A Tampa Bay area institution is back on the honor roll of a popular survey after being slapped with a below-average grade.
Tampa International Airport tied for third among 21 medium-sized North American airports in a nationwide customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates. Overall, TIA tied for No. 14 of 60 airports reviewed and was one of only seven that improved over 2007. "Tampa really rebounded," said Jim Gaz, a J.D. Power senior director.
Last year's subpar rating — 14th among 25 mid-sized airports and No. 37 out of 61 overall — stung TIA officials. Since opening in 1971, it's been a favorite in passenger polls and travel magazine surveys. "We were convinced something was not right," said airport spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan.
More than 21,000 travelers surveyed from April 2007 to March 2008 gave airports their worst ratings since 2002, Gaz said. TIA scored at or near the top in easy access, check-in and security screening.
Passengers cited easy parking and traveler dropoffs. They liked the curbside baggage check-in and how quickly they obtained a boarding pass at terminal kiosks. Security checks took a bit longer (16-minute average) and officers weren't as professional as last year, travelers said. But their screening experience ranked tops among airports of similar size.