Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) was recently ranked as part of the J.D. Power 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, and the results of that study emphasize the great need for infrastructure investment at PHL.
PHL received a satisfaction score of 758 on a 1000-point scale. This was a 7-point improvement over PHL’s 2020 score, but placed PHL at the bottom of the large airport category for J.D. Power. The 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
Based on these factors, the J.D. Power survey examines the customer experience as it relates the physical experience of the airport terminals. PHL is routinely ranked among many national surveys and studies, measuring everything from airside operational efficiency to retail costs to amenities. J.D. Power in particular, however, hones in on the customer experience in the physical spaces of the airport.
Since its opening in 1940, PHL has built, renovated and connected a series of seven passenger terminals to build capacity and enhance the passenger experience. The newest terminal, A-West, was built in 2003, while all other terminals (A-East, B, C, D, E and F) have undergone renovations to improve and enhance specific areas like security, ticketing and baggage claims.
The airport is advancing a number of critical initiatives to transform the airport’s built environment, including a Master Plan Update that will conclude in late 2023 and set a path for the airport’s future for the next 20 years. This effort, combined with strategic emphasis on areas like increasing cargo capacity, restoring international travel, renovating every restroom and improving the guest experience, are all steps in the right direction to improve the airport’s ranking on customer service studies.
The greatest need for PHL, however, remains a major strategic investment in infrastructure improvements. The federal government's plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure presents a particular opportunity for PHL to receive a critically needed influx of funding to modernize terminals. Airport supporters are encouraged to contact their federally elected officials to ask that PHL is prioritized in the upcoming infrastructure bill.