Clinton Airport responds to low rating in magazine poll | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

Clinton Airport responds to low rating in magazine poll

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 5:33 PM

NOW VERSUS THEN: Expanded ticketing area wasn't completed until after critical survey, airport notes.
  • NOW VERSUS THEN: Expanded ticketing area wasn't completed until after critical survey, airport notes.

I mentioned yesterday the blow struck by Travel and Leisure magazine in rating Clinton National Airport in Little Rock as the worst in the country. I commented then that I'd noted several improvements (a remark that drew flak from people still heated by TSA management of security checks at the airport.)

But I thought I'd ask the airport about it and got this statement from Shane Carter:

Travel and Leisure magazine hasn't released many details to us about the survey. We do know that the survey was conducted between December of last year and April of this year - in the midst of our massive construction project. Since the terminal remained in operation during construction, it was pretty messy out here. And unfortunately, there were times when passengers were inconvenienced and not as comfortable as we would have liked. But overall, it's a different place now as we've finished our $67 million construction project. We'd love to have Travel and Leisure readers to be able to survey us again and offer their feedback.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been reducing security wait times. It has implemented Pre-Check, a new expedited screening process, and is seeing results. The Airport Commission has also invested in technology to measure and track wait times, which has helped TSA in its efforts. In fact, Clinton National Airport is one of only two airports in the country to invest in this technology. We know wait times have been a concern with our travelers, so this is a way for us to ensure we know at all times how long security wait lines are and work with TSA, which oversees security checkpoints, to help them improve measures to the extent that we're allowed by federal regulation.

We'd love to see more shops and restaurants here, too. We contract with HMS Host, which works with airports across the country to provide a mix of local and national options. Clinton National Airport has had the highest grossing restaurant revenue in Little Rock for the past five years. Whole Hog Barbecue is a local favorite doing business here at the airport, and Starbucks is a national favorite among the other choices we have. Overall, the amount of offerings is based on demand. Because we're a smaller airport and not a hub airport, our passengers don't have long layovers here. That makes our services very different than the ones you would find at a larger airport.

Customer service is a huge priority, and the Airport Commission wants passengers to have an excellent experience. That's why we're currently renovating all restrooms and baggage claim. We've also added a new baggage screening system, and - for the first time in our history - added curbside check-in. That's just the beginning, as the Commission plans to build a replacement concourse within the next few years and transform us into an international airport.

Feedback is also very important to us. We want to stay connected to our customers and will be launching a new website within the next few months to help with that. This survey compares us to the largest airports in the country, which naturally can offer more choices. We strive to be the best that we can be. Once again, we would love to have those who participated in this survey travel through our airport now, as Phase One of our major construction plan has been completed.

Shane Carter
Director-Public Affairs and Governmental Relations
Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport

The free Wi-Fi is great.

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