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Passenger Happiness Depends on Airport and Money Spent There

New research shows airports in the Middles East and Asia have the highest satisfaction rates. 

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Overall traveler satisfaction with the airport experience is on the rise, up 13 percent from 2018, according to new research from the Collinson Group, a global loyalty and benefits company. The study also shows that happiness levels among passengers vary greatly depending on which airports they use and how much money a traveler spends while there. 

The Airport Journey Global Report surveyed more than 6,600 people across 11 countries and found that travelers from Asia and the Middle East are more likely to enjoy the airport experience than those traveling from the United States and Europe. For example, India reported nearly twice the satisfaction rate (86 percent) compared with the U.S. (49 percent). 

The report notes this gap might be due in part to the fact that Western airports are on average much older than those in Asia and the Middle East, where many ultramodern, technology-enhanced airports such as Singapore Changi have been built. In fact, 10 of the world's oldest airports are in Europe and the U.S. 

The study also found that the happiest passengers tend to be those who spend the most money at the airport. Nearly 90 percent of travelers who shelled out more than $200 while waiting to fly reportedly enjoy the airport experience, compared with 40 percent of those who spend less than $28. 

"Infrastructure alone does not deliver traveler satisfaction," said Mignon Buckingham, corporate strategy officer for Collinson. "With so many innovative travel-experience solutions now coming to market, this is an exciting time for airports in every region to consider new ways to boost traveler satisfaction and spend... A brand-new terminal might look impressive to a traveler, but unless the services offered are equally cutting-edge, customers won’t be satisfied. Airports in the U.S. and Europe must seek out solutions that enable a seamless journey and offer unexpected moments of delight, so that no matter the age of the infrastructure, travelers enjoy a world-class airport experience."