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Traveler Insights

The Check In Process*

  • The airline check-in process is positively viewed.
    • 28% now report they regularly use a self service kiosk to obtain a boarding pass
  • Ratings continue to improve over previous surveys regarding:
    • Time to check-in
    • Professionalism of staff
    • Courtesy of screening staff
  • However, the appearance of the check-in area is too cluttered and disorganized

Security Check Point - TSA*

  • Traveler opinions of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) continue to fluctuate. A slippage in ratings of "staff appearance", "organization of area" and "professional attitude" at the check point has been noted.
  • Satisfaction is evident in opinions about:
    • Thoroughness of scanning
    • Courtesy of screeners
    • Feeling safer than in the past

Visible Security*

  • Travelers continue to demand visible security airside on the Concourses. Currently there is almost none. This has been a complaint since 9/11.


  • 73% of travelers report making a purchase at a concession. Of this, 68% is for food and beverage, news at 25% and retail at 11%.
    • Much of this is due to a reduction by airlines of in-flight service, discount carrier growth and increased free time.
    • When purchases are made, 4% are before security, 79% after security and 17% both before and after security.

Parking On/Off Airport*

  • Generally, cost and security are the two greatest complaints. Overall, parkers are more satisfied with off-airport facilities than those run by the airport.

* Surveys of 16,000 O & D Travelers - 2002-2003

Operating In The New Normal - An Update

The industry is settling down, accepting new ways of doing business and trying to meet traveler demands. New rules are being written almost daily.

While travel is still well below pre 9/11 levels it has regained some vitality. However, the "new" post 9/11 traveler is much different.

The business traveler is traveling with fewer people and electing to compromise schedule flexibility for lower fares. They are seeking "discount" carriers . . . Jet Blue, Southwest, ATA and Song. These will become the travel norm in the near future. In fact, Jet Blue was just named the best U.S. Low Fare Airline by Conde Nast Traveler.

In addition, airport operators and businesses have witnessed dramatic changes in flight-day travel patterns and in-terminal activity among passengers who have returned to airports. More extensive security procedures have resulted in restricted concourse access for greeters and well-wishers, earlier passenger check-ins, longer waits and greater dwell times, and have brought wide-scale reports of decreased customer service and declining passenger satisfaction.

Airlines have restricted service, reduced routes and are dealing with their own financial stability, several recently filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. and more are expected to follow. As such, many of the customer service needs the airlines once met have been shifted to the airport adding greater stress. Discount carriers are beginning to dominate travel.

The 200,000 individual airport user interviews conducted annually by Airport Interviewing & Research, Inc. clearly indicates that the expectations and requirements of airport passengers and other patrons are dynamic and will continue to change. They are, without doubt dramatically different from those post 9/11. Customer service has been redefined.

To continue to be successful, airports must adopt and maintain a flexible relevant approach; they must integrate customer service marketing concepts into their decision-making, security, and planning process. The process of anticipating, stimulating, developing, managing and satisfying the needs and wants of the broad base of users/customers and the creation of satisfied passengers/customers will generate new revenue and lead to achievement of the airport’s development and customer service goals.



Traveler Insights
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