Check-in, security please users
March 31, 2004
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Airline travelers ranked Detroit Metropolitan Airport No. 4 among 13 large U.S. airports and No. 6 globally in an annual consumer satisfaction survey done by J.D. Power and Associates.
The airport's ranking is down two spots, both nationally and globally, but higher than its bottom ranking before the McNamara Terminal was built in 2002. And among U.S. business travelers, most of whom fly from the McNamara Terminal, the airport grabbed the No. 1 spot among large airports.
J. D. Power presented the findings of the 2003 airport passenger satisfaction study Tuesday to the Wayne County Airport Authority.
"The modifications they have put in place at the McNamara Terminal have had a positive impact on customer satisfaction," said Linda Hirneise, a J. D. Power partner. She said that overall travelers' experience at the old Smith Terminal was poorer than at the McNamara Terminal. She said the airport could rank among the top three in the world and even take the top spot in the United States if the airport could provide the same satisfaction at Smith Terminal.
"We are very pleased with the overall results of the survey," airport spokesman Michael Conway said. He said the survey reaffirms the airport's belief that the Smith Terminal needs to be demolished and replaced.
Metro slipped in ranking because of improvements in satisfaction at the Denver International Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
In the global rankings, Metro slipped two spots because Frankfurt (Germany) Airport, ranked No. 12 in the 2002 survey, rose to the No. 1 spot, and Denver rose to No. 2 from No. 7.
The survey ranked 61 airports globally, up from 46 in 2002. The airports fell into three categories: large, medium and small. For the survey, J.D. Power sent an e-mail invitation to residents in 16 countries during fall 2003. It received 12,095 responses, of which 218 were for Detroit.
A score of 1,000 on the index means perfection. Airports on average scored 622, and Metro scored 644.
Passengers were satisfied with Metro's check-in and security. In check-in, it ranked No. 1 in the country, up from No. 4 last year. In security check, the airport ranked No. 2, up from No. 3.
Customers were mainly dissatisfied with the airport's baggage claim. The airport ranked No. 12, improved from No. 16 in 2002.
Conway said, "The baggage claim needs to be addressed, and we would need to work with the airlines on that."
Meanwhile, the airport's board gave the go-ahead for $17.6 million in security improvements at the McNamara Terminal. Most of the funding would come from the Transportation Security Administration.
Airlines face more losses
The J. D. Power Passenger Satisfaction Index was based on surveys last fall of 12,000 travelers at U.S. airports, including 218 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport:
Denver International, 653
Minneapolis-St. Paul, 648
Las Vegas McCarran, 646
Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 644
Phoenix Sky Harbor, 639
Atlanta Hartsfield, 622
Large U.S. average 618
Source: J. D. Power and Associates