Sea-Tac Named One of Three Worst Airports in America

After the height of the recent pandemic, I promised myself that I wouldn’t take for granted:  Restaurants, seeing a sporting event in person, or flying in and out of airports.

I'm sure most of you have traveled to any of the three busiest airports in the Pacific Northwest: Sea-Tac, Vancouver International (British Columbia Canada), and Portland International Airport.

How do these three Northwest airports compare with others in their class?

Vancouver and Portland, are considered large airports - due to their passenger volume being between 10 to 39.9 million flyers per year. Portland came in barely above average score, while Vancouver was graded “below average”  by J.D. Power and Associates annual “Passenger Satisfaction Survey.”

The three best large airport (2023)

1. Tampa International Airport

2. John Wayne Airport, Orange County

3. Salt Lake City International Airport


The three worst large airports (2023) 

27. Philadelphia International Airport

26. Honolulu International Airport

25. Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Sea-Tac deals with over 40 million passengers per year and falls into one of twenty mega-sized airports across North America. Unfortunately, Sea-Tac came in third from the bottom among mega airports.

This not-so-nice low rating for Sea-Tac comes after the airport was named the best airport in North America by Skytrax back in March of 2023.

Rare Seattle Snowstorm Strands Scores Of Travelers
Sea-Tac International Airport CREDIT: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The three worst mega airports (2023)

20. Newark Liberty International Airport

19. Toronto Pearson International Airport

18. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (down 5 from #13 in 2022)

The three best mega airports (2023)

1. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

2. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

3. Harry Reid International Airport

Spokane International Airport, the second busiest airport in Washington state didn't receive a J.D. Powers rating; which only evaluates - mega, large & medium-sized airports. Spokane is considered a "small airport" due to its average annual 4 million passengers served.

The J.D. Powers North America Airport Satisfaction Survey has passengers weigh in on * Quality and ease of getting to the airport/leaving the airport

* Pre-flight check-in/baggage check, 

* TSA/security check-in

* Overall food, beverage, and retail experience

* Quality of terminal concourse

* Lounges, signage

* Restrooms

* Post-flight baggage claim.


The 2023 study concluded that overall customer satisfaction with airports was slightly higher for all airports across North America, compared to last year. 

INFO: J.D.Power and Associates, KIRO 7 Seattle

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