If you’re a traveler from the Maine area — which could be stretched to include parts of New Hampshire and maybe even a sliver of Massachusetts — you have a handful of options for where you might fly into and out of.
There are airports with varying services in Boston, Bangor, Portland and Manchester, New Hampshire. Boston’s Logan International Airport is by a decent margin the largest with the most flights and connections, and as a result, absorbs a fair amount of the travel business because of its sheer gravitational pull.
But if you listen closely, you’re starting to hear the Portland International Jetport make a compelling argument for flying out of Maine’s largest city.
While the Portland airport can’t boast the volume of flight options Boston can, it has added many flights in recent years, with seasonal daily nonstop flights to Orlando and flights to Baltimore with commuter-type regularity — which can then be used to bounce off to a number of other destinations, like Aruba, Mexico and Jamaica.
And here’s where it gets more compelling, from Portland’s point of view: Maine’s largest airport is now beating up on its regional rivals in terms of costs and customer service.
Today, the jetport announced that, according to the latest survey by the American Society for Quality on airport customer satisfaction, Portland International Jetport took top honors in 17 out of 34 categories for which it qualifies.
This despite the fact that the latest survey was for the jetport’s busiest quarter — the July-September stretch. The survey is conducted of passengers every month and rates more than 200 airports in 50 countries.
Portland International Jetport garnered the top spot in categories “including overall satisfaction among all passengers and among business and leisure travelers specifically, once again besting Boston’s Logan airport in all three categories,” the local airport points out.
“PWM also scored high marks for parking facilities, waiting times, and efficiency and helpfulness of staff throughout the airport,” the jetport announcement goes on to state, in part.
“This survey helps us measure our work against our peers and identify areas that need attention,” said Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland jetport. “It’s gratifying to know that our constant focus on our customer experience is paying off.”
For the environmentally aware traveler, Portland is also boasting that it has been given one of seven Airports Going Green awards by the Chicago Department of Aviation, an honor tied to the local jetport’s 2012 sustainability push, in which a $75 million 137,000-square-foot addition was built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s stringent LEED Gold standards.
This all comes on top of what might be the most important thing of all to today’s travelers, which is cost.
In August, PWM was able to trumpet that it’s ranked as the 13th most affordable airport out of the 400-plus rated by cheapflights.com — three spots above Manchester and 63 ahead of Logan. Portland has an average airfare of $308, about half of what they were two decades ago in 1995.
And all of this news comes as travel experts expect this coming Thanksgiving week to be one of America’s busiest weeks for flying in years. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during the six days surrounding Thanksgiving, the number of long-distance trips increases by 54 percent.