Tampa International Airport may not be the highest-rated major airport for customer service, but it's pretty close.
Tampa's airport came in second in J.D. Power and Associates' latest customer satisfaction analysis for top airports in North America.
Portland International Airport was the only other major airport to rank higher than Tampa with a score of 791 out of 1,000. Tampa's score was 776. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas was third at 759.
Tampa airport's easy layout and quick security check points, the number of bars and well-known restaurants and overall cleanliness helped it rise toward the top.
"The airport is the first impression of Tampa Bay for a business traveler. The fact that you can get from the gate to the car in no time flat, and the fantastic convenience and customer service there, is why they're ranked where they are," said J.P. DuBuque, interim president and president of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., who added that the airport's reputation helps stimulate local economic development.
J.D. Power collected data from July through October, while parts of the Tampa airport were under construction, said Danny Valentine, spokesman for the airport. And still, Tampa ranked high.
The study measures traveler satisfaction in large and medium airports across North America by examining terminal facilities, airport accessibility, security checks, baggage claim, check-in and terminal shopping. The average satisfaction rating of airports in general was better than in 2010, which was the last time the study was done.
"Most airports have really made a tremendous shift over the past six years and are now focused on managing the end-to-end experience for their travelers," said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. "It's no longer just about getting travelers from Point A to Point B as efficiently as possible; it's about making the airport experience enjoyable."