Superior airport customer service can seem like an urban legend. However, there are some airports breaking the myth and providing passengers with a five-star customer experience or at least try. This is what we like to call excellent airport customer service.
The Airports Council International (ACI), a nonprofit organization based in Montreal with 591 members operating in 1,861 airports in 177 countries, surveys some 550,000 passengers each year to find out passenger satisfaction levels with their on-the-day experience at those airports participating in the program.
We think airports that care about our layover focus on what is necessary for passengers, not just to the airport. Providing simple things like a clean restroom or an inviting and uncomplicated atmosphere is essential to a happy airport experience.
Some airports like Duluth International Airport have even promised to deliver superior airport customer service via their “Above & Beyond Service Pledge.” Now that’s excellent airport customer service!
10 things airports do that show they care
1. They care about the unique needs of people passing through.
No two travelers are the same. Some are experienced road warriors while others are first-timers and some even travel with a group of young kids. We think superior airport customer service can cater to the unique needs of every traveler.
An airport that cares: London’s Heathrow trains airport staff on how to help travelers suffering from the complexities and anxiety of dementia. While Gatwick Airport has become an Autism Friendly airport and their team has been specially trained to help assist autistic passengers. Vancouver Airport teamed up with the Canadian Mental Health and introduced a new initiative called Fly Calm.
2. They communicate and reply via social media.
Nowadays we can use our smartphone or laptop and access all the information we need instantly. We can send an email or tweet a request. Airports that have responsive customer service show us they care about our experience.
3. They have airport customer service programs.
An airport that cares: DFW Airport has an airport customer service certificate.
4. They involve the community and are doing good for others.
An airport that cares: Sydney Airport auctions off lost luggage and gives the funds to charity; Dubai Airports’ latest charity campaign has raised AED1.25 million (US$ 340,600) for international eye care charity Orbis, and Toronto Pearson Airport collects money to fund location organizations making good things fly.
5. They have hydration stations.
We know airports are a costly place to step in. But a basic human need like water is prime price! There are many airports that have set up various hydration stations, so you no longer have to feel parched or dish out premium dollars.
An airport that cares: SFO’s Hydration Stations are located post-security in all Boarding Areas, Denver International Airport has four stations on each concourse, and recently we found many airport hydration stations in Philadelphia Airport. Follow our Airport Sunday Water share to get details where to find hydration stations at airports.
6. They have airport therapy dog programs.
An airport that cares: Lax Airport has daily dogs, and SFO Airport has a dedicated page of their dogs.
7. They have excellent airport design and are sustainable.
An airport that cares: San Diego International Airport is incubating The Good Traveler, a non-profit project that aims to “make travel sustainable” with the goal of making a positive impact on our environment.
8. They provide healthy eating options.
Forget bad airport food and the stale pre-wrapped sandwich. Many airports around the world are providing much better options than they have in the past.
An airport the cares: Miami International Airport has many places to eat fresh food and so so many airports around the world. At DFW, they have healthy options available inside all their terminals. Airport Food is going good and love it.
9. They have clean bathrooms.
The bathroom could be a decent place to escape from airport insanity. It’s a good time to brush your teeth, do your hair, or fix your makeup. So walking into a dirty bathroom will just generate a sad face. Boo hoo.
An airport the cares: MSP Airport bathrooms were voted the best in America.
10. They provide us with entertainment.
An airport that cares: Some airports have live music you can trance into, a piano you can play, even circus performers so you can laugh a bit.
We are obsessed with happy and airports that care to make our layover more humane. Airport therapy dogs, clean bathrooms and circus performers could help ease tensions, but many of us may not even notice while racing through the airport hustle.
For those who have bit more time embrace those things going on at airports, change the myth to a dream come true. After all who wants to be bored and sad before they board?
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UPDATED January 5, 2019