SLC airport received high marks in passenger satisfaction survey. Here’s why.

The airport improved its position in J.D. Power’s rankings by three places since last year.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Travelers move through Salt Lake City International Airport, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.

Despite facing record-high passenger volumes, an ongoing pilot shortage that has reduced the number of available flights, and repeated weather delays and cancellations, overall passenger satisfaction with North American airports improved this year, and Salt Lake City International Airport appears to be among travelers’ favorites.

The airport ranked third in the “large airports” category of consumer research firm J.D. Power’s recently released airport satisfaction survey, improving its position by three places since last year. Tampa International Airport claimed the group’s top spot, followed by John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

“It is an honor to be recognized as the third best large airport in the country by J.D. Power,” airport Executive Director Bill Wyatt said in a statement. “The entire airport team is focused on providing excellent customer service 365 days a year. We applaud each and every employee for their dedicated work and for making SLC International an award-winning airport.”

J.D. Power’s survey examines terminal facilities, airport arrival and departure, baggage claim, security checkpoints, check-in and baggage check, and food, beverage and retail.

Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead for J.D. Power., said Salt Lake City’s check-in process, security checkpoint, and food and beverage options helped drive the airport’s improved score.

The research firm split airports into three categories — medium, large and “mega” airports.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport claimed the top spot in the “mega airports” category, followed by Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minnesota and Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

Indianapolis International Airport was the top-ranked airport in the medium category, followed by Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers and Ontario International Airport in Southern California.

Salt Lake City’s new airport debuted in 2020 and is growing rapidly.

The final gates of Delta Air Lines-occupied concourse A are due to open at the end of next month. Concourse B, meanwhile, is slated for completion in 2027.

Next year, travelers are scheduled to get some relief from the much-lampooned walk to the B gates with the opening of the Central Tunnel.