Can airports be a happy place? Maybe for those who do not travel much and do so only for pleasure but for most, airports are just a transit place; happy or unhappy does not exist.
But there is a company which is taking this happiness factor very seriously. It is nowadays a familiar sight to see smiley-faced machines popping up in airports and public spaces around the world. Right from a happy green face to a grumpy red face, it gives four options – the easiest and least time consuming way to collect a feedback.
This is installed by a company, HappyOrNot, founded in Finland and it has released its first airport report. It tells us about airports with the highest customer satisfaction globally, measured by the percentage of people hitting the dark green or light green buttons. The most telling feedback – it even gives happiest and unhappiest times of day, week and year to fly, as well as the parts of the airport journey most likely to make us hit the red button of rage.
The report is based on feedback from 158 million data-points from HappyOrNot smiley terminals in 160 airports across 36 countries and based on data collected between November 2016 and November 2017.
So who is the happiest? Well, the happiest airport in the world is a teeny terminal in southwest England, handling fewer than a million passengers a year - Exeter Airport. It got a satisfaction rating of 88.66%, 12% higher than the global average of 76.52%.
Airports with the highest satisfaction levels
1. Exeter Airport, UK -- 88.66%
2 (tie). Cork Airport, Republic of Ireland -- 88.45%
2 (tie). Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (Rome), Italy -- 88.45%
4. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, USA -- 87.35%
5. Newcastle International Airport, UK -- 87.05%
6. London Southend Airport, UK -- 86.79%
7. Cardiff Airport, UK -- 86.57%
8. Keflavik International Airport, Iceland -- 86.35%
And happy time? Globally, passengers are most likely to hit the green buttons at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday in October or November. We are most unhappy in baggage reclaim at 2 a.m. or 3.a.m. on a July weekend. Sunday, when we return from our vacation to face the Monday slog, is the lowest-scoring day of the week, followed by Saturday.
So now we know! Maybe soon these happy aiports will in itself become a destination!