Misery – true airport misery

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Nashville Metropolitan Airport has just been rated ‘7th least miserable airport in the USA’, according to a report in The Tennesean.

As accolades go, that probably ranks somewhere alongside the performance of the Irish swimming team one year at the Olympics, summed up by a commentator who reported in his daily summary: “No Irishman drowned in the pool today…”

Nashville’s ranking was contained in the Airport Misery Index, published by US News & World Report, in association with aviation consultancy group The Boyd Group.

The Index used data from the Bureau of Transportation regarding on-time performance and load factor (the % of seats filled with passengers). The airports were then ranked according to each of these variables. The two rankings were then added together, weighting them equally.

That produced an ‘index’ number, ranking airports from 1 (best) to 47 (worst). According to the AMI – yes, let’s give it an acronymn all of its own, as it is such a brilliant idea – the airports that rank the best have the most on-time flights and the least-crowded planes.

While we’re not sure that airports should be penalised for having crowded planes – after all that is simply good management and a sign of popularity – the index offers an intriguing insight into how consumers might perceive the travel business.

And the ‘winners’? Here are the top 10 ‘least miserable’ and the top 10 most miserable. 

‘Least Miserable’

1. Metropolitan Oakland International Airport

2. William P Hobby (Houston)

3. San Jose International

4. Dallas Love Field

5. Lambert International (St Louis)

6. Kansas City International

7. Nashville Metropolitan  

Most miserable

1. Detroit Metro Wayne County

2. Chicago O’Hare

3. Charlotte Douglas International

4. New York JFK

5. Newark Liberty International

6. Minneapolis St Paul International

7. Fort Lauderdale International

What would happen if a similar index was applied to world airports in terms of retail or food & beverage? One could take criteria such as value for money, service levels, product selection, store ambience and information on security regulations in the retail index. For food & beverage it could be freshness, service, value for money and cleanliness.

It would certainly offer a more accurate and relevant insight into the real merits of various airport F&B and retail offers than most current industry ‘award’ schemes do.

Yes, this could be big… can you imagine that Irish commentator reporting on the worst-ranked airport in the food & beverage category? “No-one died of food poisoning this year at Airport X…”

Or in the retail category: “None of the hundreds of thousands of seriously unhappy shoppers at Airport Y this year mounted street protests at how badly they had been treated in being sold goods that were later confiscated at another airport.”

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