A new J.D. Power airport satisfaction survey placed Logan airport near the bottom of the pack for a second year in a row. Out of 19 of the country’s largest airports, Logan placed 16th with a score of 739 out of 1,000 points.
According to Michael Taylor, the lead researcher on the survey, Logan is a victim of its own success. As passenger volume increases, traffic headaches grow and more people fill the terminals.
“To be a good airport, people need to get to the airport in a reasonable amount of time,” Taylor said. “They have to get through security in a reasonable amount of time. And the bathroom has to be clean. There needs to be a reasonable number of seats for people while they’re waiting, and their bag should come within 15 or 20 minutes of when they land.”
Survey takers indicated these are not Logan’s current strengths.
“So Boston, as you know . . . it’s a difficult airport to get to,” he added. “On top of that you have construction, which creates more delays. That immediately affects the mindset.”
Despite the lagging numbers, Taylor said Logan is making all the right decisions to improve the facility, such as adding local restaurants, which has been a trend at airports over the past 20 years. Logan opened a food hall in Terminal B that includes local eateries such as Kelly’s Roast Beef, Cisco Brew Pub, and Sullivan’s.
“The airports that score high in our studies are the ones that most often give people a sense of place,” he said. “They want to know that they’re in Boston, or Indianapolis, or Portland, Oregon.”
Improvements aside, the survey found that Logan travelers were least impressed by the airport’s terminal facilities, food and beverage offerings, and their experience arriving and departing the airport.
The survey comes just two weeks after Logan and Delta airlines unveiled a multimillion dollar renovation of Terminal A. The refreshed American Airlines Terminal B also was completed over the past year.
The study, in its 14th year, was conducted from October 2018 through September 2019 and is based on responses from more than 32,000 US and Canadian residents who had traveled through at least one US or Canadian airport in the previous three months. Travelers evaluated either a departing or arriving flight.
“Surveys like the J.D. Power report are helpful in letting us know how passengers feel about their experience at Logan,” said Massport spokeswoman Samantha Decker. “Unfortunately, construction is imperative to improving our aging facilities and infrastructure.”
Coming in at the top of the customer satisfaction survey were Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International, and McCarran International in Las Vegas. The only airports to score lower than Logan were O’Hare in Chicago, Los Angeles International, and Newark Liberty. Newark scored nearly 100 points lower than Detroit International.
Logan falls into the survey’s category of “mega airport,” which means an airport that services 33 million or more passengers per year.
Until construction and changes are complete at Logan – an expanded Terminal E is up next – Taylor said Logan’s ranking likely won’t budge.
“It just takes a lot of time, and you’re trying to operate an airport while you’re trying to do all these construction projects,” he said. “We find that a lot of airports are bubbling up or down because of these construction projects.”