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Detroit Airport Rated Worst

Tue., Feb. 17, 1998

Detroit Metropolitan Airport ranks last while the Tampa, Fla., airport is best among the nation’s 36 top airports, according to a passenger survey.

In four of eight categories - speed of baggage delivery, ease of reaching gates, available ground transportation and ease of following signs - the Detroit airport earned the lowest scores of any airport in the survey of about 90,000 passengers.

In the remaining categories - cleanliness, quality of restaurants, attractiveness and closeness of parking - the 68-year-old airport rated near the bottom.

The private survey by Los Angeles-based Plog Research Inc. was commissioned by the 36 large airports. Passengers were surveyed during the first six months of last year, and the study was completed late last year, but airport officials refused to release the findings.

The survey was obtained last week by The Detroit News, which published a story Monday.

Airport and airline officials acknowledge there are problems at Detroit but say most of them cited in the survey have been fixed.

“It’s not the Ritz-Carlton of airports, but we’re trying to make Metro work,” Northwest Airlines spokesman Jim Faulkner said. The airline accounts for 70 percent of the airport’s traffic.

The results came as no surprise to some passengers.

“It’s just too far to walk between flights,” said John Sebastian, a Grand Rapids, Mich., businessman who regularly uses Metro Airport. “At 5 o’clock, this place is a mob scene.”

Others disagreed.

“Metro’s not bad for the amount of travel it gets,” said Dean VanNatter, a Lansing, Mich., business consultant and frequent traveler. “It’s nothing like Atlanta, but it’s not bad.”

From best to worse, here’s how the airports were ranked:

1. Tampa; 2. Pittsburgh; 3. Charlotte, N.C.; 4. Nashville, Tenn.; 5. Denver; 6. Phoenix; 7. Las Vegas; 8. Salt Lake City; 9. Atlanta; 10. Baltimore; 11. Honolulu; 12. Seattle;

13. Kansas City; 14. Minneapolis-St. Paul; 15. Oakland, Calif.; 16. Memphis, Tenn.; 17. Houston; 18. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; 19. Windsor Locks, Conn.; 20. Chicago, O’Hare; 21. San Francisco; 22. Sacramento, Calif.; 23. St. Louis; 24. Washington, D.C., Dulles;

25. Dallas-Fort Worth; 26. Newark, N.J.; 27. Miami; 28. Portland, Ore.; 29. Los Angeles; 30. Philadelphia; 31. New York City, LaGuardia; 32. Chicago, Midway; 33. Washington, D.C., Washington National; 34. Boston, Logan; 35. New York City, John F. Kennedy; 36. Detroit.

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