Report: Top Three Most Stressful U.S. Airports

Well kids, this week begins the busy 2012 holiday travel season.  Is it just me, or did Thanksgiving just sneak up on us?  So just in time for Thanksgiving travel, the folks at the online travel and expense management company Concur have come out with a new survey on the most — and least — stressful airports in America. Concur hired KRC Research, which interviewed 1000 adults in the U.S. and another 500 in Canada between Aug. 13 and 21.

I was not surprised to see that the top three are Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles International and JFK airports.  But regular readers here know I’m not happy when JFK is lumped into one, especially since the experience changes from terminal to terminal.  Of the ones I’ve been to, I find JetBlue’s T5 and JFKIAT’s T4 to be perfectly fine, while we all know the hell that is Delta’s Terminal 3.

 Almost 60% of the survey respondents disliked the vastness between gates and terminals at Chicago O’Hare, while nearly half (49 percent) agreed that JFK had some of the longest lines. Other leading factors of stress at airports across the country included:

  • Confusing airport signage (28 percent)
  • Poor service from airport staff (28 percent)
  • Not enough or crowded bathrooms (19 percent)

The survey touched on two of my pet peeves — poor WiFi coverage (19%) and a lack of electrical outlets (18%).

On the good news side, the Concur survey, business travelers named Dallas-Fort Worth as the most hassle-free airport, thanks to clear signage (42%), good Wi-Fi coverage (41%) and a variety of quality food options (41%).  Others seen as stress-free include Orlando International Airport and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, among my top 10 favorite airports.

Concur’s mission is to improve the business travel experience by making it as efficient and hassle-free as possible, said Barry Padgett, executive vice president of ConcurPlatform Services.  “We do so by not only providing integrated travel and expense management solutions for companies of all sizes, but by also ensuring business travelers are as informed as possible when they venture out on their trips,” he said.  “Travel can be stressful and by issuing this study, we hope to help business travelers be more prepared for the challenges these airports can present.”

Padgett found it interesting that twice as many respondents said O’Hare was more stressful than LAX or any other airport in the U.S.  “Additionally, stress factors that made the list, such as ‘poor Wi-Fi’ and ‘insufficient amounts of electrical outlets’ support the business travel industry’s trend of being more reliant on technology than ever before,” he observed.

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