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Passengers relax at California's Long Beach Airport. Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

One upside of the global pandemic is that airports are a lot more pleasant these days.

The big picture: A year ago, overcrowding and construction led to delays and confusion for travelers at many major airports.

  • Today, airports are comparatively empty, leading to a sharp increase in traveler satisfaction as passengers breeze through security checkpoints, baggage claims and food and retail services, according to a new study.

Details: Overall customer satisfaction was a record-high 784 (on a scale of 1,000), up 22 points from 2019 in J.D. Power's annual airport satisfaction study.

  • The check-in process, food and retail shops saw significant improvements, while passengers also gave airports high marks for cleanliness, less crowding and lower noise levels.

What they're saying: “Compared to the pre-COVID-19 environment when most airports were running significantly over capacity, the lack of crowds and long lines is actually creating a very convenient experience for travelers right now." said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power.

The highest-ranking major airports were Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Miami International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Go deeper

Nov 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Airlines plot course for coronavirus survival

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Ann Ronan Pictures, Bettmann/Getty Images

With the coronavirus pandemic worsening and no more help in sight from the U.S. government, airlines and airports are scrambling to survive the worst crisis in aviation history.

Why it matters: Promising vaccines offer hope for a recovery, but not until large swaths of the global population are immunized, and that could take years. To get people flying again, airlines are pushing testing and rethinking the travel experience.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.