10 things that great airports do

If all airports provide the same basic service, how is it that some seem to get the recipe just right?  What makes those airports so good? Why are they able to provide an experience you look forward to while others provide one that you will go to great lengths to avoid?

Seoul Incheon Airport

Working with over 300 airports, we’ve been able to see first-hand how some of the best manage their passenger experience. While they each manage their business in their own special way there are some common practices that are worth noting.

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Why should airports care about the passenger experience?

One of the questions I’m regularly asked is “can you prove a direct link between passenger satisfaction and airport profitability?”


Unfortunately the answer is quite simply “no”. There are too many other variables which dominate the issue such as quality of shopping, attractiveness of shops and restaurants, local culture etc. More importantly it is rare that we see a big improvement in the passenger experience without a complete renovation of the terminal and the commercial environment so it’s very difficult to say that passenger satisfaction was the driving force in improving profitability. Equally it’s an impossible task comparing airports as the passenger experience is not always driven by commercial opportunities.

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Small airports providing a fantastic passenger experience

I recently returned from a trip to South Africa and had the good fortune to visit Upington in the Kalahari desert. I had heard many good things about Upington airport and given its high ASQ score was keen to see what makes it special.


Upington is known for its fruit, wines and the heat – being in the Kalahari temperatures regularly rise to temperatures I normally only experience opening the oven.
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