligence at JD Power, said in a statement.
“In some ways this is a return to normal, as larger crowds at airports tend to make travelers more frazzled, but in cases where car parks are overcrowded, doors are reserved for standing room and restaurants and bars are not even open to offer a reprieve. , it is clear that increasing airport capacity cannot happen soon enough.
The study found that overall customer satisfaction with North American airports fell 25 points to 77 points in 2022 due to widespread flight cancellations and crowded terminals. More than half (58%) of airport travelers describe the airport terminal as heavily or moderately crowded, which is similar to the 59% recorded in the same survey in 2019.
Almost a quarter (24%) of travelers said they did not purchase food/drinks at the airport due to high prices. This figure is up from 20% in 2021 and 23% in 2019.
The shortage of parking spaces at airports also caused satisfaction with surface car parks to drop by 45 points between 2021 and 2022.
In 2022, YVR ended its 12th consecutive year of being named by Skytrax as the best airport in North America. SEA, which opened a massive US$1 billion expansion earlier this year, has now claimed that title from its neighbor.