The best U.S. airports have the fastest check-ins

LaGuardia Airport gets a makeover
LaGuardia Airport gets a makeover

What does it take to be a top-rated U.S. airport? Speedy check-ins.

Airports that got travelers' bags checked and fliers through security in under ten minutes scored near the top of a new J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey.

The top-ranked airports were Dallas Love Field and Southwest Florida International, which both scored 792 on a 1,000-point scale, and Portland International with a 791. All of them have "some of the fastest security checks in the nation," J.D. Power analyst Jeff Conklin said.

Overall, travelers are more satisfied with airports in North America than they were in 2010 when J.D. Power last conducted the survey. But that's not saying much, since consumers still rank airports in the bottom half of the service industry. Airports fell just below telephone service providers and a notch above TV providers.

But, J.D. Powers says, airports do get better customer ratings than airlines.

The three worst performers are also massive travel hubs: Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, La Guardia Airport in New York City and Los Angeles' LAX. Conklin said traffic and shuttle systems at large airports slow customers down.

Travelers also want access to better restaurants and retail shop before takeoff, and North American fliers say that international airports overseas still have a better selection -- especially in Asia and Europe.

Conklin said that U.S. airports have been more focused on improving their efficiency rather than their amenities, but that they're starting to spend on other improvements.

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