Raleigh-Durham International Airport is not only in a new class in terms of airport size but also is improving its satisfaction score with customers, according to a new study from J.D. Power.

After ranking 11th among medium-sized airports in 2018, RDU ranks fifth among large airports as it moves to the new category based on an more than 8 percent increase in traffic growth to over 12 million. RDU expects to handle 14 million passengers this year.

RDU’s performance also improved by 17 points to 804 on the J.D. Power 1,000 point scale compared to last year, an increase far above the overall airport performance rating which greew by only one point. Average score for large airports is 765.

The growth past 10 million vaulted RDU into the large category from medium.

J.D. Power graphic

Lare airport rankings from J.D. Power

Airports in Portland, Dallas,  Tampa and Orange County California ranked ahead of RDU.

Charlotte Douglas International ranked 10th among so-called mega airports (32 million plus passengers) with a score of 763.

J.D. Power is a global marketing information services companythat conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms.

The good news for RDU comes as improvements and expansion continues at the airport.

“We are thrilled that passengers consider RDU one of the top five best large airports in North America,” said Michael Landguth, CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, in a statement. “We strive to provide a world-class airport experience and we are continuing to upgrade our facilities and amenities to make traveling through RDU even easier and more welcoming.”

Asked about changes and additions being made across the airport, RDU noted:

  • Added new air service, including bringing in Spirit Airlines and adding more nonstop destinations to our service map
  • Brought in retail and restaurant offerings with a North Carolina flavor and expanded hours to meet customer demand, with some shops opening as early as 4 a.m.
  • Launched an online parking reservation system that allows travelers to book parking at the lowest price and get guaranteed entry into the lot of their choice
  • Launched new parking options such as Park Express, which is a trunk-to-terminal service
  • Added two lanes to the checkpoint in Terminal 2  in May to move passengers through security faster. We will open two additional security lanes next year.
  • Made on campus improvements with new signage
  • United Airlines opened a new United Club, which marks RDU’s third airline club. RDU is the first airport in the United Airlines network to add a club in more than a decade.

In the survey, J.D. Power noted that construction at airports nationwide held down growth in customer satisfaction overall.

For more details, read the announcement from J.D. Power.

RDU plans $500M in ‘transformative changes’ to ease congestion at terminals

“With major terminal construction projects now underway in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and many other airports, it is becoming impossible for travelers not to experience some form of disruption,” said Michael Taylor at J.D. Power. “While these projects are absolutely necessary to address surging demand, they are currently causing passenger delays and confusion. This translates into a rushed passenger experience and less money spent on food, beverage and retail—and it’s slowing the progress of the airport satisfaction we’ve seen in the past several years.”

Passengers are asked to rate airports on a wide variety of topics:

  • Airport Accessibility (getting to and leaving the airport)
  • Check-In/Baggage Check
  • Security Check
  • Food, Beverage and Retail
  • Terminal Facilities (concourses, lounges, signage, restrooms, and gate areas)
  • Baggage Claim
  • Immigration/Customs