The World’s Happiest Airports

In recent years, you may have seen a “Please rate your travel experience” sign at airports you’ve visited, with a “smiley” system.

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Those little smileys (or sad faces) you tap on are part of a feedback system developed by a marketing firm called (what else but) HappyOrNot.

HappyOrNot, a company run out of Finland (with another office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), is the global leader in instant customer and employee satisfaction reporting with their innovative feedback smileys. Since 2009, the company has been researching peoples’ happiness on a variety of topics, from where they shop, to where they eat, and everything in between. They have worked with over 4000 organizations in 117 countries and its clients include Microsoft, McDonald’s, London Heathrow Airport, LinkedIn, the British National Health Service (NHS), and IKEA.

When it comes to travel, at last count, they have HappyOrNot smiley terminals in about 160 airports across 36 countries, and a few months ago the company published their inaugural Airport Report, which was based on 158 million responses. Here are some of the results:

The Eight (well, nine, really) Happiest Airports

1. Exeter Airport, U.K. – 88.66%
2. Cork Airport, Republic of Ireland – 88.45% (tie)
2. Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (Rome), Italy – 88.45% (tie)
4. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, U.S.A. – 87.35%
5. Newcastle International Airport, U.K. – 87.05%
6. London Southend Airport, U.K. – 86.79%
7. Cardiff Airport, U.K. – 86.57%
8. Keflavik International Airport, Iceland – 86.35%

Happiest & Unhappiest Times to Travel

Time of day

  • 9am is the happiest time of day for air travelers (85.7% happiness rating), closely followed by 8am with 85.5%.
  • 2am and 3am tend to be unhappiest hours, with respectively 71.3% and 71.9% of travelers happy at these times.

Day of week

  • Tuesdays (happiness rating of 83.4%) are the days when travelers are happiest, followed closely by both Wednesdays and Thursdays (83.2%).
  • Air travelers are, on average, much less happy when flying on weekends, with Sunday being the lowest-scoring day (80.0%), followed by Saturday (80.7%).

Month of year

  • October and November are the happiest months for air travelers, both with an average happiness rating of 83.5%.
  • Fliers in July are the unhappiest (80.9%), followed by those flying in April (81.1%).

Happiest and Unhappiest Parts Of The Air Travel Experience

  1. Security – 84.6%
  2. Arrivals – 80.7%
  3. Check-in – 77.0%
  4. Washrooms – 74.4%
  5. Baggage reclaim – 69.9%

Check out this page of HappyOrNot’s website to see more interesting data about travelers’ happiness while flying. They’re also available to give you more info or a quote if you would like to sign on to receive their services.

*Feature photo and statistics via happy-or-not.com

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