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Labor Shortage, Rising Passenger Volumes Drag on Airport Traveler Satisfaction

J.D. Power: “With weekly airline passenger volumes now reaching 75% or more of pre-pandemic levels, travelers have officially come back to North American airports. Unfortunately, according to the J.D. Power 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, released today, many of them are arriving to find food, beverage and retail options severely limited as airports struggle with a persistent labor shortage. While airports have maintained historically strong customer satisfaction scores throughout the pandemic, reaching an overall record high of 802 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year, the combination of steadily rising passenger volumes and shuttered coffee shops and eateries has caused satisfaction scores to decline significantly through the second and third quarters of 2021 (last half of the study). “Airport customer satisfaction reached all-time highs when passenger volumes were severely suppressed by the pandemic, but as leisure travel rebounded sharply throughout the spring and summer of 2021, we saw an expected downturn in satisfaction,” said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “Ultimately, the data conveys changing expectations among travelers. Early in the pandemic, passengers were satisfied with any shop or restaurant being open, but they now expect full service at the airport.”…

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